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Bo Adams

Students' pocket park concept to be installed in Chamblee Whole Foods development | The Brookhaven Post | Brookhaven, GA - 0 views

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    ""It was really powerful to be in a position where I was seen as more than a student. I don't get that feeling when I am presenting to my teacher, but I definitely felt that when we presented to Mr. Garrison because the stakes were so much higher," adds Sophomore Maxine Peterson."
Bo Adams

The Past, Present and Future of School Design | EdSurge News - 0 views

  • untapped opportunities involve further personalization of the curriculum, teaching, and assessment.
  • Schools will no longer be just free-standing buildings but will be more integrated into community life.
  • Segregating students by age will become less prevalent within learning spaces.
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    Tweet from @akytle: @jbrettjacobsen @boadams1 Here's part 2 #mvdesign The Past, Present and Future of School Design https://t.co/TQe1qbMklL #edtech via @EdSurge HT @akytle
Jim Tiffin Jr

So You Want to Be a Better Presenter and Pitcher? The Power of the Education 'Ignite Talk' | EdSurge News - 1 views

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    Excellent little article on Ignite Sessions. It explains what they are, shares some examples, and talks about how to adapt them for schools and students. HT @ransomtech
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    Excellent little article on Ignite Sessions. It explains what they are, shares some examples, and talks about how to adapt them for schools and students. HT @ransomtech
Jim Tiffin Jr

How to Prepare for an Automated Future - NYTimes.com - 1 views

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    Article outlining the predictions experts have made about how education can best prepare students for a world with a greater degree of automation present in the workforce. Identifies the key skills and traits that schools need to help students develop.
Bo Adams

Why We Should Flip Education Conferences | Edudemic - 0 views

  • Flipped conferences could keep more of the traditional model than unconferences do. You could ask educational influencers with something important to teach the conference audience to speak. But instead of doing their teaching and presenting at the conference itself, they can work out an assignment for the attendees to complete in advance – a slide share, video of a speech, or a collection of reading materials – and then spend the actual conference time discussing, or workshopping, the ideas from the assignment.
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    HT @jimtiffinjr
Bo Adams

An Open Letter to Educators From TrueSchool Studio - The Teachers Guild - Medium - 0 views

  • We support educators in this process to go from idea to impact, but we do not prescribe the solution — you are the source of ideas and leadership for transformative solutions.
  • We believe the best ideas for the present and future of education will come from educators
  • No policymaker or president is as powerful as a teacher when it comes to shaping the student experience.
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  • No policymaker or president is as powerful as a teacher when it comes to shaping the student experience.
  • With your unique knowledge of student needs and school challenges, you have the potential to create powerful new solutions and lead change.
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    HT @TeachersGuild
Jim Tiffin Jr

Let 'Em Out! The Many Benefits of Outdoor Play In Kindergarten | MindShift | KQED News - 0 views

  • With no explicit math or literacy taught until first grade, the Swiss have no set goals for kindergartners beyond a few measurements, like using scissors and writing one’s own name. They instead have chosen to focus on the social interaction and emotional well-being found in free play.
  • With many parents and educators overwhelmed by the amount of academics required for kindergartners — and the testing requirements at that age  — it’s no surprise that the forest kindergarten, and the passion for bringing more free play to young children during the school day, is catching on stateside.
  • “So much of what is going on and the kind of play they do, symbolic play, is really pre-reading,” Molomot said. “It’s a very important foundation for reading.
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  • Donnery notices that the gross motor skills of many of her kindergartners are underdeveloped, noting that usually means that fine motor skills are also lacking. “Developing those gross motor skills is just critical, can impact so much of later learning,” she said.
  • Scenes of rosy-faced children building forts in the snow are presented in sharp contrast to the academic (and mostly indoor) kindergarten in New Haven, Connecticut, where a normal day is packed full of orderly activities: morning meeting, readers’ workshop, writers’ workshop, a special activity (like art, gym, and music), lunch and recess, storytime, “choice” (a fancy word for play), math centers, then closing meeting.
    • Jim Tiffin Jr
       
