HELPING 9TH GRADERS SURVIVE ACADEMICALLY
Ninth graders need to plan. They have to realize that they are able to work on their own; they can fit their work into a flexible timetable; and that they are willing to stick to the timetable.
The 1st step of planning is determining one’s strengths and weaknesses so that the plan will meet their needs.
When it comes to studying in High School, students will be expected to think for themselves almost all the time - teachers will help them develop that skill, but high school education focuses on taking control of their own learning much more than middle school learning does. In order for students to “take control of learning” it is wise to first reflect on whether or not up to this point in their academic careers they were effective learners.
Once a student determines where he may have fallen short, he can begin to work on those areas of weakness and improve his chances of success. Determining whether or not a student is an effective learner involves asking some tough questions…such as
If you are having problems with a subject,
- Do you talk it over with your teacher as soon as you can?
- Do you do complete your homework or assignment in advance of its deadline?
- Do you have a place at home where you can study without being distracted?
Careful planning often uncovers huge amounts of free time! Giving students the opportunity to push forward academically or enjoy time to develop friendships or other interests.
Planning in high school means juggling many more responsibilities than middle school. You will encounter different teachers who work in content departments rather than grade level teams, different teaching styles, and different expectations.
Planning well breeds independence, it will foster a sense of responsibility, and it will improve the quality of work. As you know, grades really do count in high school. Every day in every way 9th grade students begin to feel the real pressures to succeed academically.
Pay careful attention at Open House to classroom observations, listen to teachers in every class regarding homework assignments, tests and project…and help your child keep an organized assignment pad.
One key to academic success is the ability to plan, organize early and set priorities. A priority in high school should be to maintain organized class materials.
If students organize their notebooks, binders, folders and planners, they can avoid the ”snowball effect” The dreaded “snowball effect” is when a student falls behind in one subject and as the weeks pass more and more areas become problems.
Planning and Organization also involves organizing study strategies and space. Students should ask themselves the following questions for study success:
- Do you need silence or some background noise?
- Do you study best when sitting or lying down?
- Do you prefer the room light or direct light from a table-lamp?
Once a student has decided upon his needs, he should claim his territory and organize his space for study. Parents can really help their sons or daughters with this important requirement for academic success.
Students can be independent learners with a little guidance at the same time.
Planning also involves maintaining good class notes and other materials to study. Students should take notes in outline form, leaving space for reflections and comments.
They should copy down the main ideas as presented by the teacher…and if a teacher writes something on the smart board or whiteboard…that information should definitely be written down in the notebook. Handouts and other study materials should be organized by subject and then even by unit, for quick and easy reference. So remind your children that planning facilitates academic success.