Brain Activities

December 18th, 2015

Try these fun brain activities! Now that it’s winter break, it’s easy to just turn off your brain and become a blob for two weeks. While you definitely do deserve a bit of a break from school, now is not the time to shut down completely. While celebrating the holidays, you can get creative! Ditch the books, but do some mental exercises. Here are some things you can do to keep your brain active over break.

 

  1. Read a good book: Put Animal Farm and Macbeth away and grab a book to read for pleasure. Cuddle up with a blanket and a hot chocolate and dive into Oprah’s latest faves.
  2. Do Chemistry conversions through cooking: As you’re helping prepare Christmas dinner, practice converting things from grams to ounces. Don’t forget sig figs!
  3. Write an essay analyzing on your favorite Holiday movie: Jk this is excessive.
  4. Maintain healthy habits: While it’s tempting to stay up all night devouring Orange is the New Black, doing that every night is going to make January 4 tough. Maintain a somewhat normal sleep schedule, work out and stay active!
  5. Color Coordinate your gift list: This is good practice for making effective finals study guides.
  6. Do something new: Try paddle boarding, bake a new recipe, or complete a puzzle!
  7. Brush up on life skills: Learn how to do a load of laundry (an important skill before you go to college!)
  8. Study for finals: With finals coming up at the end of the month, putting in time now will get you in good shape. Start by reviewing old tests, making notecards, or organizing your notes into flow charts.
    Brain Activities

Use Your Break Wisely!

December 13th, 2015

Oh the weather outside is frightful

Use Your Winter Break Wisely!

Ok the weather is pretty nice…blue skies for days…Ahhhh. Winter Break! A time to relax, eat, hang out with family, and celebrate. You should definitely do all of those things… (here comes a but)…(drumroll please)…

BUT

You should ALSO use your break wisely! Open that backpack and do some studying over Winter Break. It’s been a long, hard semester, and you do not want to spoil all that you have put into it by slacking right before finals. With the biggest test of the semester right around the corner, many of you already have a study guide or an idea of what your final will look like. Use that!

 

You can start making flashcards for vocab. That’s something you can do with Mariah Carey belting out “All I Want for Christmas…is an A!” and it’s been proven that listening to music while studying can improve your performance on the test!

 

You should make a detailed outline with flow charts, timelines and pretty colors. This will refresh your memory of the topics and provide a beautiful study guide you can use once finals week arrives.

 

Grab your old tests or practice tests, and retake them, checking your answers as you go. This will help you decide where you need to allocate the most time for studying, and where you can skim a bit because you already have a good handle on the material.

 

DO NOT simply run your eyes over every single chapter in the book, or every single page of notes you’ve written. This is a waste of your time. Rereading is a passive activity, plus it is much too general. With so much material to cover, you are better off zeroing in on what’s important (hint: what’s on the study guide or what was on old tests).
Have fun over break, but spending the entire two weeks binge-watching Parks and Rec for the 3rd time will come back to haunt you when finals week arrives! Put in a few hours over break and I promise you’ll thank yourself later!

 

Time Management

June 17th, 2015

Time management is an important skill that all students need to learn. Excellent time management skills will help students be more productive and less stressed. Managing their schedule will keep students from drowning in their work and activities and becoming overwhelmed.

 

A great first step to making time management easy is using a planner. Writing down all of their assignments will keep students from freaking out that they forgot an assignment or do not remember what day their upcoming test is on. Planners are also great for giving a visual layout of the upcoming week. This helps students see exactly what they need to get done and by when.

 

Setting reminders and alarms in your phone also works really well if you are forgetful. For many students simply writing something down is not enough. Set an alarm a few days before a test or quiz so you know to start studying. Or set a reminder for a certain time in the day to start working on your homework.

 

 

An important part of time management is making room for everything. Between school, projects, sports, community service, and a social life, the average teenager has a lot on their plate. If they know they have a lot of practice on certain days each week, they should plan to have that night’s homework done early. Students should not take on more obligations than they can comfortably handle. They will become too stressed out and do poorly at everything. Large amounts of stress impacts a student’s grades as well as their overall health.

