What’s Happening in our Office & Upcoming Events
We’ve moved! We are still in the same building, but we are now located in Suite 260.
Parent Lunch and Learn - Gain Momentum
Join other parents for an informative lunch on November 9th in our offices. The discussion will explore our second quarter theme: Gaining Momentum. The primary focus will be on ways to help your students maintain enthusiasm as the school year progresses. We will explore monitoring techniques so you can determine the best way for your student to study, stay focused and be motivated. Reserve your spot now!
Study Skills Courses, Midterm Binder Prep and Study Groups:
Middle School & Upper School Study Skills Workshops - Join us for small group sessions to work on ways to stay organized, plan out the week, and practice new study methods.
Midterm Binders Prep Sessions: Get together with other students to complete your Midterm Exam binders. Learn how to reap the maximum benefit from the Midterm Binder by analyzing data from previous assessments. Use this time to add as much information in your Game Plan account as possible so your binder will be more effective. The data from your past tests and quizzes will help you decide the most effective strategies to utilize for your exams.
Study Groups: Remember that your students are welcome to join the class study groups to prepare for semester exams. Let us know if you have a special request for a study group, or if you would like to host a small group review in your home or in our office.
Sign up for these workshops here!
ISEE Prep for students of all levels:
Academic Independence offers ISEE tutoring in small groups and one-on-one. Help your student get in plenty practice with proctored exams. Each test includes a personalized exam report detailing the missed problems. The digital component offers extra problems and videos to continue making progress from home. Find out more at http://academicindependence.com/isee-test-prep/
SAT & ACT Tutoring:
Take full advantage of the Interim term with an intensive test prep class in January!
Our SAT/ACT test prep program is tailored to each student’s individual needs, even in a group setting. Our practice exams include comprehensive reports detailing areas of weakness.
Let us know how we can personalize a plan for your student. Find out more about our SAT/ACT programs, including private tutoring options, at http://academicindependence.com/sat-act/
What’s Hot Now
With midterm exams a little more than a month away, students are starting to feel the pressure of major assessments and end of semester projects. It is important to focus on ways to continue to make progress toward achieving class goals without becoming overwhelmed or discouraged, so Academic Independence is focusing on ways that we can help students gain momentum as they round out the Fall semester.
Starting around the Thanksgiving break, your students will receive an official Academic Independence Midterm binder to hold all pertinent documents and study guides. The purpose of this binder is to set up a plan for exams and projects, ensuring that ample time is allotted to each major assessment. Your tutor will help to guide your student to prioritize topics that need additional review as well as discuss effective methods for studying so much content in a small window of time.
Turning to ways in which we prepare for Midterms, so much emphasis is given to getting information into the brain, but little consideration is assigned to the practice of blindly recalling the information. This study technique, called retrieval practice, is often overlooked but is nonetheless highly effective at producing long-term learning. Retrieval practice focuses on the act of recalling information without cues, which is antithetical to the favorite study method employed by most students: rereading notes and textbooks (Karpicke, par. 9). Not only is the act of rereading distinct from retrieval practice, but it’s also the least effective study method when considering long-term retention of material. This fact has intrigued educational experts and has spurred research into the area of meaningful, long-term learning. Why do students tend to do the very thing that is the least effective? A familiarity with the material from multiple exposures via rereading tricks the brain into believing that the information learned; however, test grades do not reflect this mastery as the student lacks practice of manipulating and recalling the information. In order for an idea to be stored in long-term memory, the brain must process that idea at least 3 times. Rereading is not effective because it is superficial and leads to a false confidence that the idea has been mastered without making the brain work to retain it.
Retrieval is not widely considered to be a part of the learning process but rather simply a measure of knowledge; however, more research has been dedicated to ways in which retrieval techniques can help a student improve comprehension of complex ideas. For example, a study was conducted with two groups of students reading a passage in a textbook (Karpicke, par. 13). One group was instructed to read the passage and then write everything they could remember in notes or on a concept map without looking back at the passage. The second group was instructed to read the passage and take notes or make a concept map with the aid of the book. When given a short answer test a week later, the group of students that practiced using blind recall without the help of the book outperformed the students who relied on the textbook for help creating notes. This study, and many like it, push us to consider ways to incorporate retrieval practice into our academic routines in order to reap the lasting learning rewards. Read the article at https://www.apa.org/science/about/psa/2016/06/learning-memory.aspx
Karpicke, Jeffrey.(2016). A powerful way to improve learning and memory. American Psychological Association. www.apa.org/science/about/psa/2016/06/learning-memory.aspx
Tip of the Quarter: Use Distributed Practice
While it is tempting to study for long periods of time, research has shown that mini study sessions are more effective for learning. As such, try distributing your practice of material to improve retention of new concepts. Instead of a spending 30 minutes on one subject in an afternoon, it is more effective to break that time up into three, 10-minute sessions to capitalize on the effects of primacy and recency (Kagan, Brain friendly teaching: tools, tips & structures, 2014, pp. 5.40-5.41). Simply put, we recall more of what is studied at the beginning and end of each study session, so breaking up long sessions into smaller blocks of time helps your brain capture more information.
In order to cover all that you need to study for one class, create a daily rotation schedule for your subjects with 10 minutes allotted to each class. Once you have completed one rotation, start the cycle again, but do not repeat any material that was already studied in the same day. Assign classes to a specific day, such as math on Mondays and Wednesdays, and English on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Moreover, break up your studying by completing homework assignments or taking a brief walk before moving to the next class. The act of distributing your practice into multiple study sessions and days gives your brain the opportunity to process the material multiple times, thereby improving long-term retention.
Discover more tips by reading your session reminders, attending the Parent Lunch & Learn on November 9th in our office, or signing your student up for the Midterm Binder prep group session on November 27th & 28th here.