Archive for October, 2009

Preparing for Exams.

Friday, October 30th, 2009

According to Justin Capasso one thing that everyone says about preparing for an exam is to prepare for it early. This is by far the best possible suggestion, however how do you do this?

If you find that rereading notes to be a complete bore, and the more you read, the harder it is to focus – Justin Capasso suggests the following to deal with your studying.

1.   At least one week before your exam:

  • Pull out some blank paper and your notes.
  • Rewrite your entire set of notes on blank or lined paper.
  • This is the first step to making the connections in your brain. This should take two or three hours depending on how fast you write.

2.   On the next night:

  • Pull out the notes you rewrote as well as three highlighters (red, yellow and green).
  • Read through your notes, and while reading, highlight your notes in these three colours. Green means that you understand the concept, yellow means that you sort of understand the concept and red means that you are totally lost.

3.   The goal over the next five days :

  • To turn your red items into yellow and eventually green.
  • The same goes for your yellow items – you want to make them green.
  • End each study session by reading over your rewritten notes – or the notes you took in class.
  • Remember, you have only five days, so concentrate on a few items per night.
  • Don’t forget about the green items, you should still read over them; you just do not need to spend as  much time.

4.  On the day of the exam:

  • Gather your rewritten notes and your notes from class.
  • Most of the items on your rewritten notes should be ‘green’.
  • Anything that is not should be reviewed first.
  • Read through your class notes once, as well as your rewritten notes.
  • Stop studying at least fifteen minutes before the exam; if you do not know it by then, you will not know it on the exam. Give your brain a few minutes rest before you start.

Pangeacat suggests the following to help you to prepare for those nerve-wracking exams  ….

1.   Always make sure you get enough good, restful sleep the night before:

  • Socializing is great, and ultimately important for human development. Still, if  you want to do well on that test, it’s best to make sure you’ve made time to rest, relax, and clear your head for the day to come.

2.  Worrying about the test won’t help you succeed at all.

  • This will be the most difficult for most people to overcome, but try to erase the worry from your mind.
  • Realize that you CAN do this, and, know that one bad grade isn’t the end of the world anyway.

3.   If your teacher give you a study guide – use it:

  • The teacher knows exactly what will be on the test. If your teacher tells you that you need to know ……… that’s what you should be focusing on.

4.   Assuming you have one of the many teachers who simply says, “know about everything we’ve discussed thus far.”

  • Spend the majority of your study time focusing on those things which have given you the most trouble.

5.   The morning of the test, be sure to eat a good breakfast:

  • Weve all heard that breakfast is most important meal of the day. Well, test day is not the time to try and prove those experts wrong.

6.   If your test preparation has you studying from a book:

  • Get some small post-its to easily “mark” pages that you’ll need to study from more extensively.
  • On those post-its, make small notes about which paragraph, quote, or theme on that page you’ll need to focus on more.

7.   If possible, join a study group specifically devoted to your subject of interest:

  • Two heads are always better than one, three is better than two, and so on.
  • If a study group isn’t available option for you, peers/friends and family can still be immeasurably helpful if they’re willing to use their evening/afternoon/ etc to help you understand the material.

8.   Last, but not least – Relax:

  • If you’ve studied, and paid attention in class, you are going to be fine.
  • The exams are really only there to find out if you’ve gained the necessary knowledge from the material you’ve been presented with.
  • Chances are, unless you’ve been partying every night and skipping classes – you have gained that knowledge!

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Test Taking Strategies.

Thursday, October 29th, 2009
  1. Bring everything you’ll need to class with you. There’s nothing worse than being unprepared and spending your time searching for a pen or pencil.
  2. Listen to and read directions carefully. Make sure that no last minute changes have been announced. Many questions are missed because of lack of attention to directions. Make sure to look for words like “never” and “always”.
  3. Once you get your test, take a minute to budget your time. Spend more time on questions that are worth more points (marks). Do not spend too much time on any one question before you’ve gone all the way through the test.
  4. Some  people find it easier to go through the test quickly answering the easy questions first.
  5. Mark up your test. Place stars next to questions you are unsure of. Cross out answers you know are not correct. Write notes to yourself to help jog your memory.
  6. If you are not penalized for guessing, then guess on all the questions you are unsure of. Choose a system for guessing. For example, always answer B for guesses unless you know for sure that B is incorrect.
  7. Think long and hard before changing answers. Often your first instinct is correct. Only change them if you know you are wrong. Take your time as you go through the test until you are out of time.

By Melissa Kelly.

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Effective Study Habits.

