When your teacher tells you to go home and study for the test, what exactly does that mean?
This was the question I asked a group of 5th graders two weeks ago.
As an intervention teacher, I get referrals for a variety of topics. Recently, our 5th grade team sent a group of 5th graders to me that were just shy of proficient on their science quizzes. They asked me to help them organize their notes and teach them how to create and use flashcards to study.
Their STEM teacher shared their Edmodo group with me. Whenever he introduces new vocabulary words, he has them take three column notes. The first column has the key word. The second column has the definition. The last column is for a picture. After doing the notes in class, he posts them to Edmodo so the kids can see them.
The first thing I had the students do was open their binders and compare their notes to the notes on the screen. Students that came unprepared (without their binder of notes) had to copy the notes all over again. Surprise, Surprise, the next day they all had their binder.
We focused in on the idea of taking accurate notes. They needed to copy the definition exactly so they could have the specific academic language but I encouraged them to add synonyms or words they were more familiar with to help them understand.
Then, we worked on layering our notes. We worked together to highlight key words in the definition. I learned quickly to limit them to one word. They were prone to over highlight and really needed guidance in deciding the key words in the definition.
As the week went on, I taught them to create index cards with the key words on front and the definition and picture on the back. I created this handout for them to keep in their binder.
After they created their flashcards, I taught them the procedure their teacher, Mr. Clark, had created for studying with a partner. We also learned how to study alone.
I wanted to take this opportunity to help the students learn what method of studying worked best for them. So, I checked out some chrome books, and had he students take this online quiz. This helped them learn whether they were an auditory learner, a visual learner, or a tactile learner. I asked them to record three tips they read that could help them study. Then I had them share their findings with kids that had the same learning style.
It became clear that many were tactile learners. I showed the tactile learners an alternative to flashcards. They could cut the cards in half and put a word on one half and the definition on the other half and use the cards to play concentration. Those that decided to use the cards the traditional way would stand with a partner or walk around while studying.
I asked their teacher to send kids who passed the quiz to me for a prize. I was happy to see a steady stream of successful students today who were excited to share their scores with me.
On the last day of class, I gave the kids the same question: When your teacher tells you to go home and study for a test, what exactly does that mean?
I was very pleased when I compared the answers. We went from explanations like “Study for 20 minutes.” to detailed descriptions of creating and using flashcards. I love that I had a chance to teach them a skill that can continue to help them.
Mr. Clark was kind enough to let me share his ideas with you that I typed up. You can click here to download all of this FREEBIE from Dropbox.