When Study Skills Cause Misery

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! For me, the holiday lived up to its name and was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate all of the blessings in my life. We hosted 30 people for the holiday, but I didn’t cook a thing! My husband’s parents graciously took control of the turkey and mashed potatoes. Everyone else brought a dish to pass. (THAT’S the way to host Thanksgiving!) I truly enjoyed catching up with lots of cousins, having a heart-to-heart chat with my last surviving uncle, and squishing my adorable niece who was celebrating her 1st birthday. I am so grateful!

As we all head back into the grind of school and work, I thought I would keep today’s newsletter somewhat simple. I am petitioning you to keep it simple, too.

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How Do Study Skills Improve Standardized Test Scores?

Educators are under enormous pressure to have students perform well on standardized tests. Since standardized tests assess students’ mastery of state benchmarks, it is well known that the best way to improve scores is to provide clear instruction of those benchmarks.

As a result, teachers and administrators are spending vast amounts of time “mapping” their curriculum, carefully aligning their instruction to match state expectations. However, the most solid curriculum map in the world does nothing to ensure that students will learn that content effectively.

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The Cost of NOT Teaching Study Skills

As school budgets are rapidly shrinking, administrators have to carefully consider how to allocate their budget; they need to get the most “bang for their buck.” Managing a school budget is an art form involving hundreds of decisions and balancing dozens of demands.


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Study Tips from Eight International Competitors

Greetings from DECA’s International Career Development Conference! If you are not aware, DECA is a student marketing association with 185,000 members in eight different countries. My husband and his co-worker (Brian and “Ms. D”) are advisers of their school’s DECA chapter. Brian and Ms. D have worked hard over the last few years to grow their program and coach their students. This year, they have eight students qualifying to compete in DECA’s international competition! I am tagging along as a chaperone.

As I always say, I believe it is imperative for students to learn employability and entrepreneurial skills, which is exactly what DECA provides for students. However, today, I want to share study tips from our DECA competitors. I have had a wonderful time getting to know these eight students over the past few days and thought it might be interesting to get their input for today’s article. They did NOT let me down! (more…)

How to Study for a Math Test

When I was a student and teachers would say, “Study for your math test!” I would think, “How do I ‘study’ for a math test?” I now realize that ‘study’ is the wrong verb. You really need to ‘practice’ for a math test.

Math tests not only require you to KNOW material, they require you to know HOW TO DO something with that material. This shift requires a shift in your preparation. Unlike other tests, there is no way to prepare for a math test the night before. At that point, you either know the material or you don’t, but there is no faking.

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How to Take a Test

Being prepared for a test is absolutely essential, but there are some things you can do while taking a test to reduce anxiety and improve your score.

The following action plan will give you a greater sense of control during tests, which will allow you to be more relaxed and think more clearly.

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Feeling Like I’m Back in 4th Grade, Learning Long Division

I recently had an experience (in fact, I’m still floundering my way through it) that made me feel exactly the way I did when I was in fourth grade, learning long division.

Many students are now learning “new math” and are hopefully finding long division a bit more logical than I did as a 9 year-old. Back then, however, we just learned a series of “random” steps that seemed meaningless to me. I was horribly confused and totally overwhelmed. I felt stupid and felt like the end of my world was directly in front of me because I was NEVER going to “get it!” Gallons of tears were shed over my math book that year! (more…)

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