      I would like to see this movie.
  • You’d be surprised at the importance of play.
  • lacking in the attention needed to learn, with more than 10 percent of the school population diagnosed with some kind of attention disorder.
  • occupational therapist Angela Hanscom opined in the Washington Post that there’s good reason our kids are so fidgety: more and more students come to class without having enough core strength and balance to hold their bodies still long enough to learn.
  • “In order for children to learn, they need to be able to pay attention. In order to pay attention, we need to let them move.”
    • Jim Tiffin Jr
       
      But this has to be more than just a wiggle stool or yoga ball... HMW get greater movement into Kindergarten? (and it need not just be in the Kindergarten classroom)
  • A recent study by psychologists at the University of Colorado shows an even stronger reason for free play: children who experienced more undirected free play showed signs of stronger executive function, a strong predictor of success in school. “The more time that children spent in less-structured activities,” wrote researchers, “the better their self-directed executive functioning.”
  • Reading and recess are important enough that we need to do both.
  • While this kind of adult-led movement is a far cry from the nearly unstructured free play of a forest kindergarten, it does serve the school’s purpose of high academic standards for their kindergartners, in hopes this prepares them for future academic success.
    • Jim Tiffin Jr
       
      Note that it says "hope"...
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    Article contrasting two different approaches to Kindergarten - one outdoor-based and one indoor-based. Full of links to the research regarding the claims made in the article. Additionally, more language around executive function, and its importance for students, is used.
Meghan Cureton

How Do You Teach to the Standards When Doing Project-Based Learning? - 4 views

  • People often debate about whether we should be process-driven or product-driven in project-based learning. But I think there’s a third option. We can be learning-driven. In other words, we should start with the question, “What do we want students to learn?” and let that drive the process and the product.
  • PBL is not a license to ditch the standards or take a break from real learning.
  • #1: Inquiry-DrivenInquiry-driven PBL begins with a state of curiosity and wonder. It might be as simple as the sentence stem “I wonder why _________” or “I wonder how _________.” Students then have the opportunity to research, ideate, and create.
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  • #4: Problem-DrivenProblem-driven PBL begins with a specific problem or challenge that students must solve. An example is our maker challenges that present a specific scenario that leads students into research, problem-solving, ideation, and a final product that solves the initial challenge.
  • #3: Product-DrivenPBL experts often say, “Students should focus on the process and not the product.” But there’s also a time and a place for projects that challenge students to focus on developing a quality product. In these projects, the product has tighter parameters but the process is more flexible.
  • #2: Interest-DrivenAnother approach is the interest-driven PBL process.
  • #5: Empathy-Driven (Design Thinking)Empathy-driven PBL can have elements of the previous four PBL approaches.
Meghan Cureton

