Study skills are essential for students to achieve academic success, but incorporating these foundational skills into jam-packed school days can be challenging. Here are four ideas for weaving study skills into daily instruction:
Open a dialogue around goal-setting and prioritizing.
The beginning of the school year provides a great opportunity to open a dialogue with your students and ask them how they prioritize their activities. Most students have family activities, sports or extracurricular activities, schoolwork, and downtime scheduled into their day. How do they decide what is most important? For instance, what happens if soccer practice and a family dinner at grandma’s occur the night before a math or reading test? What are their thoughts as to how they can juggle school and activities without becoming overwhelmed and stressed?
Establishing organizational skills early on is critical to study success. Many schools provide planners for their students which include space for jotting down homework assignments and keeping track of important papers. Some planners even include space for daily and weekly goal setting. If your school provides students with planners, model for students how to make the most of their planners, and reinforce its use throughout the school year. Establish a class organization goal for the week or month and then discuss how everyone can contribute to achieve this goal. Track progress toward this goal and celebrate successes.
Explore different study environments.
It often takes time , and trial and error, for students to understand the ways that work best for them to study and concentrate. For example, some students may focus better when there is background noise, while others may find they need complete silence. Before the first test of the year, talk with your students about where they study and what their biggest distractions are. Consider using Wisewire’s Ultimate Study Plan Checklist with your elementary or middle school classes.
Encourage time tracking for time management.
Learning how to manage time during the elementary school years will serve children well as they progress through school and eventually into the workplace. Help students manage their time by encouraging them to keep track of it. For example, for one week, suggest students keep track of how long they spend eating breakfast, getting ready for school, playing video games, playing outside with friends, and/or doing homework. This is often an eye-opening exercise and gives students insight into how much time certain activities take, which activities take less time than others, and which need more time allotted to them in order to achieve a healthy balance. This activity can also be incorporated before the first test when discussing study environments. Try Wisewire’s free Learning Time Management printable resource to foster discussion.
Whether your students are in elementary school or middle school, incorporating these foundational skills into class time and reinforcing them throughout the school year will ensure they are equipped for academic success now and in the years to come.
Have other suggestions for fostering study skills? Let us know in the comments!