School Counseling Lessons for Middle School Students

Middle school can be a challenging yet exciting time for students. As they transition from childhood to adolescence, students in middle school face a time of exploration, discovery, and physical and mental development. As they pursue and experience their interests and hobbies, pre-adolescents learn to relate their learned knowledge in practical applications, search for their unique identity, develop supportive peer relationships, and begin to establish their interests as they pertain to career options and exploration.

Middle school counselors assist their students in their character development, establishing their identity, providing education in understanding one self and others, by teaching coping skills, developing career awareness, and providing support in the form of academic skills learning.

During preadolescence, students in middle school experience the beginning of their identity formation by exploring their interests, finding ways to connect their learning to outside of the classroom, experience physical growth and turn to their peers for support over their parents/guardians. Students in middle school grades tend to learn about careers, understanding self and others and reciprocal peer relationships. Resources for school counselors during this transitionary stage include skills support in academics, learning coping strategies, developing a career awareness, and how to build positive peer relationships with effective skill building.

Recommended Resource Authors

  • The Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education offers many lesson plans for free through their School Counseling Curriculum – Elementary School Unit & Lesson Plans.

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Character Development Lesson Plans

  • sets out to provide leadership and advocacy for character in schools, families, communities, and workplaces all over the world.’s middle school lesson plans cover acceptance, honesty, communicating opinions, resilience, and strength among others.
  • Character Education ToolKit: South Carolina Department of Education has developed a comprehensive guide filled with examples of lesson plans for character education across all grades in respect, kindness, fairness, cooperation, responsibility and more.
  • The Character Development & Leadership organization has developed a character curriculum for middle, high, and alternative school students in correlation with Common Core English standards.

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Relationship Education Lesson Plans

  • KidsHealth in the Classroom’s guide on respect, kindness, and trust in developing healthy relationships.
  • Middle School Educators ToolKit: Loveisrespect created a toolkit guide for defining healthy versus unhealthy relationships, the warning signs of abuse, and curriculum guides on effective communication, conflict resolution, and intervention.
  • BreakTheCycle Activity Guides: Funded through the Office on Violence Against Women, these guides were developed to allow advocates to begin discussions on healthy relationship development and dating abuse.

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Career Lesson Plans

  • CareerOneStop has organized videos of hundreds of careers into 16 clusters related to types of work.
  • The United Federation of Teachers [NY affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers] has developed a presentation on Collaborative Career Development that integrates school counselors and teachers on the success of career development in 6-10th grades.
  • The A, B, Cs of Career Exploration and Planning: Developed by Junior Achievement and the National Career Development Association examines steps to take to discover careers that are similar to a student’s likes, their experiences, and what careers they have already been exposed to.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics has a dedicated K-12 Career Development resource with games, quizzes, and student and teacher resources.

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Last updated: April 2020