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Just A Thought or Two . . .

January 22, 2014

No Homework?  There’s Still Studying . . .

It seems like we just handed out report cards and next week we will have conferences and progress reports.  December days rushed by in a flurry of activities as we prepared for the birthday celebration of Jesus and during the first weeks of January we had to reclaim the realities of a school day schedule and homework expectations.

If there are academic concerns, now is the time to set goals — before the March report card.  Now is the time to fine tune study skills.  Now is the time to honestly evaluate specific needs.  The following students don’t actually exist, but we all know people who fit their description.

Thomas listened intently to his math teacher.  He understood the lesson and started his assignment.  He planned to finish his assignment when he got home.  Once he got home, he immediately located his book but couldn’t find his assignment.  He sorted through all in the papers in his backpack and searched through his notebooks.  A half hour later he reluctantly started over.  The next morning he found his math assignment in his spelling book.

Martha loved to talk to her friends.  The language arts assignment could wait.  This same scenario was repeated each class period.  Martha always had a ton of homework.  Her parents wondered why her teachers always assigned so much homework.

Eric finished his science assignment at school.  When it was time to pack his book bag he left his science book in his locker.  On Thursday night he felt overwhelmed as he gazed at the chapter pages.  Friday he failed yet another science exam.

The 2013-2014 school year is half over.  Now is the time to evaluate study skills.  What is working well?  What behaviors cause frustrations?  What new study tools are needed?

The credible student is organized.  Valuable time is not spent searching for assignments, paper, and school supplies.  The middle school teachers have color-coded the different subjects. A folder, a composition book and a book cover are part of the plan.  The math assignment is in the math folder – not the spelling book.

Credible students use class time.  Many teachers plan time at the end of the lesson for students to begin the assigned work.  This allows students to practice the skills and ask questions if necessary.  This is not a time to catch up on the latest social news, walk around the room, or daydream.  This is the time to complete as much of the homework as possible.

Credible students study every night.  Assignments may be completed in class but these students study the chapter one section at a time.  They use the night before the exam to review – not to begin to study the chapter.  These students do not ever say, “I don’t have any homework tonight.”  There is always something to study.

Many of our middle school students were academically successful during their primary and intermediate years. It was possible to skim through the text, listen to the teacher, and pass assessments.  Middle school is a bit different.  Skimming through the textbook or resource materials isn’t enough.  Yes, you may have to read the assignment twice.  Sixth grade students retake the Learning Styles Inventory.  Results are shared at the October conference.  Use your learning styles results to frame your study techniques.  It is time to study “smart.”

Being a good student is a choice.  Behavior patterns influence learning.  Now is the time to make the necessary changes as we begin the second half of this school year.

Please come and pray with us:

The 8th grade will host the 10:30 Sunday liturgy, celebrating Catholic Schools Week — “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge, and Service”

Due to conferences, there is no school Mass on January 29.

On February 5. At 1:05, the 3rd grade will host the liturgy celebrating the feast of Saint Agatha.