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!

 

Algebra and Chemistry tutoring for RUHS

March 27th, 2014

I’ve been tutoring Kelsey from Redondo Union High School (http://www.redondounion.org/) for about three weeks now. After briefly talking about Kelsey’s day, we discuss how she thinks she did on her most recent quizzes or tests, what assignments she needs to work on in that moment in time, and how we can prepare for her upcoming quizzes or tests. Kelsey mainly comes into Study Hut to get tutoring for Chemistry and Algebra 2. My goal is to help Kelsey overcome her struggles in these two subjects by accommodating her with tutorials that will help her retain information efficiently, develop excellent study habits for any of her future assessments, as well as motivate her to be the best student she could be.

The first day I worked with her we completed her review packet for her upcoming Chemistry test. At the time, Kelsey was learning about specific heat capacity and how to find the missing variable, whether it was the amount of heat gained or lost, specific heat, or final or initial temperature. Kelsey came into Study Hut confused about the basics of this particular subtopic in Chemistry, so I went over the fundamentals by breaking down every significant piece of information she had to know.
The second day I worked with Kelsey, we reviewed for the Algebra 2 test she took last week. Kelsey was being tested on her knowledge of conics, including parabolas, hyberbolas, circles, and ellipses. Kelsey was confused about the difference between each of the conics, how to go about finding the different types of points for each type of graph, how to formulate an equation when given specific points on the graph, and lastly, how to graph each type of conic. I went over the details of each graph and provided her with simply strategies on how to memorize the specifics of each graph.

 

Technology

March 12th, 2014

Title: Put the Phone Down

 

We need to have a technology intervention.

 

It’s time for students to put their phones down and disconnect. (And to be clear- this includes tablets, phablets, iPads, smartwatches, Chromebooks, netbooks, web-enabled eyeglasses, and all the rest of the gadgets.) In an era where education and study habits have been transformed by some pretty remarkable online tools and toys, there are still good reasons to disconnect.

 

For instance, in study after study, researchers have determined that multitasking simply doesn’t work. Multitasking is an especially terrible practice when you need to focus and study. Think about it, it is pretty difficult to think through your essay on Beowulf if you are constantly interrupted with urgent texts, snapchats, tweets, and instagrams all clamoring for your attention. A recent study [1] on college students’ study habits revealed that 10 hours or so of smartphone use reduced their empathy skills or the ability to put oneself in other peoples’ shoes. They became so self-absorbed with their multitasking and devices that they were not able to meaningfully understand and connect with their friends. It seems like multitasking with distracting technology is not only is a bad way to study, but if you are not careful it can also make you a jerk.

 

So what should we do, abandon our phones altogether when studying? It has been estimated that 75% of Americans are within 5 feet of their smartphones every moment of everyday [2]. There is simply no escape and the phones and their distractions are here to stay. What we need is a way to use these tools responsibly and in way that helps rather than hurts learning. A modern student must be proficient with these tools but we need to strike a balance.

 

Food for thought: some of the best learning happens when you have the opportunity to thoughtfully reflect on what you’ve studied…just for a minute, put the phone away and go for a walk

Things to Keep in Mind for the New Semester

February 5th, 2013

Finals are Over!  Some Things to Keep in Mind for the New Semester!

We here at the Hut are proud of all of our students for conquering the recent wave of finals. It was a wild week for all of us, but we made it!

While all of you students have earned the right to relax a bit, we wanted to remind you of the academic opportunities a fresh semester brings about. Remember that time you had to scramble before a final exam to land that awesome grade you wanted? With your grades resetting, now is the perfect time to make your next finals a breeze. A clean slate means you can quickly grab and hang on to that ‘A’ you want. The work at the beginning of the semester is much easier than at the end. If you keep yourself diligent with homework and early assignments, you’ll have a much easier time come finals. Just think: wouldn’t it be nice to go into your math final knowing that the grade you get on it couldn’t drop you to a ‘B’ even if you lit it on fire?

The passing of finals also offers us the opportunity to assess the strengths and weaknesses we had the semester before. Even if you didn’t get that grade you wanted in that tough class, you’ll be able to learn from the experience. Now, you can adjust your study habits to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.

All of this is the perfect opportunity to make sure that you keep those stress levels low by the time finals pop back around. It’s about always learning, even from our shortcomings. As always, we’re here to help.

 

 

The new tutor experience

March 15th, 2011

I’ve only been a tutor at Study Hut for two weeks, but I am most impressed with my students who are well-organized. What does a well-organized student do? They fill out their agendas with all their homework and upcoming tests/quizzes. They fully take advantage of their planners. They bring in all their books and homework worksheets to the tutoring session (those that do not have the correct materials, just end up wasting time by having to call someone to bring the book or having the tutor waste time figuring what the student has to do). The well-organized students are able to get more from their tutoring session because they have a plan for what to do before they even show up to study hut. They know what classes they have homework in and are able to assess their weakest subjects so that we can spend the session working on that subject.

One of my most organized students is Tim, a junior, from Mira Costa High. Tim mainly comes for help in Geometry and Chemistry. While he may not know how to do the problems at first glance, after an explanation of the concept behind the problems, he is able to work out similar problems by himself. One of the main reasons why Tim is able to do this is because he writes down all his work on paper. I constantly stress to my students to show all their work because if they get the wrong answer, they can go back and pinpoint exactly where they made a mistake. This enables the student to make a mental note of the mistake they made and not make it again in the future. Tim also comes to each session with an attack plan on what to do during the session and he always knows whether he has an upcoming quiz or test.

In all, to stay ahead of the game that is school, one needs to be organized by making full use of the planner and to show all relevant work when doing homework!