“Getting Back To Basics”

There are so many fun and exciting extra curricular activities and hobbies for middle school kids to get involved in. If your sports minded, of course there’s no limit to competitive teams. Basketball, soccer, volleyball, softball, gymnastics and more are great.  For the less athletic types, there’s science and math clubs to stir up the academic minds. Creative arts attract the dancers, singers, actors and musicians. Those wanting to focus on doing things for others can volunteer to help the sick, the homeless and those less fortunate than us. All of these interests are wonderful and worthwhile depending on where your interests lie.

This week brings about the traditional week off of school for our kids’ Thanksgiving break in our district. A welcome change from the very scheduled routine that our children are used to, it allows them to try other things. So what do you do now that you have a chance to slow down a bit? Here’s a thought…             What do you suppose kids and their families did many years ago simply for enjoyment? Probably reading, homemade games, crafts, and imaginative play for starters. Some activities however  were experienced out of necessity and survival. There wasn’t McDonalds, Panera, Einsteins or Froyo stores! Kids learned to cook with their parents in order to eat and stay healthy. And no, it was not a chore because it became a fun activity, one that they learned from.

Another really common and important activity that children learned to do at home was sewing. No Gap, Justice, Ivivva or Target to shop at, families were taught to sew clothing out of need. But that necessity became very satisfying, not only to stay warm but to feel accomplished in creating something special  from start to finish.

For those lucky enough to be taught how to sew by a parent, grandparent or friend, this knowledge will be most useful throughout your life. But what about a lot of us who don’t have anyone to teach us the basic craft of sewing? How do you learn and where do you go?

Sillyfunnana found a really awesome place for those who want to get back to basics and learn to sew. Introducing –                   SEW CRAFTY STUDIO, Chicago. This super colorful place is filled with fabulous fabrics, shiny new sewing machines, comfy chairs & tables and the nicest teachers you’ll ever meet! They instruct and explain everything you need to know about sewing  in a super fun way. You actually leave with your own original made pants, skirts, tote bags and more. No rushing around, instead you have time to be individual and unique.

Getting back to basics can be so very rewarding. A time to slow down, to relax, to create and to feel really good about learning something that will be useful throughout your life. Try it some time.😊

XO Sillyfunnana




A seventh-grader named Jonathan recently boarded his bus to school when another student started making fun of his sneakers and calling him names like “fat” and “stupid.” Jonathan put on his headphones to block out the noise and went on with his day — but on the bus ride home, the bullying got more severe. Another student started punching him — breaking Jonathan’s glasses, splitting his lip and leaving bruise marks on his face.

Jonathan attends Lincoln School, a special education school in Cranford, NJ. He is a high-functioning autistic child who struggles with self-control — but on this day, he made a lot of people proud.

When the EMT’s from the Linden Fire Department arrived at the scene, they called Jonathan’s mom and drove the boy home so he didn’t have to ride the bus. During the ride, the EMTs made Jonathan so comfortable that he shared his diagnosis with them, along with his hopes for the future. The EMTs dropped him off at home and drove off… but little did Jonathan know, that wouldn’t be the last time he saw his heroes.

Later that night, the EMTs came back to his house, bringing with them an unforgettable surprise that Jonathan never saw coming…

On a recent bus ride home from school, a bully verbally abused Jonathan before breaking his glasses and splitting his lip. Jonathan is a high-functioning autistic child who struggles with self-control — but on this particular day, he showed amazing restraint and chose not to retaliate.

The EMT’s from the Linden Fire Department drove Jonathan home so he didn’t have to ride the bus. Later that night, those same EMTs came back to his house with a special surprise. Mom snapped photos of her son excitedly rushing down the stairs to greet his heroes.

These incredible men presented Jonathan with an American flag for showing restraint while being bullied. When they drove Jonathan home, he had also expressed interest in joining the military someday.

The EMTs also gave Jonathan a T-shirt that says, “Your Mother’s Favorite Firemen,” but that’s not all…

…They also used their own money to buy Jonathan a brand new pair of sneakers. “That’s all for you for being such a great kid, for keeping your cool, for not losing it, and for being the better person.”

“Thank you (department members) Brian Paster, Hilda N Jose Espinal and the entire Linden Fire Department for your generosity, and community service! You are truly heroes in my book!” Jonathan’s mother, Hope, wrote on Facebook.