The Case Against Grades (##) - Alfie Kohn - 2 views

  • Collecting information doesn’t require tests, and sharing that information doesn’t require grades.  In fact, students would be a lot better off without either of these relics from a less enlightened age.
  • As I’ve reported elsewhere (Kohn, 1999a, 1999b, 1999c), when students from elementary school to college who are led to focus on grades are compared with those who aren’t, the results support three robust conclusions:
  • Grades tend to diminish students’ interest in whatever they’re learning.
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  • Grades create a preference for the easiest possible task.
  • Grades tend to reduce the quality of students’ thinking. 
  • For example, a grade-oriented environment is associated with increased levels of cheating (Anderman and Murdock, 2007), grades (whether or not accompanied by comments) promote a fear of failure even in high-achieving students (Pulfrey et al., 2011), and the elimination of grades (in favor of a pass/fail system) produces substantial benefits with no apparent disadvantages in medical school (White and Fantone, 2010).
  • Extrinsic motivation, which includes a desire to get better grades, is not only different from, but often undermines, intrinsic motivation, a desire to learn for its own sake (Kohn 1999a). 
  • Achievement:  Two educational psychologists pointed out that “an overemphasis on assessment can actually undermine the pursuit of excellence” (Maehr and Midgley, 1996, p. 7). 
  • There is certainly value in assessing the quality of learning and teaching, but that doesn’t mean it’s always necessary, or even possible, to measure those things — that is, to turn them into numbers.  Indeed, “measurable outcomes may be the least significant results of learning” (McNeil, 1986, p. xviii)
  • Once we’re compelled to focus only on what can be reduced to numbers, such as how many grammatical errors are present in a composition or how many mathematical algorithms have been committed to memory, thinking has been severely compromised.  And that is exactly what happens when we try to fit learning into a four- or five- or (heaven help us) 100-point scale.
  • Portfolios, for example, can be constructive if they replace grades rather than being used to yield them.  They offer a way to thoughtfully gather a variety of meaningful examples of learning for the students to review.  But what’s the point, “if instruction is dominated by worksheets so that every portfolio looks the same”? (Neill et al. 1995, p. 4).
  • It’s not enough to replace letters or numbers with labels (“exceeds expectations,” “meets expectations,” and so on).  If you’re sorting students into four or five piles, you’re still grading them.  Rubrics typically include numbers as well as labels, which is only one of several reasons they merit our skepticism (Wilson, 2006; Kohn, 2006).
  • It’s not enough to disseminate grades more efficiently — for example, by posting them on-line.  There is a growing technology, as the late Gerald Bracey once remarked, “that permits us to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn’t be doing at all” (quoted in Mathews, 2006).  In fact, posting grades on-line is a significant step backward because it enhances the salience of those grades and therefore their destructive effects on learning.
  • It’s not enough to add narrative reports.  “When comments and grades coexist, the comments are written to justify the grade” (Wilson, 2009, p. 60).  Teachers report that students, for their part, often just turn to the grade and ignore the comment, but “when there’s only a comment, they read it,”
  • It’s not enough to use “standards-based” grading.
  • Sometimes it’s only after grading has ended that we realize just how harmful it’s been.
  • To address one common fear, the graduates of grade-free high schools are indeed accepted by selective private colleges and large public universities — on the basis of narrative reports and detailed descriptions of the curriculum (as well as recommendations, essays, and interviews), which collectively offer a fuller picture of the applicant than does a grade-point average.  Moreover, these schools point out that their students are often more motivated and proficient learners, thus better prepared for college, than their counterparts at traditional schools who have been preoccupied with grades.
  • Even when administrators aren’t ready to abandon traditional report cards, individual teachers can help to rescue learning in their own classrooms with a two-pronged strategy to “neuter grades,” as one teacher described it.  First, they can stop putting letter or number grades on individual assignments and instead offer only qualitative feedback.
  • Second, although teachers may be required to submit a final grade, there’s no requirement for them to decide unilaterally what that grade will be.  Thus, students can be invited to participate in that process either as a negotiation (such that the teacher has the final say) or by simply permitting students to grade themselves.
  • Without grades, “I think my relationships with students are better,” Drier says.  “Their writing improves more quickly and the things they learn stay with them longer.
  • Drier’s final grades are based on students’ written self-assessments, which, in turn, are based on their review of items in their portfolios. 
  • A key element of authentic assessment for these and other teachers is the opportunity for students to help design the assessment and reflect on its purposes — individually and as a class. 
  • Grades don’t prepare children for the “real world” — unless one has in mind a world where interest in learning and quality of thinking are unimportant.  Nor are grades a necessary part of schooling, any more than paddling or taking extended dictation could be described that way.  Still, it takes courage to do right by kids in an era when the quantitative matters more than the qualitative, when meeting (someone else’s) standards counts for more than exploring ideas, and when anything “rigorous” is automatically assumed to be valuable.  We have to be willing to challenge the conventional wisdom, which in this case means asking not how to improve grades but how to jettison them once and for all.
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    HT @tedwards
Meghan Cureton

