How We Learn
I read everything aloud from the textbooks to my students. This allows them to hear it and follow along. If they are given a worksheet after the reading they are allowed to use the book to locate the already read material.
For every test and quiz requiring memorization, students worksheets and notes are the study guides. Students have at least three days to study before the test. The study guide may be flash cards, worksheets, flip books, etc. The test is announced and written in the planner. Students in my math class prepare for tests by doing actual problems and submitting them for my review the night before a test.
Open Book Tests
Open book tests are given frequently. Virginia Studies Weekly Newspaper assessments are always open book. This serves three purposes;
1. students independently review material that was previously read, discussed and reviewed with a variety of activities.
2. students learn how to use a book as reference material. Students are taught how to use this strategy in the beginning of the year, using what I call the "prove it" strategy. They must prove their answer by citing where they read it in the text. It continues throughout the year.
3. seeing the material and having to retrieve it by themselves makes a minimum of three exposures to that information. This enables the students to better remember the content. Open book tests are not necessarily announced in advance, because there is nothing to study, and are timed so the students have already had multiple exposures to the text.
Studying and Memorization Tests
I frequently provide class time for students to study. During this time I allow them to work in pairs or small groups to enable them to learn how to study with another person, which is a useful strategy before learning to study independently.
Planners should go back and forth with each student. It is needed every day. On Monday, students complete their planner for the week, including scheduled tests and quizzes. Teachers sign planners at the end of each day to ensure completion and accuracy.
Reading instruction occurs daily, across all subject areas using both fiction and expository text. Levelled reading groups, individualized instruction and shared reading fill the day across the curriculum. I integrate Reading and Writing into Social Studies to strengthen student skills throughout the day.