As for Jonathan, he now has a powerful message to the bully who hurt him: “I would like to tell that student that I forgive him, and would like to be his friend. My Mom and I talked yesterday, and would like to invite the student who did this to dinner with us, so that he can see that we are not different, just because we look different.”

These firemen didn’t have to put out a fire to become heroes that day. PLEASE SHARE THIS with your Jr. High friends!



Okay, I get it – you’ve been in Jr. High for almost two months and that makes you kinda sorta experienced as an official young adult. Changing classrooms, teachers and electives mixed with a hot lunch program, new friends and activities gives you a new sense of freedom. Add to that your phasing out of always needing a hired babysitter and watch out everyone… Here comes a powerful tween! I remember that feeling of thinking you know everything and moms & dads are truly clueless about what’s cool or lame. While it’s sometimes true when it comes to fashion trends, cool music, fun reads or the latest apps, remember one very important thing guys. Your moms and dads used to be your age – really! I kid you not. They most likely still remember a lot of their own middle school experiences – the good, the bad & the ugly! And because of that, they want to help and guide you through your growing up years. Cut em’ some slack when they seem to be talking too much, asking too many questions or giving you more direction than you’d like. Patience is a two way street for parents and their kids. Respect your “parental units” and let them know that you appreciate their advice even when you don’t always agree. You see that photo below of the tie dye sneakers? They were popular when mom was your age and they’re  still cool today! Well think of it this way – raising your own Jr. High kids is like putting on an old fave pair of shoes. They still feel just as comfy today as when they were worn a long time ago. Yeah, you got the point peeps – some things don’t change as much as you think. Your P’s are actually way cooler than they sometimes act. They even like some of the same things you do because they’ve “been there done that.” I bet you both even like those cool chucks – am I right or am I right? Oh and if you LOVE those tie dyed kicks, email me at sillyfunnana@gmail.com for the lowdown. Wishing all my Jr. Highjinks pals peace love and friendship. 😍





Now that you are a few weeks into middle school, some for the very first time, I want to share a few stories – real ones, about some of my “friends”, or so I thought. In the next few posts you will learn about…
“Wendy the stabber”, “Danny the big bully”, “Sheryl the clothes snatcher” and “Ashley the follower.” WARNING: DO NOT BE LIKE THEM!

When I was in Jr. High – yeah yeah I know it was like a billion years ago but believe me kids, some stuff was exactly the same as now! So anyway, most of my friends were kinda nice although I would not recommend telling your deepest darkest secrets to any of them because none of them will keep quiet! Well one of my so called friends was that girl who had the bigger house and I loved going there to hang out. We would talk about all sorts of silly things and she was always giving me advice. By the end of the school year her advice seemed to turn into being kind of bossy. Always pushing me on what to do and what not to do, I thought she was just trying to be a pal, like a sister. Well, one of those things she was telling me, was that my drama and voice lessons which I had been doing for years, was totally uncool. I actually thought I liked going to those classes and was pretty good at it. I took part in plays and many performances. After hearing over and over that none of our other friends were doing what I did, I began to believe that singing was not the in thing to do. I think I started to fear that I would be considered “different.” I told my parents that I wanted to quit and they were shocked since I had been doing this for so long and seemed to enjoy it. Somehow, my dad figured out that it was Wendy who was influencing me on this decision. You see there had been other things that came up too that she tried changing my mind about. My father tried explaining to me that this friend was not really a good friend and that when I wasn’t looking she would stab me in the back. I had no idea what he was talking about at the time really. I quit my six years of voice lessons and didn’t look back. That is, until years later when I was smarter and wiser. I love music and singers and missed the days when I too had a really awesome voice and performed. Now I get it – sometimes people who you think are your friends aren’t really. They can actually be jealous of you and so, they tell you to do something different because they can’t do it themselves. That is exactly what happened with Wendy. Sure she had this big house I thought was way cooler than my tiny one. But she didn’t have some of the interests or talents I had. I let this girl tell me what to do because I wasn’t strong enough to believe in myself. Take it from this sillyfunnana – trust your own beliefs and don’t let “Wendy the back stabber” stand in YOUR way.

Next week – “Danny the big bad bully”



How cool is it when some teachers include movies into their classrooms? They’ve shown “Karate Kid” when talking about bullying in school. One teacher shows “Newsies” in social studies classes when talking about immigration and industrialization. Another uses “Searching for Bobby Fischer” before teaching students how to play chess. “School of Rock” is also a film that is an enjoyable way for kids to learn about music, and for families to talk about the amount of hard work and feeling good when starting a band or any other big group project. This fun movie also deals with body issues in a positive way when one of the girls in class is afraid to sing because she thinks she’s “too fat.”

