Oct
18
Help students better organize the studying process
Filed Under Evaluation, Handouts, Learning Strategies, motivating students, Organization, special needs students, Study Skills, The way I see it, underachieving students | 1 Comment
Sometimes students have no idea how to go about studying efficiently, so of course they don’t do as well as they might. I’ve developed a strategy to help my students better organize the study process. I’d like to share it with you to use. I hope it is a useful start to help you help your students develop more efficient study processes.
Oct
15
Helping students take responsibility for preparing for a test.
Filed Under "At-risk" students, Evaluation, Goals, motivating students, Study Skills, underachieving students, Useful Handouts | Leave a Comment
I’m obsessed with trying to help my students accept responsibility for their learning. I honestly think some students believe their learning is the teacher’s responsibility. I’ve heard students who are not successful in certain subjects claim they didn’t do well because the teacher hated them. Perhaps you have heard that claim too? Isn’t that an nice little facile explanation that absolves the students of any responsibility for their lack of success. It’s the teacher’s fault, not their fault.
I explain to my students that students and teachers need to work together as a team. Each team member has a job to do. Teaching and evaluating students is the teacher’s job and preparing for quizzes, tests and exams is the student’s job. I’ve written here about the learning plans I have my students complete to help them better prepare for evaluations. The student learning plans are useful to help students prepare for major tests or exams. I want my students to reflect on how well or how poorly they’ve prepared for quizzes, tests or exams. After students have written their tests, I have them complete a short reflection handout asking them
- how they thought they did on the test;
- how much time did they spend preparing for the test;
- how much of the classwork and homework did they do;
- about how they prepared for the test;
- what would they do the same;
- what would they do differently?
My students, well most of them, have been very honest in completing their reflections. test results and the need to make better choices for better consequences.
Sadly, some of my students don’t prepare for quizzes, tests, or exams at all beyond the review I do with them in class. I think some of my students may intend to prepare for the evaluations, but when they leave my classroom they leave their best intentions behind. The test reflection handout I have them complete encourages them to remember to prepare for the next evaluation. After a while, they see the connection between preparing better for evaluations and achieving better results. I’ve found that almost all students want to do well. I tell my students if you want different consequences (better test marks) then you have to make different choices ( choosing to preparing properly for tests).
Some of my students feel as if they are losers . I tell them we are not born losers; we are born choosers. If we want different consequences then we have to make different choices. Here’s a different choice for a different consequence.
Here’s the handout I give my students.
Name: ________________________________ Date:______________________ |
How do you feel about your performance on this test? (circle one) |
Awesome!! Cool Lame Get Real |
Do you think you demonstrated what you knew about the topic on this test?
Why? Why not? |
How much time did you spend studying for this test?
I spent about Days ____ Hours ____ Minutes____ studying for this test. |
How much of the assigned work did you complete on this topic?
All____ Almost all_____ Some_______ Little_______ |
What would you do differently preparing for the next test? Why?
What would you do the same? Why? |
Oct
12
Is destreaming the answer to closing the achievement gap between students in the applied and academic streams?
Filed Under "At-risk" students, motivating students, underachieving students | Leave a Comment
The Ontario government has made it a priority to close the achievement gap between students in the applied and academic classes. Research conducted at C.W. Jefferys Collegiate in Toronto supports the contention that destreaming students in grade nine English and geography classes helps struggling students be more successful . A high school in Kingston Ontario found it beneficial to students when it destreamed Grade 9 students in math and English.
I’ve taught math to students in the applied level stream, and I can see some problems with streaming students into applied level math classes. For one thing, taking applied level math classes even in Grade 9 makes it very difficult for students to attend university. Of course not all students want to attend university even students who take Grade 9 math in the academic stream don’t necessarily want to attend university. So maybe that isn’t such a big problem. There are always ways to met the entrance requirements for university by taking ma math bridging course. I have also noticed more students from low-income homes are streamed into the applied classes. Many of my students in my applied math classes felt they were stupid because they were in the applied stream.
I don’t think that destreaming Grade 9 is going to make students more successful. All students weren’t successful before destreaming. Destreaming was going to be the solution to helping all students be successful. Why is education going around in circles?
I think school needs to be more relevant to students to catch their interest and make them want to learn and do well. What do you think?
Feb
8
Some strategies I use that work to help motivate students who are reluctant writers
Filed Under Engaging Assignments and Activities for Students, motivating students, Organizing time, positive climate, special needs students, strategies for motivating reluctant writers, underachieving students | Leave a Comment
If you’re anything like me, you probably have students who are very reluctant to do any journal or creative writing. I have to confess, at times, I fall into the category of reluctant writer as well. But, never mind. That discussion is for another time.
Over the years, I’ve tried different strategies to motivate my reluctant writers. There’re a couple of strategies that I combine that make my students less reluctant to do their journal entries or their creative writing assignments. Perhaps these two strategies combined will work for you too.
First, I provide my students with photo writing prompts such as the one below that I found on Pinterest.
Pinterest is a great resource for photo writing prompts. I especially like the combination of the photo and the written prompts. There are lots of photo prompts with written prompts on Pinterest. I simply choose a few photo writing prompts on a given day and then upload them onto our class site, or when I’m lucky enough to have a document camera I use it to project the photo writing prompts onto the screen. Then my students choose a photo writing prompt that appeals to them. I also have some emergency photo writing prompts printed off and available in case the computer isn’t working. I’ve learned the hard way to be prepared.
Having my students choose a photo writing prompt is the first part of my strategy. The second part is to have my students do a 5 minute writing sprint. My students like the fact that there is a time limit to their writing. I used to use an actual timer in class but I’ve found that using an on-line timer that I project onto the screen is better. My students can look up at the projected timer and see when the agony is over. Surprisingly, most of my students enjoy using the photo writing prompts and doing the five minute sprint. It’s fun to see them so engaged by the photo writing prompts. The Internet is such a wonderful resource.
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