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Too many high school students wait until well into the school year to get themselves organized to achieve to their best academic potential. It helps when the teacher is proactive and gives students tools to get the new year off to a strong start.
Ask Students to Identify Goals
Ask students to write one paragraph about their long-term career goal. If they are unsure about their career goal they may write paragraphs about several different job choices. Then ask students to make a list of ten things they will do this school year to start to prepare for their future career.
Ask student volunteers to share their lists with the class. Give feedback and remind students that each year in high school is crucial to building a strong overall G.P.A. required for college admissions and jobs.
Having students write down their goals and the specific steps they should undertake during the year to start to achieve their goals helps get them focused and goal oriented. Students who have written down their goals tend to take those goals more seriously.
Give Students an Outline of the Work to Be Covered in the Semester
Help students gain control of their time by giving them an outline for the semester’s work. List all due dates for major assignments and tests on the outline. Give students a chance to plan ahead to ensure that they get all work done by the due dates. Students like structure and they like to know when they will be busy with major work or study for a certain class. An outline of the semester helps students (and the teacher too!) stay focused and on track.
Provide Tips for Note Taking
Give students information about how to take notes effectively. Tell them to make copying any information on the black board into their notebooks a priority when entering the classroom. Tell them to be prepared to start taking notes as soon as a class begins. Ask them to add information about any key topics discussed in their notes and to write down any key facts mentioned by the teacher.
It is crucial to be proactive in taking notes. If class is in session, students must always have a notebook open and be ready to write down important facts. Remind students that if a fact has been on the blackboard or discussed in class it is fair game to appear on a test.
Discuss "Multi-tasking" and "Strategies for Success"
As students proceed through high school one of the skills they must build is that of multi-tasking. As class work gets more complex and requires more homework time, students must learn to juggle multiple assignments and stay on top of a variety of assignment due dates.
Teach students to keep a calendar or notebook listing all due dates for assignments. Also tell them to break down large assignments into manageable chunks by working on them each night rather than waiting until right before the due date and then panicking.
Also, talk to students about approaching school work with a positive attitude. Ignore negative thoughts and focus on achievements they have made and goals they hae met. Give tips about how athletes use visualization and positive thinking to picture themselves doing well and then using that positive energy to focus on the task ahead and excel.
Here's a great resource I would recommend to hand out to your students:
20 Ideas to Help Students Get Organized: http://www.getorganizednow.com/art-students.html