Study Skills
It is my desire to teach students more than just science, to teach them skills and practices that will help them not only in the field of science but in whatever field they pursue.  It is my goal to turn these practices into habits that my students can take with them, making them more successful in future classes, on the job and at home.  

Here are some basic study skills to help you during the school year and into the future.

  • Pay attention in class.  Really pay attention.  This means more than just being awake!  :)  Really listen to what the teacher is saying and try to follow the explanation or discussion.  If you find that you have drifted off or zoned out try to refocus.  Trust me; school is much more interesting if you actually know what the teacher is talking about! 
  • Take good notes.  This means writing down more than just what the teacher writes on the board.  Listen to what she is saying and write down phrases or ideas that help you understand the topic.  Ask the teacher to repeat something if you didn't quite get it the first time.  Believe me, they won't mind repeating something - they will be happy to because it means you are really listening to what they are saying. 
  • Keep an organized notebook for each subject.  You know all of those assignments and quizzes you take before the test....  they are to help you learn the material and study for the test or exam.  If you keep them you can review them before the test.  Keep all materials in a 3 ring binder in order according to topic.  This way you can pull out all material over chapter 3 before the chapter 3 test.  Make sure you correct any incorrect answers so you can study the right answers. 
  • Know the purpose of each assignment.  Do not just blindly write down answers in an attempt to complete an assignment.  Do you understand the question?  Do you understand the answer or are you just copying it from your notes or book?  Or worse yet, a friend?  Make sure you understand the fact or concept with which the question or assignment is concerned.  Chances are the fact or concept will be part of a question on a test. 
  • Ask questions -in class, after class, before class, after school, before school, from home...  If a teacher is lecturing or you are working on an assignment in class and you get to a part that you don't understand it is your responsibility to ask.  I will happily re-explain something if you don't get it the first time... or the second... or even the third.  If you keep trying to understand it I will keep trying to find new ways to explain it or new examples to use in an effort to help you learn.  If you thought you understood it in class but then get home and are confused - that is o.k.  Call me, email me...  let me know you are struggling.  Maybe I can answer your question in an email.  If not I can address the topic again at the beginning of class the next day.  For my students; if you call and leave a message or send me an email about a homework problem and I do not get back to you before the assignment is due and you cannot finish it I will gladly give you an extension.  However, the voice mail or email must be sent before 7 a.m. the day the assignment is due. 
  • Review.  A lot.  Daily.  Do not just do Monday's homework and then not look at that material again until the next quiz or test.  Monday night study Monday's material.  Really learn it - ask questions Tuesday over any material that was confusing.  On Tuesday night review Monday's material - you should understand it by now but may not really know it by heart.  Also study Tuesday's new material.  Wednesday night review Monday's material (it should be becoming very familiar by now) and Tuesday's material and study Wednesday's material.  Keep reviewing material and studying new material every night until the test.  If you do this then you won't have to cram and you will actually learn the material.  When you have learned something you know it.  Really know it, not just understand it when somebody else talks about it.  If you really know something you could teach it to a friend or family member.  For most classes you should not spend more than 15 minutes reviewing and 15-45 minutes studying depending on how hard the subject is for you. 
  • Plan a time and a definite place for studying each day.  Make this a habit.  If you always study in the same place and even the same time it will become a habit and will get easier to get into the swing of things when you study each night.  Regardless of if you have homework that needs to be turned in the next day or not - you always have homework.  You should always be reviewing!  Experiment with different times of the day and different environments for studying.  Do you do better in a cozy room or do you need bright light?  Do you like snacks or do you want a clear table?  Is it better to sit down as soon as you get home from school or is early evening better?  All of these things can make you more or less successful at studying.  Nobody wants to waste an hour studying only to not remember the material and not have the grades to show for the time spent.  If you feel like you are spending a lot of time studying but your grades are not what you want them to be come see me!  I will help you find your study style!  I know it may be hard but turn off the cell phone - no texting, no taking calls....  You can check every 20 minutes but when you are studying you should not be multi-tasking.  Some students like listening to music - this is ok if the music is in the background - that means no ipods - no earplugs. 
  • Study for awhile but take short breaks.  Sitting still for 2 hours every night will drive you bonkers.  Every 20 minutes get up and walk around, stretch, drink some water...  BUT DON'T GET TOO DISTRACTED.  Remember to come back, refocus and get back to work.  :) 
  • Don't cram for the test the night before.  Start studying a little more in that subject area 3 nights before the test.  Instead of just spending 15 minutes reviewing; start testing yourself to see if you really know the material.  Flashcards work great. 
  • Above all believe in yourself.  You can learn this material.  You can really understand it.  You can do great in school and have grades that you can be proud of!  If you are stuck on any of these PLEASE COME SEE ME.  I will not judge, I will not assume you are not trying.  Maybe you are trying but not trying in a way that works for you.  I don't want you wasting your time studying.  I want you using your time efficiently and studying to get results.  I can and will help you with this.  You just have to ask....  
Seven Crosscutting Concepts
  • Patterns
  • Cause and effect:  Mechanism and explanation
  • Scale, proportion, and quantity
  • Systems an system models
  • Energy and Matter:  Flows, cycles, and conservation
  • Structure and Function
  • Stability and Change

Eight Scientific Practices

  • Asking questions
  • Developing and using models
  • Planning and carrying out investigations
  • Analyzing and interpreting data
  • Using mathematics and computational thinking
  • Construction explanations
  • Engaging in argument from evidence
  • Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information