Learning Information by Leveling for Tests

The starting place for getting ready to take a test is gathering all of the information that needs to be learned. This can be: a study guide, class notes, worksheets, handouts and the end of a chapter in a textbook. Make sure all material needed for the test is gathered.

The next step is to level the information according to the individual student’s knowledge. There is a simple A-B-C method to use. Mark all vocabulary and concepts with an A, B or C. A means that the information is well known and does not need to be learned but only reviewed. B means that the information is partially known and learning needs to happen. C means that the information is not known at all and must be learned. It is important for the student to be honest when making these marks.

The next step is to start with the C’s. Count how many C’s there are and then put them on a calendar to know when to learn them. Do the same thing with the B’s. A’S should be reviewed two days prior to the test. All learning should be put on a calendar to know when to learn the information.

Have questions? Contact Beth Silver. Email:bethcarolsilver@gmail.com or Phone: 310-720-0390

Textbooks Online – Know the Parts

Many schools use textbooks online. The students access them through the use of Chromebooks or iPads. This is a good cost savings method. The only problem is that the student does not pay attention to how the pieces of the textbook can be helpful.

Have your student locate the Table of Contents, the Glossary and the Index for the online textbook. There may also be answers to problems- math text, chemistry text or physics text. When students are given class notes and they need additional information, they can use these resources to find answers to their questions.

Another good reference source is online videos. You Tube and Khan Academy have many informative videos. This is a way for a student to hear the lesson that was given in class again. It is also possible to replay the video as many times as is necessary to understand the information.

Questions? Contact Beth Silver. Email: bethcarolsilver@gmail.com Phone: 310-720-0390.

What are Cumulative Files or Records?

Cumulative School Files contain information about a student. This information includes: grades, disciplinary comments and school administration input.

Parents should ask to review their students’ cumulative files. This is to make sure that the contents are not negative or derogatory to the student. Parents have the right to expunge such information from the cumulative files. In the future, if a student applies for a government job, the cumulative record may be accessed. Negative comments could hurt the student’s chances of getting a position.

Questions? Contact Beth Silver. Email: bethcarolsilver@gmail.com Phone: 310-720-0390.

Following Directions – Oral and Written

Following directions is a life long skill. There is a standing joke in my family which is if all else fails, read the directions!

Following oral directions in any phase of life is important. It is particularly in the school classroom. Some teachers are easier to listen to than others. If the verbal delivery is paced evenly most students will be able to follow it. If the instructor goes at a fast pace, it is possible that students will not be able to follow and comprehend the information. If a student has a fast paced instructor then there are a couple of things to do. Ask for instructor notes to be given. The other thing is to search for an online video which contains the same information to listen to and comprehend. The online video can be replayed which helps most students.

Written directions are important. There are times, however, when students look at a page and think they know what to do and don’t read the directions. This is especially true in the case of written test directions. Encourage your student to read the directions.

Have Questions? Contact Beth Silver. Email: bethcarolsilver@gmail.com Phone: 310-720-0390.

Textbooks and Copyright Dates

Most students and parents do not look at the copyright dates of textbooks being used. The textbooks are accepted as a tool that is not to be questioned.

It is important to note that by the time textbooks are published and receive a copyright date the information can be as old as three years. In certain subjects, the age of the information doesn’t matter. What does matter is including current material for students to learn. That is why teachers are constantly supplementing textbook information with hand-outs. Teachers may tell their students that they are not using the textbook because of the age of the information published in it.

Schools have a difficult time keeping up with the advancements of new publications of textbooks because of the cost. Most textbook prices are quite high. A Lot of textbooks cost over $100.00 if they are purchased new.

Questions? Contact Beth Silver. Email bethcarolsilver@gmail.com. Phone: 310-720-0390.

Talking in Class

Talking in class by students at times that are not appropriate is a long standing problem. It is important for students – of all ages- to understand when the time to talk is correct and when it is not.

Students who talk continually are a problem for teachers. These students distract others and do not absorb the content of the lesson. In addition to that, the talking is rude.