A More Complete Picture of Student Learning | Edutopia - 0 views

  • I’m really excited to see that educators are clear about the use of formative and summative assessment.
  • At the same time, by naming assessments, we may be falling into a trap of being too rigid.
  • Our current assessments are geared toward reporting on mastery—often what the grade measures—rather than learning. But we could create assessments that value the learning along the way. Such a system would record not just quizzes, tests, written work, and presentations, but also exit tickets, and even conversations between student and teacher.
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  • Instead of being rigid, we should be able to change the purpose and use of an assessment in order to meet the needs of our students.
  • It’s important to remember that assessments and their purpose can change.
  • student learning as a photo album or a body of evidence rather than as one or the other of two things, either formative or summative.
  • Assessment should be more like a photo album, capturing many moments of learning.
  • A photo album is celebratory and powerful, and assessment should be the same.
  • As the teachers I work with plan units, I encourage them to not be tied down to rigid structures of assessment.
  • Consider the idea of a body of evidence. When we focus on a body of evidence, we don’t have to limit ourselves to a set number of assessments.
  • So students might have different numbers of assessments.
  • Here are some questions to reflect upon as we consider this approach to assessment:How can students generate their own assessment tasks? Where can I be flexible in using assessments to report on student learning? Can I use a variety of types of assessment to create an album of student learning? Can I rely on a body of evidence rather than a set number of assessments? How can I report on the most current data of my students? How should I communicate this approach to parents and students?
Bo Adams

Why Students Should Take the Lead in Parent-Teacher Conferences | MindShift | KQED News - 1 views

  • at schools built on Deeper Learning principles, the meetings are often turned into student-led conferences, with students presenting their schoolwork, while their teachers, having helped them prepare, sit across the table, or even off to the side
  • students are responsible for their own success.
  • this is the student’s moment to share his or her reflections on achievements and challenges
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  • encourages students to reflect on the connection between the effort they have made and the quality of their work
  • asks them to choose three examples that help them tell their parents a deeper story: one that shows they have recognized both a personal strength and an area in which they are struggling
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    HT Emily Trenney
Bo Adams

What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team - The New York Times - 1 views

  • many of today’s most valuable firms have come to realize that analyzing and improving individual workers ­— a practice known as ‘‘employee performance optimization’’ — isn’t enough. As commerce becomes increasingly global and complex, the bulk of modern work is more and more team-based.
  • teams are now the fundamental unit of organization.
  • influence not only how people work but also how they work together.
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  • Google’s People Operations department
  • there was nothing showing that a mix of specific personality types or skills or backgrounds made any difference. The ‘who’ part of the equation didn’t seem to matter.’’
  • At Google, we’re good at finding patterns,’’
  • As they struggled to figure out what made a team successful, Rozovsky and her colleagues kept coming across research by psychologists and sociologists that focused on what are known as ‘‘group norms.’’
  • Norms are the traditions, behavioral standards and unwritten rules that govern how we function when we gather
  • Norms can be unspoken or openly acknowledged, but their influence is often profound.
  • looked for instances when team members described a particular behavior as an ‘‘unwritten rule’’ or when they explained certain things as part of the ‘‘team’s culture.’’
  • After looking at over a hundred groups for more than a year, Project Aristotle researchers concluded that understanding and influencing group norms were the keys to improving Google’s teams.
  • The researchers eventually concluded that what distinguished the ‘‘good’’ teams from the dysfunctional groups was how teammates treated one another. The right norms, in other words, could raise a group’s collective intelligence, whereas the wrong norms could hobble a team, even if, individually, all the members were exceptionally bright.
  • As the researchers studied the groups, however, they noticed two behaviors that all the good teams generally shared. First, on the good teams, members spoke in roughly the same proportion, a phenomenon the researchers referred to as ‘‘equality in distribution of conversational turn-taking.’’
  • Second, the good teams all had high ‘‘average social sensitivity’’ — a fancy way of saying they were skilled at intuiting how others felt based on their tone of voice, their expressions and other nonverbal cues.
  • psychological safety — a group culture that the Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson defines as a ‘‘shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking.’’
  • Psychological safety is ‘‘a sense of confidence that the team will not embarrass, reject or punish someone for speaking up,’’
  • ‘‘It describes a team climate characterized by interpersonal trust and mutual respect in which people are comfortable being themselves.’’
  • Rozovsky’s study group at Yale was draining because the norms — the fights over leadership, the tendency to critique — put her on guard. Whereas the norms of her case-competition team — enthusiasm for one another’s ideas, joking around and having fun — allowed everyone to feel relaxed and energized.
  • other behaviors that seemed important as well — like making sure teams had clear goals and creating a culture of dependability.
  • it made sense that psychological safety and emotional conversations were related.
  • The behaviors that create psychological safety — conversational turn-taking and empathy — are part of the same unwritten rules we often turn to, as individuals, when we need to establish a bond.
  • If I can’t be open and honest at work, then I’m not really living, am I?’’
  • to be fully present at work, to feel ‘‘psychologically safe,’’ we must know that we can be free enough, sometimes, to share the things that scare us without fear of recriminations. We must be able to talk about what is messy or sad, to have hard conversations with colleagues who are driving us crazy. We can’t be focused just on efficiency.
  • By adopting the data-driven approach of Silicon Valley, Project Aristotle has encouraged emotional conversations and discussions of norms among people who might otherwise be uncomfortable talking about how they feel.
  • In the best teams, members listen to one another and show sensitivity to feelings and needs.
  • ‘Just having data that proves to people that these things are worth paying attention to sometimes is the most important step in getting them to actually pay attention,’’ Rozovsky told me. ‘‘Don’t underestimate the power of giving people a common platform and operating language.’’
Nicole Martin

