Achieving good grades in school matters. It matters when it comes to the high school GPA, when it comes to the ACT or SAT, and when it comes to developing a solid academic foundation from the earliest school years.
Yet there are skills that are often overlooked in school that truly carry weight when it comes to success in college and in the workplace. Organizational skills. Planning and sequencing. Understanding and meeting deadlines. Often called "executive function skills," they can make all the difference. Also, note-taking. Social skills and social understanding. These skills are what carries students through and enables them to succeed in higher education, employment, and life.
If your child is struggling in these areas, there are strategies that can help. Some may be technology-based and others "old school" yet the focus needs to be on recognizing the needs and supporting them...
For many students, last year in school was frustrating and there were needs that perhaps were not appropriately met. Maybe it was accommodations needed that were not in place or it was study or organizational skills that are lacking and are not being supported in school. Or, if your child is in high school, perhaps they're struggling with writing -- research papers, essays, or preparing for the writing portion of the college admissions exams.
Summer is the time to evaluate what has happened and where things need to improve for the upcoming school year. Every school year matters and ensuring that your child is realizing success vs. struggles can make all the difference. A few tips include:
Ensuring that your child has a quiet area for school/homework. TV, video games, and even texting cannot and should not compete with their ability to focus;
Online calendars are great, yet many students do better with an actual calendar/day...
I have been using a planner since the beginning of my elementary education. Clearly, in Elementary school it was more of a way for my teacher to update my parents on my assignments, and I couldn't really understand the personal benefits of it yet. In high school, when my work load became more complicated by seven classes, which each had a different teacher, my planner became invaluable to me. It was during high school that I began color-coding my planner, which I have kept up to this day.
I am aware that many schools provide each student with a planner, but unfortunately many students neglect the usefulness of such a thing and they become merely a weight at the bottom of their book bag. If you ask your child/student why they didn't turn in this or that assignment and a common response is "I forgot," then it's time to talk to them about the magic of a planner. We are all human, and as such are subject to lapses in our memory. An organized planner is our tool...
Organization & Study Skill Tips for Middle School and HS Students
1. Calm Attitude- Be calm & patient. Don’t beat yourself up!
2. A place to study/appropriate environment- Large desk or table surface. Room for all of your books, computer/tablet, pens, notes. Good lighting and a sturdy chair. Bring snacks to you, don’t leave to get them.
3. System for keeping track of important notes- tabbed binder, folders, clean locker and book bag.
4. Planner or Calendar to track assignments, tests and long term projects
5. Estimate how long each project/assignment will take- Develop a realistic schedule with built in study breaks, around the sports, etc.
6. Break up big projects into smaller ones- Break up research projects and papers into more manageable chunks.
7. Communicate with your teachers- Know what assignments are due, upcoming and missing.
8. Take good notes and pay attention in class- Write down the main ideas; abbreviate; draw pictures, diagrams...
The majority of the students that I have often have the same problem -- they aren't grasping the information fast enough or they aren't really able to follow the lessons a teacher gives.
Sometimes, teachers aren't adaptive to every learning style for each student in their classroom. However, know that each student has the capability to learn math on their own. It is just necessary to have key characteristics to make it successful.
Every math student should have:
open communication between themselves and their teacher (inside and outside the classroom)
Always try to study outside of your home or dorm room. In our minds, those are places that we relax at and it can be difficult to turn your mind off from the distractions to study. Public libraries, universities, coffee shops, and bookstores are the way to go. Some...
For students who want to prepare to go back to school but only have a few minutes to spare each day, I would suggest making a plan. For younger students, a parent can organize a set plan for which subject to review each day of the week. For instance
Monday: 15 minutes of Reading Comprehension Tuesday: 15 minutes of Math facts
Wednesday: 15 minutes journal writing etc. If a student struggles in a particular subject more time should be spent in this area. Every little bit helps. 15 minutes of reading a day is better than nothing. As well it is important to remember that reading is reading regardless of the medium. Reading a comic book still counts as reading. Allow students to read what they enjoy. For older students I would even suggest unofficially quizzing yourself/summarizing what you have learned each day. For math, search online and find fun puzzles or math games online. All in all make it fun and it won't feel like a chore.
Class preparation, study skills, organizational skills, test taking skills and life skills are one of my areas of tutoring expertise, in addition to specific subjects. Please inquire to "Skills for Life by Michael" in Scottsdale, AZ
Getting back into the habit of doing schoolwork, studying, and preparing for classes is difficult to do after a long summer of fun. It's easy to put off preparing for school when school isn't in session.
A good practice is to set aside at least 30 minutes a day to read. Try not to just read for pleasure. Find some topics that interest you and look up scholarly articles on the subject. Doing this will help you get back in the habit of thinking critically and engaging with higher-level subject matter.
Additionally, try and do a little bit of writing everyday. It doesn't have to be essay length (or quality, for that matter), but try and at least write down some notes from your readings, writing a summary of what you read that day, or even doing a little creative writing.
A good habit to begin during the summer is to make a calendar. If you know you have a future obligation, write it down. This will keep you organized and will ensure...
Got this topic from WyzAnt this morning: How should students prepare to
go back to school if they only have a few minutes to spare each day?
Good question. I think it's important to spend some time thinking
about the big picture of the coming year and getting organized, so
that you start out on the right foot. I believe it's a very
personal question, since as a student you have to decide what you
want to get out of the coming school year as opposed to the previous
one. What areas did you feel you were lacking? What are
you most excited about? What are you least excited about or
most dreading? And why?
Here's something that doesn't occur to a lot of people: what format are you
learning in? I'm talking about two distinct things here – your
supplies and setup, and the way you approach classes. Let's look at
supplies and setup first. Think about your usual note-taking
The key to avoid falling behind in school is good planning. Figure out which subjects are most challenging and plan to spend more time studying those subjects. Though it can be challenging, do your homework right after school while the material from that day is still fresh in your mind. Good luck to all students returning to school!
In response to Wyzant's question, "How should students prepare to go back to school if they only have a few minutes to spare each day," I say focus on time management. How are you going to keep track of assignments? How are you going to remember your homework? When are you going to study for tests? How are you going to keep on top of long term projects without procrastinating?
If you don't have a calendar or daily planner, get one. You need to put all your assignments for all your classes in one place. Not needing to look in six different places to find out what you need to do for homework each night will save you a great deal of time. All homework assignments should be in the same place.
The same is true for homework sheets and papers; they should be in the same place. You should have a folder or a front pocket of a 3-ring binder that is dedicated only to homework papers. If you use a folder, you can use one side for worksheets still to...