Notetaking, study skills and test taking skills are three areas I work diligently on with the students in my middle school classes throughout the school year. Notetaking is a strong focus during the first semester of 6th grade. Study and test taking skills are introduced, reviewed, practiced prior to each test and at many other times throughout the year. Not all study skills will work for all students, but ALL students can achieve success by finding a handful of study skills that work the best for them. It is my hope that as I introduce a variety of study skills to the students you, the parent, will help them to practice and develop a routine that works best for your child. I will continually update this link in order to keep you aware of what skills have been introduced, practiced and reviewed.
Initially a study space needs to be developed for your child. Middle school students achieve the best study results if they are studying in the same spot each and every day. It should be well lit, comfortable and free from outside distractions such as TV, computers, phones, and music. Most kids work best when they can spread out their materials either on a large desk or the floor. The bed should NOT be the study space as the bed signals the brain to go to sleep. Healthy snacking and frequent (every 20 minutes or so) should be encouraged while studying.
Notecards are essential when preparing for a test. Ideally, notecards should be prepared daily when the information is fresh. One side of the notecard should have a key word or phrase while the opposite side contains the answer or the definition. Notecards can be reviewed either presenting the answer or the key word first and should be reviewed many times in a day. Students can review them while waiting for something, riding in a car, during a commercial or numerous other times of the day. If this is done well and frequently, test preparation the night before a test becomes quick and easy.
http://quizlet.com might be a tool that you can encourage your child to use. It has literally thousands of prepared flashcard sets that can be reviewed in a variety of ways. Students 13 years or older may create an account which allows them to create their own flashcard sets as well. I've created my own account and a group for each class. Once you're on quizlet, search for Mrs Otte, choose your group and then choose your flash cards. You do not need to have an account in order to use the already prepared notecards on the site.
Graphic Organizers are an awesome way to study lots of related information. I give the kids lots of opportunities to use graphic organizers in the classroom. This is a good study tool even for the night before a test. Create the pertinent columns and fill in the data THEN do it again and again. Repitition is the key for all studying!!
Turning textbook section headings into questions and then answering the questions is a helpful way to use the textbook in studying.
Writing and re-writing material is a very useful way to prepare for a test. This skill works well when having to remember lists, charts and even definitions. Drawing/labeling and re-drawing/labeling maps is a great way to study maps.