Check out this list of 50 movies for middle schoolers and of course always get permission from a parent first before watching! Maybe your teacher will be interested in some of these too when discussing certain topics.

Title Release Date Run Time (min) Rating
Babe 1995 89 G
Back to the Future 1985 117 PG
Bend It Like Beckham 2002 112 PG-13
Bridge to Terabithia 2007 96 PG
Clue 1985 94 PG
E.T. 1982 113 PG
Edward Scissorhands 1990 105 PG-13
Ella Enchanged 2004 96 PG
Enchanted 2007 107 PG
Facing the Giants 2006 111 PG
Freaky Friday 2003 97 PG
Hairspray 2007 117 PG
Holes 2003 117 PG
Hook 1991 144 PG
How to Eat Fried Worms 2006 98 PG
James and the Giant Peach 1996 79 PG
Journey to the Center of the Earth 2008 93 PG
Labyrinth 1986 101 PG
March of the Penguins 2005 85 G
Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium 2007 93 G
Newsies 1992 121 PG
Night at the Museum 2007 108 PG
Nim’s Island 2008 96 PG
Pirates of The Carribean 2003 143 PG-13
Remember the Titans 2000 113 PG
Rudy 2003 116 PG
School of Rock 2003 108 PG-13
Searching for Bobby Fischer 1993 110 PG
Secondhand Lions 2003 109 PG
Simon Birch 1998 114 PG
Sky High 2005 100 PG
Stand By Me 1986 89 R
Swiss Family Robinson 1960 126 G
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen 1988 126 PG
The Chronicles of Narnia 2005 143 PG
The Goonies 1985 114 PG
The Karate Kid 1984 126 PG
The Parent Trap 1998 127 PG
The Princes Bride 1987 98 PG
The Sandlot 1993 101 PG
The Secret Garden 1993 101 G
Time Bandits 1981 116 PG
Whale Rider 2002 101 PG-13
Willow 1988 126 PG


There are even some teachers that know students are happier and perform better when music is added into their lessons. Rap can be used to help you memorize math, science or other hard to remember facts. Try it sometime!

Music can help you be more chill & creative and it may also help your brain think and learn better. Now I am not suggesting the really loud full base inappropriate kind that will do the opposite – that may turn your brain into peanut butter!

If you’re studying English grammar and have a tough time learning a pronoun from a participle, try looking at the lyrics to your fave song. Circle the words for all the nouns, action verbs, articles, and all that other wonderful stuff. I bet you’ll catch on much quicker!

Picture this… Middle school students are in their classroom or even at home. Your assignment is to write a story about anything. Oh boy, you have no ideas and your brain with your pencil in hand feels frozen. But then, a really cool song from your fave movie is playing on the speakers. What could that be? Maybe it’s “Everything is Awesome” from “The Lego Movie” or music from “Inside Out” or even the flying sequence from “Hook”. Music can wake up your mind and help you write a story. Try THAT one day when you get stuck in your head!

When your brain feels tired and out of ideas, remember to check out GOOD movies and music that can wake it up again! It is actually fun to learn by being creative.

More jr. High-jinks advice coming soon…
Send me YOUR questions or subjects you’d like me to talk about ans pass this blog link on to others!😍

Sillyfunnana@gmail.com (email)
@jr.high_jinks (insta)

Sillyfunnanagmail.wordpress.com (blog link)


Hey Jr. High-jinks kids & parents!
I hope y’all are starting to settle into your middle school and getting used to your new schedules. You might be in better shape after a week of climbing up and down stairs all day. Just think of it as the school stairmaster! Who needs a health club?🏃 Are your teachers cool with a sense of humor to help you get through the long day? That’s so great if they are but if you haven’t seen them smile yet, give it time. Maybe they are just waiting for you to smile first!😊 Have you made any new friends yet? If your answer is yes, that’s awesome. If no, well it’s only been 1 week guys – Hello! Patience! After school activities will soon begin and I encourage you to try something new. Even if you never sang in the chorus, tried out for a play or ran the track, maybe now’s your chance to see if ya like it.👍 With so many hobbies to choose from, surely something will interest you. For those afraid or too shy to try things you’ve never done before, here’s some advice… It’s better to at least give it a chance instead of looking back one day thinking “I shoulda, woulda coulda”. Right? Right! Perhaps you guys need a little extra encouragement to give ya an extra boost in starting off the new school year.👏 Have you ever heard of Kid President? He’s a you tube “star” that is so funny and cute. He talks about all sorts of positive things that kids can do to have fun, be a good person and stay positive. Check out his “Pep Talk” youtube – hope you like it!💻 I will share more of his fun stuff in the coming weeks along with stories about other kids who have made a difference in middle school. Feel free to “like” the blog and leave a comment – Sillyfunnanagmail.wordpress.com
or send an email – sillyfunnana@gmail.com
Instagram @jr.High_jinks
Share your thoughts, don’t keep it all inside of you & don’t forget to smile!😃
Stay tuned for more Jr. High-jinks…