It is important to impress upon your student when talk is acceptable and when it is not. Frequently students will talk to other students when they are not understanding the lesson and are looking for clarification. A student should learn to speak directly to the teacher for clarification.

If the student is chatty and is using class time to socialize, it is vital that the student learn to keep his/her mouth shut. Teachers feel that this type of student is being rude and disrespectful of them.

Questions? Contact Beth Silver. Email:bethcarolsilver@gmail.com Phone: 310-720-0390.

Missing Assignments

Missing assignments plague students in grades 3-12. When a student is absent, it is the responsibility of the student to find out what needs to be completed.

In the upper grades, missing assignments are often marked with zeroes which really hurts a student’s grade point average for a class.

Train your student to understand that completing missed work is important. Making up tests is also vital. Help your student to take the tests as soon as possible after a return to school.

Questions? Contact Beth Silver. Email: bethcarolsilver@gmail.com. Phone: 310-720-0390.

Homework Amounts

Homework amounts vary by grade level and by course content. Homework itself is something that all students and families struggle with and achieve varying degrees of success.

At the elementary level for grades 1-3, homework should be about 30 minutes and add reading for another 20 minutes. For grades 4-6 homework should be about 60 minutes and add another 30 minutes for reading. For grades 7 and 8 homework should be about 90 minutes and add another 30 minutes for reading.

At the high school level, the amount of homework depends upon the course load a student is taking. For regular courses homework will be about an hour for each course. For honors courses homework will be about 1.5 hours per course. For AP courses homework will be about 2 hours per course.

Have you student begin doing the learning or study work needed for courses. Then the homework should begin with the most pressing, mst difficult courses.

Questions? Contact Beth Silver. Email: bethcarolsilver@gmail.com. Phone: 310-720-0390.

A Writing Sequence

Where to start? Most students experience the frustration of not knowing where to begin in writing assignments. Planning is the solution.

When thinking about a topic, it is a good idea to make a bullet note list of thoughts. The thoughts do not have to be sequential and they do not have to be related. This is capturing random thoughts about the topic. Instead of evaluating each thought that comes to mind, make a list. Just let the thoughts flow. After the flow of thoughts stops, it is time for the next step.

Organize the notes. They could be labeled in simple mathematical signs such as 1,2 3, etc. This is used for the order in which the thoughts are going to be used to write. Thoughts could be given categories and labeled with A,B and C. Then all the thoughts in the A category can be sequenced with numbers for the order.

Sometimes it is necessary to take an empty page and just fill it with thoughts. Put various shapes around the thoughts. Then sequence them.

Planning written responses in short answer and essay answer questions on tests is important. The planning can be very short. The result is that the student has specific ideas to write about and can have a well constructed answer.

Questions? Contact Beth Silver. Email:bethcarolsilver@gmail.com. Phone: 310-720-0390 Website: educationsage.net.

Learn vs. Memorize

Students try very hard to memorize facts, definitions and concepts. They may spend a lot of time doing the memorization and then not do well on a test. Why?

Memorizing information does not mean that the student truly understands the material. For example – take a 3×5 index card. Write the vocabulary word on the front. Then on the other side, copy the definition directly from the textbook. The textbook definition may not have meaning to the student but the student knows the definition words must be memorized for the test. Then when a student gets to the test and the information is used with different words other than the ones the student memorized, there is confusion and the student cannot answer the question.

When a student truly learns a vocabulary word, the student should be able to discuss he meaning of the word and give examples. A suggestion is- on the reverse side of the card where the definition has been carefully copied- take a highlighter and highlight the words that are truly needed for the definition. Cut out the extraneous words. Add pictures, diagrams or charts to the card. A student should practice explaining the vocabulary word or concept by teaching it to someone else- maybe a parent.

The student should plan the time for learning this way. The learning should be done daily. The number of words and concepts should be spread over the days where learning can take place. This should happen in advance of the day of the test.

Questions? Contact Beth Silver. Email:bethcarolsilver@gmail.com. Phone: 310-720-0390.