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Middle School S.O.S. : S uccess through O rganization and S tudy skills. October 28, 2009. Agenda. Tuning into your Student Energy cycles (morning larks and night owls) Attention spans Learning styles Motivation Getting Organized Supplies Family and Individual Calendars

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Middle school s o s s uccess through o rganization and s tudy skills l.jpg

Created by Shari Obrentz

Middle School S.O.S.:Success throughOrganization and Study skills

October 28, 2009

Agenda l.jpg

  • Tuning into your Student

    • Energy cycles (morning larks and night owls)

    • Attention spans

    • Learning styles

    • Motivation

  • Getting Organized

    • Supplies

    • Family and Individual Calendars

    • School and Activity Planning

    • Homework Routines

  • Study Skills

    • Designing a study environment

    • Making studying a regularly scheduled activity

    • Get creative with study techniques

  • Allowing for Independence and Working Together

    • Goal Setting

    • What can your students do alone?

    • When and how often do you need to step in?

    • Family Check-in

  • Resources

    • Peers, Teachers, Tutors/Coaching

    • Assistive Technology

Created by Shari Obrentz

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Tuning Into Your Student

  • Energy Cycles

    • When does your student have the most energy?

    • When does your student crash in the evening?

  • Why do these matter?

    • Explains why performance in some classes may be better than others

    • Homework schedules should be worked around these times

    • Extracurricular activities can increase and decrease energy

    • Helps minimize cramming and meltdowns

Created by Shari Obrentz

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Tuning Into Your Student

  • Attention Spans

    • The “normal” adult attention span is 20-25 minutes.

    • Young students attentions spans vary- but should and will increase as they grow.

    • We all “tune in” more at the beginning and end of activities, lectures, assignments.

    • Creating more beginning and end times may help with attention

    • Each student is different. You may have to monitor your student to identify attentions spans.

Created by Shari Obrentz

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Tuning Into Your Student

  • Learning Styles

    • Younger students should try many different learning techniques to find what works best for different tasks.

    • By middle school, students will develop some preferred learning styles.

    • Students can use different techniques for different classes and may have to adapt to different teaching styles or requirements.

    • Common categories include:

      • Visual

      • Auditory

      • Read/Write

      • Kinesthetic

    • VARK Inventory

      • www.vark-learn.com

Created by Shari Obrentz

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Tuning Into Your Student

  • Motivation

    • Working with your students interests will make learning in all subjects easier.

    • Internal Motivation

      • Students tend to be more learning than task focused

      • The grade or reward is not the goal

      • Students will work harder in certain areas even if they are not performing at the top

    • External Motivation

      • Students tend to be more task than learning focused

      • Students need rewards in order to complete tasks (not always tangible)

      • Students may look for less challenging ways to complete tasks in order to enhance performance

      • Use your student’s interests as learning experiences and rewards.

Created by Shari Obrentz

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Getting Organized

  • Supplies may need to be changed throughout the school year.

  • The key is to find products that your students enjoy using!

    • Calendars

    • Agendas

    • Notebooks

    • Folders

    • Note cards

    • Pens/Markers/Pencils

  • If possible, students should have separate binders/folders for each class.

Created by Shari Obrentz

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Getting Organized

  • Family Calendars

    • Each family should have a shared calendar that is accessible to everyone. Every family member can have their own color.

      • Birthdays

      • Parties

      • Sporting Events

      • Vacations

      • Days off

  • Student Calendars

    • Students should also keep track of their own assignments and activities

      • Homework

      • Tests

      • Projects

Created by Shari Obrentz

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Getting Organized

  • School & Activity Planning

    • Try not to schedule every minute of every day!

    • Be mindful of energy clocks and attention spans (especially when organizing around homework time).

    • Sometimes having no “activity” planned is the best plan.

Created by Shari Obrentz

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Getting Organized

  • Homework Routines

    • Select either times of the day or an order of subjects to complete homework.

    • Try setting time limits to keep students going and not hyper-focusing on one subject.

    • There is always be something to do, even if there is nothing due (this is not to fill up down time).

  • Homework Checks

    • Middle school is a time for students to learn and practice their independence.

    • Students still need to be accountable and may not be ready for as much independence as they request.

    • Building in routine check times will help students build their own skills while keeping you in the loop.

Created by Shari Obrentz

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Study Skills

  • Study Environment

    • Work with your student to find out where he/she is most comfortable and least distracted.

    • Consider work space, lighting, access to computer or supplies.

    • Have a back-up space ready in case the primary space is occupied or not working.

Created by Shari Obrentz

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Study Skills

  • Studying as an Everyday Activity

    • Distributed learning is the best way to improve memory and ensure long-term storage.

    • Practicing some things every day helps will help minimize the stress around quizzes and tests.

    • Start reviewing “notes” daily (this is a huge skill to learn).

    • Students will retain up to 80% of information learned if they review it within 24 hours of learning.

Created by Shari Obrentz

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Study Skills

  • Creative Study Techniques

    • Relate current school material to personal experiences and interests.

    • Work different learning strategies into daily studying:

      • Use art supplies to make flash cards or study sheets

      • Create songs/poems/mneumonics to memorize vocabulary/formulas

      • Move around while studying- this is very important for kinesthetic learners

      • Make up games, drills, or timed activities to practice recall

Created by Shari Obrentz

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Independence & Working Together

  • Goals must include your student’s input (if the goals are yours, there’s a good chance they will not be reached).

  • Goals should be S.M.A.R.T:





    • TIMELY

  • It takes 30 days to make a new habit (and less than a week to break it).

  • Have checkpoints in place so that goals can be modified along the way.

Created by Shari Obrentz

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Independence & Working Together

  • What can your student do alone?

    • Daily homework

    • Routine reviews

    • Starting studying and projects

  • When should you step in?

    • Daily Homework Checks

    • Weekly plans

    • Review for tests/projects

Created by Shari Obrentz

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Independence & Working Together

  • Family Check-Ins

  • A great opportunity to share accomplishments, set or re-set goals.

  • Keeps everyone accountable for short-term and long-term goals.

  • Allows family members to support one another.

Created by Shari Obrentz

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  • Peers

    • Assist with accountability (especially if your student forgets to write down assignments or bring materials home)

    • Model study skills

    • Promote group learning

  • Teachers

    • Provide tutorials

    • Offer additional study materials/resources

  • Tutors/Coaches

    • Support specific course content

    • Teach skills that can be used across disciplines

Created by Shari Obrentz

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  • Assistive Technology

    • AMAC

      • http://www.amac.uga.edu/

    • Inspiration

      • http://inspiration.com/

    • Kurzweil Educational Systems

      • http://www.kurzweiledu.com/

    • Read/Write Gold

      • http://www.readwritegold.com

    • Digital Note cards

      • http://quizlet.com/

Created by Shari Obrentz

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Contact Information

  • Shari Obrentz

    • [email protected]

    • 404.734.8400

Created by Shari Obrentz