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

You can prepare yourself to succeed in your studies. Try to develop and appreciate the following habits:

  1. Take responsibility for yourself :   Recognize that in order to succeed you need to make decisions about your time, and your resources.
  2. Centre yourself around your values and principles :   Don’t  let friends and acquaintances dictate what you consider important .
  3. Put first things first:  Follow up on the priorities you have set for yourself, and don’t let others, or other interests, distract you from your goals.
  4. Discover your key productivity periods and places:  Morning, afternoon, or evening?  Find spaces where you can be the most focused and productive.  Prioritize these for your most difficult study challenges.
  5. Consider yourself in a win-win situation:  When you contribute your best to a class, you, your fellow students, and even your teacher will benefit. Your grade can then be one additional check on your performance.
  6. First understand others, then attempt to be understood:  When you have an issue with an instructor (a questionable grade, an assignment deadline, etc) put  yourself in the instructor’s place. Now ask yourself how you can best make your argument given his / her situation.
  7. Look for better solutions to problems:  For example, if you don’t understand the course material, don’t just re-read it. Try something else! Consult with the professor, a tutor, an academic advisor, a classmate, a study group, or your school’s study skills centre.
  8. Look to continually challenge yourself.

Partially adapted from the audio cassette by Steven Covey.

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

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Failed His Examination

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

When little Johnny got his exam paper back, he saw a red F staring back at him.

Billy looked at his glum friend and asked, “Why did you get such a low mark on that test?”

“Because of an absence” Johnny answered.

“You mean you were absent on the day of the test?” Billy inquired.

Little Johnny replied, “I wasn’t, but the kid who sits next to me was.”

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Good Listening in Class.

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

It is important for you to be a good listener in class. Much of what you will have to learn  will be presented verbally by your teachers. Just hearing what your teachers say is not the same as listening to what they say. Listening is a cognitive act that requires you to pay attention and think about and mentally process what you hear.

Here are some things you should do to be good listener in class.

  • Be Cognitively Ready to Listen When You Come  to Class.
  1. Make sure you complete all assigned work and readings.
  2. Review your notes from previous class sessions.
  3. Think about what you know about the topic that will be covered in class that day.
  • Be Emotionally Ready to Listen When You Come to Class.
  1. Your attitude is important.
  2. Make a conscious choice to find the topic useful and interesting.
  3. Be committed to learning all that you can.
  • Listen with a Purpose:
  1. Identify what you expect and hope to learn from the class session.
  2. Listen for these things as your teacher talks.
  • Listen with an Open Mind:
  1. Be receptive to what your teacher says.
  2. It is good to question what is said as long as you remain open to points of view other than your own.
  • Be Attentive:
  1. Focus on what your teacher is saying.
  2. Try not to daydream and let your mind wander to other things.
  3. It helps to sit in the front and centre of the class, and to maintain eye contact with your teacher.
  • Be an Active Listener:
  1. You can think faster than your teacher can speak.
  2. Use this to your advantage by evaluating what is being said and trying to anticipate what will be said next.
  3. Take good written notes about what your teacher says.
  4. Taking notes requires you to make decisions about what to write, and you have  to be an active listener to do this.
  • Meet the Challenge:
  1. Don’t give up and stop listening when you find the information being presented difficult to understand.
  2. Listen even more carefully at these times and work hard to understand what is being said.
  3. Don’t be reluctant to ask questions.
  • Triumph Over the Environment:
  1. The classroom may be too noisy, too hot, too cold, too bright, or too dark.
  2. Don’t give in to these inconveniences.
  3. Stay focused on the big picture – LEARNING!.


How To Write Lesson Plans.

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Writing  lesson plans does not have to be difficult. This is the time that a teacher can show their creativity. Here is a how-to create effective lesson plans that will help ensure success.

1.   Begin with the end in mind:

  • What do you want the students to learn from this lesson?
  • What standards are you meeting?
  • What age students are you trying to reach?
  • How are you going to assess that learning?
  • What does our National Philosophy of Education (NPME) require?

Once you’ve determine this, write a quick description and list out your objectives for the assignment.

2.   Create a key vocabulary list that you will add to as you write out your lesson plan procedure:

  • This will help you remember terms that you need to make sure the students understand as they work through the lesson.

3.   Create a materials list:

  • Create  a materials list and add to this as you write your procedure so that you know exactly what you will need including A/V equipment, number of copies, page numbers from books, etc.

4.   Determine how you will introduce the lesson:

  • For example, will you use a simple oral explanation for the lesson, an introductory worksheet, or an interactivity of some sort.

5.   Describe the method(s) you will use to teach the content of your lesson:

  • For example, does it lend itself to independent reading, lecture, or whole group discussion?
  • Sometimes it is best to use a combination of these methods: beginning with a couple minutes of lecture, followed by a short whole group discussion to ensure that the students understand what you have taught them.

6.   Write out supporting information:

  • Once you determined how you will teach the content of the lesson, write out supporting information in your notes.

7.   Determine how you will have the students practice the skill/information you have just taught them:

  • For example, if you have taught them about the laws of supply and demand in economics, how you will have them practice this information to truly gain an understanding of the material.
  • Will you have them complete independent practice, use a whole group simulation, or allow students to work cooperatively on a project? These are just three possibilities of how you can have them practice the information.

8.   Write out step by step instructions:

  • Once you determine how students will practice the skills that you taught them, write out step by step instructions.

9.   Create an end of the period review:

10.   Complete details for any homework or assessments that you will be giving the students.

11.   Decide on any accommodations (adaptations):

  • Decide on any accommodations  you may need to make for your class including accommodations for special education, etc.