The Physics of Change - Education Reimagined - Education Reimagined - 0 views

  • institutional inertia seems relatively simple: institutions, organizations, and people tend to remain at rest (i.e. satisfied with the status quo) or in uniform motion (i.e. slightly tweaking the status quo over time), unless that state is changed by an external force (i.e. transformation).
  • “Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving with Grace,”
    • Nicole Martin
       
      Great book- recommended by Shayna years ago as well.
  • the gravitational pull of the status quo is so incredibly strong, that escaping it can be a monumental task.
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  • Do you know teachers who claim to be doing PBL but are really doing the same teacher-centered instruction they always have, only with a project (think trifold) thrown in at the end of the year?
  • we fail to notice the ways of thinking and norms that structure the world in which we operate. As a result, we then cannot see the cultural and structural shift needed for these innovative ideas to reach their true potential.
  • the data presented showing that less than 1% of U.S. schools were actually operating in the learner-centered paradigm left me even more convinced that inertia is still winning and the only way to make any realistic change is by being much, much smarter in our approach to positive disruption.
  • earner agency; socially embedded; personalized, relevant, and contextualized; open-walled; and competency-based.
  • three change levers 1) increasing public will, 2) refining public policy, and 3) building proofs of concept—can be a powerful tool to help grow the 1% of learner-centered environments to a potential tipping point, where learner-centered environments are the prevailing approach to education in this country.
  • When more education stakeholders are able to see how learner-centered environments are having positive impacts on children, they are better able to build on this success in their own local context.
Bo Adams

The 10 Biggest Breakthroughs in the Science of Learning | Brainscape Blog - 3 views

