Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Make a New Year’s Resolution You Can Keep

At some point in the school year, every student promises his/herself (or parents) that he/she will do better in school.

If getting better grades is one of your New Year’s resolutions, here are some tips on how to make that happen.

Organize Your Notebook(s): A leading cause of lower grades is lost papers. Fortunately, this is one of the easiest ones to fix. This January, clean out you notebook. Put old, graded, papers in a file or box. Don’t throw anything away until the end of the school year, but you don’t need to care it around every day. Put all notes in one section of your notebook. Put all papers that your teacher has given to you in a different section – if your teacher has taken the time to xerox something, it probably is worth keeping. Put all of your work in progress in a third section. I always recommend a different notebook for each core subject.

Read! Keep your brain sharp. Keep it from turning to mush with too much time on social media or playing video games. Read a book for fun or even a few magazines – anything that is not on a screen. Reading book for half of an hour a day in a quite place will lengthen your attention span, improve your vocabulary, and increase your retention when you have to read boring school books when school resumes.

Use a Homework Calendar: An electronic organizer, a pocket spiral notepad, a My Little Pony wall calendar, it does not matter. When you start the new year, have a place where you write down every assignment, paper, and test. I even suggest that you cross out each item as you complete it.

Communicate with your Teacher: Answer questions in class (even if you are wrong). Ask your teacher questions after class when you need a hand (try email if there is no time). Share an article you have seen that is related to a class topic. Teachers love when students are engaged, and they love to help. If a project or lesson is unclear, ask a question right away - it is easier and more effective than complaining about a low grade later.

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