12.   Finish out the details:

  • Once you have completed your lesson plan, finish out the details including creating the assessments, homework assignments, and any handouts.

13.   Finally, make copies and collect materials for the lesson.


  • Some teachers find that by writing the assessment first, they are better able to focus their lesson on what is essential .
  • Try not to always rely solely on your textbook for lessons. At the same time make sure that you evaluate any other source you might use like books, teachers, written resources, and internet web pages.
  • Some schools require standards to be listed on the lesson plans. Make sure that you check with your school.
  • Overplan, overplan, overplan. It is much easier to cut things out of a plan or continue it the next day than fill up  fifteen or twenty extra minutes.
  • If possible, connect homework to real life. This help reinforce what the students should be learning.

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War and Peace Lesson.

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

The social studies teacher had just completed a lesson on war and peace.

“How many of you,” the teacher asked, “would say you’re opposed to war?”

Not surprisingly, every student in the class raised their hand.

“Who would like to give us their reason for being opposed to war?” asked the teacher.

Little Johnny, sitting at the back of the class, immediately raised his hand.

“Johnny, what is your reason?” the teacher asked.

“I hate wars,” explained Johnny, “because wars make history, and I hate History!”

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No Motivation!

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Strategies to Improve Motivation

Many students with disabilities lack motivation. The lacking of motivation often stems from a low self-esteem or confidence level. As teachers and parents, there is a lot that can be done to improve the motivational level. One needs to remember that these students are often fragile mentally and require a great deal of confidence boosting before the following techniques will work. The goal is often to help develop a can do attitude, one that sets the child up for success.

Try the following strategies:

  • Always build on prior knowledge, this means you really need to understand exactly where your student is academically;
  • Be sure to praise and recognize ALL efforts and attempts at improving. Give lots of verbal and non-verbal reinforcements;
  • Provide opportunities for peer mentoring, buddy up, social skill development and cooperative learning whenever the situation presents itself;
  • Use graphic organizers to assist the student;
  • Give immediate feedback for on task, task completion, solid efforts and demonstrated improvement at every opportunity;
  • Encourage independence at every opportunity and provide positive feedback when the student is working well independently;
  • ALWAYS focus on the student’s abilities NOT disabilities;
  • Provide opportunities for the child to take risks in new learning situations;
  • Give the child opportunity to provide feedback, let him / her tell you why he / she thinks you’re happy with them;
  • Always provide opportunities throughout the day for the student to experience success;
  • When the opportunity presents itself, be sure to send home happy notes (Notes that state something positive about the day).

Remember, consistency in approach will help to change undesirable behaviours (lacking motivation), your time and patience will pay off and slowly but surely your efforts will be rewarded! Remain positive!

By Sue Watson.

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Lesson in Logic

Monday, October 26th, 2009

A third-grade teacher was giving her pupils a lesson in logic.

“Here is the situation,” she said. “A man is standing up in a boat in the middle of a river, fishing. He loses his balance, falls in and begins splashing and yelling for help. His wife hears the commotion, knows he can’t swim, and runs down to the bank. Why do you think she ran to the bank?”

A little girl raised her hand and said, “To draw out all his savings?”

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Setting Goals

Monday, October 26th, 2009

A goal is something you want to achieve. A short-term goal is something you want to achieve soon. Examples of short-term goals are finishing your homework and doing well on tomorrow’s test. A long-term goal is something you want to achieve at some later date. Examples of long term-goals are writing a paper and passing a class.

To set appropriate goals, you must know what is important for you to accomplish. Then you must set specific and clearly stated goals. If you do not have clearly stated goals, your effort will lack direction and focus. Write your goals to have a record of them.

The Three W’s of Goals:

Each goal you set should state WHAT will you do and WHEN you will accomplish it. Implied in each goal you is your WILL (determination) to do it. For example: a goal for a research paper might be stated as follows – “I will (your determination) finish gathering information for my research paper (what you will do) by March 20,  2010 (when you will accomplish it).

Characteristic of Appropriate Goals.

Your goals should be:

  1. Within your skills and abilities: Knowing your strengths and weaknesses will help you set goals you can accomplish.
  2. Realistic: Setting a goal to learn the spelling of three new words a day is realistic. Trying to learn the spelling of fifty new words a day is not realistic.
  3. Flexible: Sometimes things will not go the way you anticipate and you may need to change your goal. Stay flexible so when you realize a change is necessary you will be ready to make the change.
  4. Measurable:  It is important to be able to measure your progress toward a goal. It is especially important to recognize when you have accomplished your goal and need to go no further. Failure to measure your progress toward a goal and recognize its accomplishment will result in effort that is misdirected and wasted.
  5. Within your control:  Other than when working as part of a group, accomplishment of your goal should not depend on other students. You can control what you do, but you have little or no control over what others do. You may do what you have to do, but if others don’t, you will not accomplish your goal.

Many times your parents, teachers, and counselors will set goals for you. Be accepting when they do. These are people who know what is important for you and are very concerned with your success. They can also help you accomplish the goals they set.


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