Wednesday, October 13, 2010

With freedom comes the R word!! :)

It is about this time of year that we start getting panicked phone calls from families. We understand! Getting through the beginning of the year ("launch") can be so busy, that sometimes things fall through the cracks.

You may have been thinking, "That D in science is OK, because next week I will (insert good intention here)."

Now you may be beginning to realize that those good intentions haven't come to fruition, or you may just be having a plain hard time understanding what you are learning!

We are here for you! Please do reach out and check in with your teacher via phone, K-mail, IM or Tutor time if you need any help.

Sometimes, it is hard to know what you need help on, so start somewhere! Maybe you got a 1/5 on your last quiz. That is a perfect starting place!! Go into tutor time and ask to go over the quiz with your teacher. Then, we will be able to determine what is going wrong and how to best help you.

Remember, you have LOTS of freedom in online schooling. However, as the old saying goes, "With freedom comes Responsibility." Gone are the days of sitting in the back of the classroom with your head on the desk "absorbing" the information flying around you. If you don't log in, you won't learn!

Some other things that you should do TODAY if you are not happy with your grade/level of understanding:
  1. Set up a schooling schedule. Really. Write it out and stick with it for a minimum of two full weeks. If you don't see improvement in your learning, talk to your teacher.
  2. Are you an auditory learner?? Some people understand things better if they hear them. You can do this for yourself!! Read the lesson out loud to yourself. Ask a friend or family member to read it to you. There are also software programs out there that will read for you (many cost some money).
  3. Take your time!! "Hurry Scurry work" is never your best. Many struggling students rush through their readings. You need to slow down, be sure you are taking notes and absorbing the information. I often suggest that students read a lesson three times through. First time to get an idea of what you are learning about, second time to take notes and a third reading to cement that knowledge and ensure you got all of the details!

You all rock, and you know it!! Please try some of these suggestions if you are struggling. If you have other suggestions for your classmates, please comment on this post and share! :)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How to catch up!

One of the most common issues that students face here at COVA is falling behind. There can be so many reasons that one could fall behind. Hospitalization, connectivity issues, and disorganization are just a few things that can throw you off track. You may just miss a day or two, or for some, you may be a week or more behind. Falling behind is scary, frustrating, and can be overwhelming!!

So, what do you do when you are behind?? After working with thousands of students in the virtual classroom over the past four years, here is what I have learned.

  1. Make your newly assigned work your highest priority. I know, it seems strange right? I have this MOUNTAIN of make up work, and now you are telling me to do my new work?? Shouldn't I start at the beginning? Well, it does depend on what you are missing, however, whenever possible, start each day off by completing THAT day's assigned work in every single course. Then, go back and complete at least one of your missing assignments!
  2. You will have to put in extra hours. Sit down with your leaning coach and organize a schedule. Again, you should plan about six hours per day to complete your newly assigned work in each course. Then, plan to put in some overtime completing old/missing work. It will make for some long days, but if you put in the time, your missing work pile will disappear quickly and soon you will be able to return to a normal length school day.
  3. Plan to work on the weekends. This is the absolute key! You can make significant headway on old/missing work over the weekends because you don't have your six "normal" school hours. Think how much make up work you can get done if you dedicate those six hours to it! WOW!
  4. Go for big point assignments. If there is simply not enough time to get it all done, go to your gradebook in the course and find large point assignments. Things like tests and labs are going to be your first priority!
  5. Communicate with your teachers. Let them know that you are behind, why you are behind, and ask for a list of what you need to make up! We are here to help you! Come into Tutor Time so we can help you move quickly through some of your missing work! This is especially important if you have fallen significantly behind. There may be some assignments that you are no longer allowed to earn credit for. You don't want to waste your time preparing for a test that you can't take!

Hopefully these five tips have helped you realize that there is a way out of the missing work mess! Please, do me a favor, if you have fallen behind, take a moment and contact your teacher today!! If you don't know if you are behind or not, contact your teacher!! If you are a learning coach and aren't sure how your student is doing, contact your student's teachers! :) (notice a trend??) ;)