Middle School Organization Tutoring

May 7th, 2018

Are you looking for middle school organization tutoring?  We can definitely help.  At the Study Hut we get an insider’s look at how students transition from elementary to middle school.  One general theme that has become second nature for us to address is organization with a little middle school organization tutoring.

Middle school organization tutoring

Kids get to middle school and have to adapt to having more teachers, assignments, and methods of learning.  A lot more is expected of them and sometimes there can be an unspoken assumption that students have all the tools to stay organized and on-task.  What we’ve noticed is that there is often a disconnect between the organizational skills they’ve acquired in elementary school compared to the level of organization required to be successful in middle school.

Middle schoolers have to work hard to adapt to all the changes that come with transitioning schools and increased expectations.  This transitional time is an excellent opportunity to get the help in the form of middle school organization tutoring.  On top of that, they are also expected to navigate a large variety of electronic and traditional methods and materials.  Some teachers have really embraced new technology and created a digital relationship with their students where notes, homework, supplemental learning tools, power points, quizlets and study guides are all available through apps like notability or e-backpack that kids access on tablets.  Other teachers may feel like they have a great system in place using old fashioned pencil & paper, the whiteboard, photocopies and a text book to teach their material.  In the midst of getting accustomed to their new learning environment, students are caught between two very different teaching styles.

This can result in confusion and missed assignments, especially if the student does not have a reliable way to stay organized.  And while there are many great tools and apps out there that lots of kids are quick to embrace, at the Study Hut we stress the importance of working with an old school spiral-bound planner.   We stand behind this method for many reasons.  Planners create a central focal point where kids can write down daily homework assignments and upcoming tests or quizzes.  We also teach students to use their planners for extracurriculars, sports, family events, vacations and other times commitments to help them learn the skill of time management.

In the case that the teacher uploads assignments to an app, making a “mental note” to check notability later simply does not have the same impact as creating a habit of writing down homework assignments in each subject’s designated space in a daily planner.  Even if the homework has not been uploaded by the time school gets out, we’d rather see a student take the time to jot down “check notability” in her planner than take our chances with the kid who leaves that box of his planner blank assuming he will remember to go on notability.

Research supports writing information down by hand after studies have shown that participants retain content better if they have written it down compared to typing it out.  So even if an assignment is written down on an app on a student’s tablet, that same student’s classmate who wrote down the assignment statistically has a better chance of remembering to do it.

After seeing many kids transition from feeling stressed and overwhelmed by school to gaining a sense of competence and self-reliance, it is not an exaggeration to give much of the credit to a functioning organization system.  And while it is important to remain open to the new ways that technology is being incorporated into education, a paper planner is still the best tool for a kid to use  while he or she is figuring out a system to stay organized in middle school.

New Semester Study Habits

February 10th, 2015

The start of a new semester is a great time to change any bad habits that were keeping you from earning the best grades you could last semester. Zoning out in class, not turning in homework, and not getting help until it was too late are all bad habits students fall in that keep them from getting amazing grades. Here are some helpful habits to start this semester that will keep you on top of your grades.

 

If you are in a class that is constantly giving you trouble, set up a regular weekly tutoring appointment. A tutor can make sure that you fully understand the concepts taught in class. This way, you will understand your homework and will never feel left behind when you are confused by new material. Many students avoid doing the work for a class when they do not get it, which only exacerbates the problem.   The added structure of learning outside of class will help you keep up with the work.

 

Make sure you take amazing notes this semester! Some students do well with Cornell style notes while other students remember information better with an outline style. Figure out which format works best for you. Make sure that all of your notes are legible. There is no point taking notes only to go back and not be able to read them!   While going back through your notes, write additional notes or highlight key terms and important concepts. Going over the material only while taking the notes is not enough for most students, so rereading them and marking them up will leave the concepts fresh in your mind.

 

Don’t forget to stay organized this semester!   You cannot do well in any class if you lose the notes and cannot find the assignments you need to be turning in.

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!

The Students Tutors Love

September 29th, 2014

It’s no question that education is a two way street. Teachers, parents and tutors are united in their efforts to bestow kernels of wisdom on the younger generation. Likewise, students soak up information like a sponge. But when one is out of sync with the other, it’s a situation where full learning can be lost in the wind. However, being a tutor of many years now, I can honestly say there are a few key qualities I’ve seen in students that make the flow of learning right as rain. Not to let educators off the hook (two way street, right?), but students can certainly learn from the following ideas on how to be a student tutors will love. 

ORGANIZATION
It seems like a cliche, but Office Depot and The Container Store are the keys to 50% of learning. As human beings, we naturally codify, order and pattern information into compartments in our brain for easy retrieval. That’s why highlighters and binders and all the other trinkets sold at these stores will help students learn and retain information. Tutors love it when their students show up organized and ready to learn and review. When students are organized, they’ve done half the work!
PARTICIPATION
As mentioned above, learning is a two way street, which means interaction, asking questions and providing feedback are key to a good study session. Studies show that repeating ideas out loud will help students understand and retain new information better than simply listening. That’s why questions are great! Activities such as games and exercises will also maintain participation.
GOOD ATTITUDE
Who doesn’t want to be in good company? This goes for both the teacher and student. A good attitude can go a long way in building trust, keeping focus, and developing a strong report. Furthermore, having a good attitude might even surprise the most unsuspecting student because a positive mood opens our minds to learning something new. What tutor doesn’t love for their student to learn something new?