Jr. High-jinks #3

Hey kids,

You are now officially a middle schooler – yay! Congrats in surviving the first day.😜 Girls chose their first day outfits… Emoji tops, jean shorts, cropped yogas & more. Boys – well they probably didn’t spend too much time thinking about that stuff! (Their moms were happy if they at least combed their hair!) You all managed to get that new locker combination opened even if you had to do it a few million times, rearranged your supplies, stared at your schedules and figured out where to go when. Meeting all those new teachers in one day and for some, buying their first hot school lunch is enough to overload that middle school brain! Just deciding what to eat at lunch with all the choices you now have, can be confusing. Hopefully, that meatloaf wasn’t all that bad and if it was totally gross, oh well, cross that one off your list for next time.😫


So many new faces, many of them way taller than you and without names at this point in time. Should you go up to them and introduce yourself or will you look like a weirdo? Hey, if they are nice and friendly kids, then you have nothing to lose! If they decide not to include you, whatever – move on kiddos. There’s lots more peeps to talk to. Don’t let it bother you.😭 You will eventually discover and make new friends with those you have something in common – really! Don’t forget about the extra curricular activities that will soon start. Think about participating in one of those where you will have fun doing something you like and meet others that share your same interests – good idea, right? RIGHT!


Okay, ya can’t LOVE every teacher you have guys. Everyone has different personalities – great, so-so and from another planet! Remember, don’t judge a book by its cover. So what if that teacher looks like he/she hasn’t bought any new clothes since 1960? And if they are clueless about the emojis you wear or the awesome backpack designs you carry, you’ll just have to teach them a thing or two! (Now, if they happen to smell like really awful cologne,  ya might consider keeping a spare pair of nose plugs in your locker!) You WILL live through those classes that are not your faves. Try to be nice and helpful to your teachers, even the strange ones. Sometimes that extra dose of kindness will be quite helpful.👍 Learning to accept all different types of people is part of growing up and will make you a better person. I’ve lived through it – you can believe me!


Nothing like being thrown into reality the very first day! What should you do first? Here’s an idea… Breathe, chill and organize. If you have a study period, you can write down all your daily assignments and make a schedule for yourself to start. You might be able to complete some of that work during that time. When you get home from school, take a break and relax for about 30 minutes & have a healthy snack to keep you energized. Find a good quiet and comfy spot to do your homework. (Not a good idea to choose your bed as there’s a good chance you may fall asleep!) You might finish it all by the time dinner rolls (ha, get it?) around and then you’ll have free time later for reading, computer games, Instagram updates or watching some Ninja Warriors on TV! Yep, there will be those nights, when ya might not have much free time – just accept it. Time slips by on those days you have other activities to go to. Maybe gymnastics, karate, soccer, dance or drama keeps you from starting your school assignments until after dinner. Some days are like that and you’ll just deal the best ya can. If at anytime it all feels like just too much, talk to your parents about possibly slowing down your schedule. 😱 You’re not a superhero and can’t do it all, my friends.


When that weekend finally comes, it’s time for some well deserved chillaxin’. Use the next 2 days to do something fun for yourself and your family. Have some kid time with your friends – sleepovers, going to the mall, the park, riding bikes, seeing a movie, bowling etc. Sleep a little later and recharge your tween battery! Of course you might still have some weekend homework, but try and fit that in between, here and there, so ya still have a nice break. Y’all made it through an entire school week & maybe just a little bit smarter too – woo hoo! Time to celebrate!

More Jr. High-jinks coming your way…

Email: sillyfunnana@gmail.com with anything you’d like me to talk about on the blog! Together we will survive middle school – ha!