Skills for Surviving and Thriving in High school

The transition from elementary to high school can be really challenging. In addition to all the new names and faces, you have to find your way around a new school and keep track of all your different classes. It is important to learn how to stay organized so that you can survive and thrive in high school.

In our first grade 8 session, we learned about skills that help you to create a solid foundation for success in high school. These skills are also essential for success in your future career. At Britannia Secondary, we are fortunate to work with Ms. Cullingworth (our transitions teacher) and Ms. Wai (our resource teacher). These awesome teachers taught our first grade 8 sessions. You can read all about what we learned below.

Tips from Ms. Cullingworth


We started our session with some great tips from Ms Cullingworth (in the picture above). She taught us all about the amazing awesomeness of organizing lockers and binders. These skills matter, because you need to find your stuff. If you are disorganized and cram everything into your locker and binders, you will lose stuff. Your locker might also get so gross that you don’t want to open it anymore. 🤢

Step 1: Organize your Locker

Screen Shot 2019-10-07 at 11.51.04 AM.png
Screen Shot 2019-10-07 at 11.52.40 AM.png

Step 2: Organize your Binder

When you have a good system for your binders, your life will get easier.

Screen Shot 2019-10-06 at 7.18.43 PM.png

  • Separate Day 1 and Day 2 classes into two separate binders. It makes your binders lighter and more organized. It is way easier to be organized if you only have what you need for your daily classes.

  • If you doodle on paper in your binder, make sure that you go through and recycle the papers that aren’t relevant for your assignments. Keep only what you need!

Screen Shot 2019-10-06 at 7.14.58 PM.png

  • Labelled dividers are essential for keeping all your class work organized in your binders.

  • Ms. Cullingworth suggests that you keep your homework for ALL of your classes in one section. This makes it super easy to remember what you need to do for homework.

Tips from Ms. Wai


Ms Wai (in the picture above) taught us about using an agenda and having smart routines for homework.

Step 3: Use your agenda


There are many students who think they can remember everything and they don’t need to write it down. This strategy does NOT work. It doesn’t matter how amazing your memory is.

You need to write things down, because you will be faced with more and more tasks as you get older. If you start using your agenda now, you will have the habits you need to take on more responsibilities and be a rock star in all that you do. When you have a job, these skills will help you be more successful at work.

* If you don’t have an agenda, we can help you get one!


One of the ways to stay organized is to look at the entire month and check out what’s happening. For example, there are sometimes BIP days, which mean that you get to sleep in!! It is helpful to look at the calendar in your agenda so that you can plan ahead and know what is going to happen.

When you plan out your entire month and understand what is coming up, you will always feel more prepared.


One of the best ways to use your agenda is to write down your tasks for each day. In the image on your left, this grade 10 student writes down tasks for each class and anything happening outside of school. She has also written stuff down that is happening on the weekend.

When you write down what’s happening for each day, it helps your brain to remember better. When you are super busy, it also helps you know when you have too much going on and you need to say “Sorry, I am too busy right now. I can’t take on more tasks!”

Step 4: Find a Good Place to do Homework

Ms. Wai taught us about the importance of finding a good place to do homework. It is kind of like the story of Goldilocks. You want somewhere that isn’t too hot and isn’t too cold. Somewhere that is comfortable, but not too comfortable. For example, it isn’t good to study in bed because you might fall asleep. You want somewhere that is quiet, but it can sometimes be helpful to listen to classical music because studies have shown that it improves concentration. You might also enjoy studying with classmates sometimes so that you can discuss your homework.


If you have difficulty doing homework at home, you should totally check out the Britannia Homework Club. Ms. Simonson, Laura Sullivan and Ms. Wai will be there. There are also free tutors and free yummy food!

If you can’t come by Britannia’s homework club, there is also the Pathways to Education Program at Ray-Cam Cooperative Centre, Strathcona Community Centre and Broadway Youth Resource Centre.