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Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Avoid the Brain Drain!

Howdy folks,

While my wife and I are celebrating our 3rd wedding anniversary today (What material is that?  Horsehair?), I'm putting up a guest post from Alexandra Mayzler, president of Thinking Caps, an educational support group in NY and TX.

Her post is titled, "5 Ways to Help Your Kids Learn Study Skills in the Classroom."

Summer doesn’t last forever, and for us summer school teachers it never really started. The kids who pile into already packed summer makeup courses could really use a lesson in study skills. Without the time this summer, we hope that full-term teachers can incorporate organization and time management skill support in the classroom. With so much to already juggle, here are a few easy and totally doable methods to promote life-long success:

1.               Encourage the use of planners When announcing assignments, have students pull out planners to write down due date on their calendars. This will get them in the habit of writing down important deadlines on their own.
2.               Encourage students to form study groups On the first day of school, choose 3 study buddies and get their contact info. Your buddies will be your point of contact incase you miss class so you are always prepared. You can also encourage students to study with their buddies for upcoming exams.
3.               Have a “Back to School” Organization Party during the first week of school As a getting to know you/team building activity, have your students divide into groups and organize their binders together. They can make it fun by decorating the folders and creating a system (color coding, tags, etc.). This will start the year off right with organization and act as a distractor when class assignments have not been finalized.
4.               Have students “peer review” each other’s notes from class Students with different learning styles can learn from each other by reviewing their peer’s notes. One student may have caught something another student missed, this will help fill in the gaps when reviewing for exams.
5.               Include students in classroom tasks For older classrooms, divide the class into 5 groups. Each day a group is responsible for creating a pop quiz based on the lesson from the day before. All students in each group must think of a question. This encourages students to prepare for the quizzes as well as listen to the lesson so they can think of question. For a younger classroom you can create different roles that students play each day (leader, assistant to the leader, teacher assistant, etc.). Each student can be assigned a role throughout the semester or kids can choose sign up for the different roles. This will encourage the students to participate and they will feel important when in the spotlight.

It is our hope that by including these strategies in your daily classroom routine, students will begin to include study skill strategies into their everyday learning and make that transition from summer sunshine to the classroom, a little bit smoother.

Alexandra Mayzler is the founder of Thinking Caps Group. She is the author of several books including SAT Demystified and Tutor in a Book. Alexandra lives in New York and spends her free time thinking about how to make studying easier, more interesting, and above all, enjoyable for her students.


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