Make the Most of Your Tutoring Session

May 22nd, 2015

One of the most common problems students have when they come in for tutoring is being unprepared.  This eats up a good portion of a student’s session.  Luckily, it is easily remedied. This is how you can make the most of your tutoring session.

 

 

Bring Your Materials Make the Most of Your Tutoring Session

Having the proper materials is one of the most important factors to having a productive tutoring session.  Too often students assume that the textbook will be online or at the Hut, and then they waste valuable time looking for it.  Other times, students will get to their session and realize they cannot do their work because they left their materials at home.  Before coming to your session, jot down a list of what you need to do and what you will need to do that.  Then make sure you have everything you need.

 

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Know What Areas You Are Struggling In

It doesn’t help you if you hand your tutor a study guide saying you need to go over everything and then as they try to cover each topic you say you already know it.  Know specifically what areas of the content you are having trouble grasping, so you can focus on that with your tutor.  This way you will not waste time going over things you already know.

 

Have a Good Attitude ☺

This is the most important part.  Come to your session ready to focus and learn.  Being miffed you have to go to tutoring or being too tired will guarantee that you won’t soak up as much information as if you had gone in with a positive attitude.  We are here to help you and make school make sense!

 

Enrichment and Test Anxiety

May 5th, 2015

Jacob comes in once a week for enrichment tutoring with his tutor Charlsey. Jacob picks up on most of the material he learns in class right away, but has trouble with second-guessing himself while doing his homework. He also gets very nervous while taking his tests. His test anxiety negatively impacts his scores on tests.

At Study Hut, he works on reviewing math concepts. Together, Charlsey and Jacob work on his homework. Charlsey makes sure that Jacob is doing the problems correctly. The reassurance that he knows what he is doing boosts Jacob’s confidence. Charlsey also sends him home with extra practice work to do between their sessions and his tests so that he does not forget any of the material they went over.

Together they also go over Jacob’s biology classwork. Sometimes his teacher does not clearly explain confusing topics, such as the difference between meiosis and mitosis. They practice drawing and labeling diagrams of different cell structures and complex processes like DNA replication and cellular respiration. Drawing out the diagrams rather than looking at them helps students remember content more vividly, due to their muscle memory working along with their regular memory. Writing out the processes in their own words also helps students understand confusing and complex processes better.

His weekly sessions at Study Hut have helped ease Jacob’s anxiety. He is no longer stressed when he goes into tests because he has practiced the problems so many times.  He got a 4 out of 4 on his last common core standards test!

Agenda

May 2nd, 2015

An agenda book is an important tool in keeping your student on top of assignments. Not only does keeping an agenda help manage assignments, it also helps students with time allotting skills and helping them plan out their study habits. However, simply having an agenda does not instantly give a student all these benefits. They must use it correctly.

First, your student should be using their agenda book every single day they have school. Every upcoming assignment, test, or project should be written down in their agenda book.   When they get home at night or get to their tutor, they know exactly what they need to get done that evening. Checking with friends can take a long time, and sometimes friends have inaccurate information.

Being able to see their upcoming week will help students with planning ahead. They will not fall into the trap of studying for tests last minute or saving big projects until the night before. Planning ahead is a valuable life skill that students should develop sooner rather than later.

Assigning designated sections for each class makes a big difference in keeping organized. If your student simply jots down what problems are assigned but does not note the class those problems are for, things can get confusing the next day when they don’t remember which set is for Physics and which is for Calculus.

Keeping an agenda will help even the most disorganized student stay on track. You can help by asking to see their planner each day and making sure that they are writing in it.

Math with Mira: Determination

April 17th, 2015

Mira began coming to Study Hut for Chemistry and Algebra 2 midway through her sophomore year. She had a decent handle on both classes, but the content was beginning to get much more challenging. She showed determination and found some extra help to make keeping her A that much easier. She worked on math and chemistry with her tutors Charlsey and Maher.

