For many students, middle school is their first experience with studying. Elementary classes are commonly filled with repetition and practice that ensures that the pupils retain the information imparted. In middle school, on the other hand, students learn more information, and the information that they learn is more complex. All of this learning does not leave time for the in-class practice to which the students are accustomed. To ensure their students' success, middle school teachers can engage their students in study skills activities designed to teach them the tools for effective independent learning.
My Plan... Daily Journal
Encourage students to think critically about what they plan to do academically by engaging them in a daily journal activity. Begin each study skills session by asking your students to write a journal entry about their current academic struggles, plans and goals. Collect the journals regularly, and respond to the entries, providing advice and guidance to students as they develop their study skills.
My Time Pie Chart
Begin your exploration of study skills by determining how students spend their time. Ask your students to keep track of their activities for one week. At the end of the week, determine how the time was spent. Ask your students to add up the time they spent studying, eating, sleeping, watching TV or any other activities that made their list. Create pie charts that represent student time. Ask students to reflect upon what their pie charts show, explaining whether they feel that they spend their time effectively or if, instead, reallocation is necessary.
Daily Study Schedule
Students commit to study time through the creation of a daily study schedule. After students have explored their time allocation, ask them to decide upon study time. Ask each student to write out a schedule for studying, listing when they will study each day and adding information about what subjects they may study. Tell students that their study schedule is fluid, as they may need to modify it as tests and projects approach, but encourage students to stick to their selected schedule as much as possible to ensure that they dedicate an adequate amount of time to academics.
Practice the process of outlining by engaging students in an outline unscramble. After explaining the process of outlining, create an outlining game. Using a photo copier, enlarge a standard outline, and print it on card stock or another thick paper. Cut the outline apart, and place the pieces in an envelope. When students arrive in class, ask them to work together to unscramble the outline, placing the parts back in the proper order.
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