Grade 7... Uhoh. Help!

Let me me begin by saying that my teacher education and teaching practicum prepared me for grade 9-12 teaching (or so it claimed).  I had very little classroom time dedicated to the younger kids in college or even in my practicums. My first teaching job involved teaching 9-12.  My second and third years of teaching involved teaching 9-12. My fourth year of teaching (this year) was a stretch because I was also given a class of grade 8 students to teach.

Next year, apparently because I do so well with the junior high mindset (I’m not sure if that’s a compliment or not), I was assigned grade 7-9 classes. Um. I’ve always maintained that grade 7 students are too young for me, both mentally and skill-wise, but in this economy, I have to be thankful that I have a job at all, even if it puts me teaching junior high rather than high school.

But Tumblr teachers who are reading this, I now need help. Please, please, I need your help.  Can any of you give me suggestions, resources, or the names of other places to help me figure out the best way to teach Language Arts to these little guys? Management strategies, activities that have worked, advice, or even just some encouragement?

I am actually quite scared.