Maher and Mira worked together on her difficult chemistry homework. He taught her when to use different gas laws, and easy tricks to help her remember which was which. He also helped her through the tricky steps of finding the empirical formula for different types of chemical equations.

While Mira mostly got amazing grades in math, she bombed one of her tests on probability and permutations. It was difficult for her to determine when to use a permutation versus a combination. She was determined to ace her retake while learning her new material on sequences at the same time. She and Charlsey worked on memorizing the different sequence formulas and how to tell whether a sequence was geometric or arithmetic. Sequences were super easy for Mira, so they spent more time reviewing permutations, combinations, and other probability problems. They focused special attention on what words to look for in word problems that would signify whether Mira should use the formula for a permutation or combination. On top of that, she had to figure out when she would be dealing with repetition or not. The countless practice sheets and determination paid off, because Mira received a 95% on her make up probability test and a 97% on her sequences test!

Enrichment

January 27th, 2015

A lot of younger students may not need as much regular help with homework and assignments as high school students, but enrichment can be just as important. Enrichment helps students solidify the concepts that they learned in class. It also helps them get ahead of their classmates so they are more prepared for the next step.

 

Tutors will always go over any of the current homework the student has by going through problems that they have not solved with them and checking the student’s work on problems they have already finished. Reviewing the material makes sure that the student has a full grasp on the concepts that they are expected to know in class. Next, they try more difficult problems that take their concepts to the next level. Doing more challenging practice problems boosts student’s confidence and makes the problems they have been doing in class seem like a piece of cake.

 

Many students also work ahead with their tutors. This is especially helpful for student’s whose learning styles do not mesh with the teaching style of their teacher at school. They will go through the lesson and do example problems as well as a few practice problems. Learning the content before the material is presented in class gives students the confidence they need to participate in class discussions without being afraid of getting a wrong answer. It also makes sure that the student has someone one-on-one guiding them to make sure that they completely understand the key concepts they need to succeed.

Creating a Productive Workspace

January 26th, 2015

The beginning of a new semester is the perfect time to change any poor study habits that you slipped into last semester. A few minor changes can make all your study sessions more efficient, so you can spend less time studying and more time on other things. One of the key factors to making sure that you stay focused on your work is having a great environment.

 

You should start with a space that is free from distractions. This can mean different things for different people. It could be a room at home that is quiet, a library, or a coffee shop. If you cannot keep focused on work when you are working with your friends, then going with them to the library is not a good fit. Keep your space clear from anything that you do not need to complete your work like magazines, your cell phone, or anything that you could zone out and play around with.

 

You should also make sure that your workspace has everything you need to get the job done. Extra pencils, a calculator, and plenty of scratch paper are great things to keep around. If you have a home set of textbooks that you do not bring to school you should keep them at your workspace as well. Make sure that you have enough light to do your work. If you work somewhere too dim, you will get sleepy. Alternatively, if your light is way too bright you will quickly get a headache.

Binder Organization

December 29th, 2014

Keeping your binders or binders organized is important for a few reasons. You will know where everything is, which means: no missing assignments that you totally did, no missing notes to search for while you are studying for a test, and everything no shuffling through every paper trying to find a worksheet from class. You will spend less time trying to find things. An organized binder will also keep you from getting stressed out or frustrated because you will always have your things and be able to find them. Luckily, keeping your binder organized is super easy to do.

 

First, be diligent about keeping up your binder. If you let it pile up until there are papers falling out everywhere and all the pockets are tearing, you are not really keeping your binder organized.

 

Use dividers to separate different classes and sections. Some students like to separate notes and homework, while others like to just divide it by classes. Do whichever way works best for you.

 

If you do not have time to put a worksheet or handout in its proper place when you get it in class, put it in a front pocket. Then every day when you get home, put all your pocket papers in the right place before you get started on your homework. It will only take a few seconds but it will make a world of difference.

 

With your organized binder, you will find that you have fewer missing assignments in class, better access to your notes, and overall a better grade!