Students should now have an exam calendar stapled to the inside front cover of their assignment books. The links above are for parents' convenience should said stapled calenders disappear.
Students went through the exam during their study hall periods over the past few days. They are instructed to clean out their lockers and take home all textbooks and notebooks over the break.
Students were told to do the following:
- Organize notebooks (easy to say, requires adult observation for maximum efficiency)
- Correct quizzes and make note cards from quiz questions (We call this "studying.")
- Make a list of notes needed to get from a friend in the case of absence
- Make a list of questions to address with teachers
- Identify particular areas of struggle anytime during the semester. Go back and relearn that material because it will be on the exam.
Pretty straight-up stuff.
Students also filled in their exam calendars with what subjects they will study each day. Please encourage boys to avoid their tendency toward Destructive Optimism. Woe be unto those who "feel good about it" when considering their preparation. Borrowing from a pop culture iconic movie moment, we often say, "Show me the study."
Consider telling the boys that studying is manual labor, and there is always a visible product at the end of manual labor. For example, if a hole is to be dug, the correct tool (shovel) and the end result (hole) are there for all to see. Huffing and puffing and pushing soil around is not enough. No hole, no completed task.
Same with studying. "Show me the written evidence of your studying," should be said by each parent to these guys. Organized stacks of books and sharpened pencils alone won't cut it. More, osmosis is no winning study strategery just as it is no way to dig a hole. Wishful thinking, hope, best intentions... these things spring eternal with our boys. Thus, we offer the warning for parents to help the boys avoid Destructive Optimism...good feelings about the state of reality with no evidence to show for it, thereby producing dismal results.
Locker clean-out, exam prep, seventh grade hallway
Big idea: We stressed the importance of studying a little every day, with daily written evidence, rather than cramming in the end. Students typically underestimate the amount of time they need to study for exams (Destructive Optimism), so more time broken down on the task (linked documents above) is the prescribed formula as long as the environment (exam war room) is conducive for incremental, focused, and productive study sessions. All that should accumulate into strong retention and recall come December 15-19.
In other words, exams grades (25% of the semester grade) should be an improvement over the first two quarters' grades given this concentrated focus with review material.
Encourage the boys to aim high this exam season and support the lofty expectations with physical evidence of their hard work. We got that idea from Henry David Thoreau.