  • The brain is equipped to tackle a pretty hefty load of information and sensory input, but there is a point at which the brain becomes overwhelmed, an effect scientists call cognitive overload. While our brains do appreciate new and novel information (as we’ll discuss later), when there is too much of it we become overwhelmed. Our minds simply can’t divide our attention between all the different elements.
  • the brain’s wiring can change at any age and it can grow new neurons and adapt to new situations — though the rate at which this happens does slow with age. This phenomenon is called neuroplasticity, and it has had major ramifications in our understanding of how the brain works and how we can use that understanding to improve learning outcomes.
  • The ability to learn, retain, and use information isn’t just based on our raw IQ. Over the past few decades it has become increasingly clear that how we feel — our overall emotional state — can have a major impact on how well we can learn new things.
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  • Research is revealing why, as the emotional part of the brain, the limbic system has the ability to open up or shut off access to learning and memory. When under stress or anxiety, the brain blocks access to higher processing and stops forming new connections, making it difficult or impossible to learn.
  • research shows that failure is essential.
  • Information in the brain that isn’t used is often lost, as neural pathways weaken over time.
  • Researchers have found that novelty causes the dopamine system in the brain to become activated, sending the chemical throughout the brain.
  • Neuroscience research suggests that the best way to learn something new isn’t to focus on mistakes, but instead to concentrate on how to do a task correctly. Focusing on the error only reinforces the existing incorrect neural pathway, and will increase the chance that the mistake will be made again. A new pathway has to be built, which means abandoning the old one and letting go of that mistake.
  • cater to the emotional and social needs of students and improves their ability to learn, is more important than styles
  • Students may have preferences for how they learn, but when put to the test, students were found to have equivalent levels of learning regardless of how information is presented.
  • students who don’t get intellectual stimulation over the summer are much more likely to forget important skills in reading and math when they return to class.
  • Peer collaboration offers students access to a diverse array of experiences and requires the use of nearly all the body’s senses, which in turn creates greater activation throughout the brain and enhances long-term memory. Group work, especially when it capitalizes on the strengths of its members, may be more beneficial than many realize.
  • Aside from being able to see and hear patterns, the human mind has a number of innate abilities (the ability to learn a language, for instance) that when capitalized on in the right way, can help make learning any concept, even one that is abstract, much easier. Combining these innate abilities with structured practice, repetition, and training can help make new ideas and concepts “stick” and make more sense.
  • Learning can change brain structure.
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    HT @MeghanCureton
Meghan Cureton

Are You a Curator or a Dumper? | Cult of Pedagogy - 2 views

  • whatever you do, chances are you have information to share with other people, and developing your curation skills—both in terms of how much you offer and how you deliver it—is going make that sharing a lot more effective.
  • When we dump a lot of information on a person at once, we are working against their brain. Cognitive load theory suggests that the brain can only take in so much at once. When we’re presented with a whole bunch of information, our brains have to ignore some in order to process the rest. Eventually, if too much keeps coming at us, we reach the point of cognitive overload, where we get more than we can handle. At that point, a lot of people just shut down, and even simple information can’t get in.
  • But the rest of us would do better off with the help of curators. That’s what a good museum does for us: It takes piles and piles of artifacts and selects only a few to represent an idea, a moment, an event, or a phenomenon.
Nicole Martin

Before You Study, Ask for Help - WSJ - 0 views

  • planning ahead, quizzing themselves on the material and actively seeking out help when they don’t understand it.
  • pick out the main points in their notes
  • I was teaching her while simultaneously teaching myself” the material—a study technique that enabled her to ace the test.
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  • High-achieving students take charge of their own learning and ask for help when they’re stuck,
  • sought out extra study aids
  • asked instructors for help during office hours
  • self-regulated learning: the capacity to track how well you’re doing in your classes and hold yourself accountable for reaching goals.
  • Top students spend more time in retrieval practice, he says—quizzing themselves or each other, which forces them to recall facts and concepts just as they must do on tests. This leads to deeper learning, often in a shorter amount of time, a pattern researchers call the testing effect.
    • Nicole Martin
       
      Students who struggle with retrieval need even more specific guidance than this.
  • Students who formed study groups and quizzed each other weekly on material presented in class
  • Studying in general tends to be more productive when it’s done in short segments of 45 minutes or so rather than over several hours,
  • doing practice problems repeatedly until he no longer needed his notes to solve them—a highly effective strategy.
  • Many teachers in middle and high school try to teach good study habits, but the lessons often don’t stick unless students are highly motivated to try them
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