Many students are struggling to stay on track while schools have shifted online due to COVID-19. Even the most meticulous students can lose track of assignments or have trouble staying focused when they’re not in a class environment. This week, we’ll be talking about tools and strategies students can use to stay on task and not fall behind. Read the transcript below:
Hey everyone, Ralston here with Strive Academics. Today we’re back with the Ahead of the Curve episode three. Today we’re going to be talking about strategies and study tips that students can use to stay on track during this time while they’re distance learning. We know a lot of students are struggling with just staying on top of their schoolwork. I know a lot of times when using those learning management systems, things especially now have been a little bit rushed. So with things now, I’ve seen in some of the students that I’m meeting with online that some of them are falling behind. Some of the assignments are falling through the cracks where – if we’re not in there sending a reminder every single day – then it can be easy to lose track of some things when teachers are sending messages at all sorts of times. Sometimes the class schedule isn’t as defined.
So without that structure, it makes a lot more difficult for some students to stay on top of everything. So as I mentioned, I’m Ralston, I’m going to be talking about that today. I’m going to be incorporating some of the study tips that I’ve talked about in the past before in addition to talking about some of the tools that I talked about last time, so let’s just go ahead and dive right in. So one of the core things that I think helps a lot with students is just taking time to sit down and prioritize everything. That means creating a schedule, whether it is in an agenda that you get from your school, whether it is a physical planner – I know I used to use one of those – or, you know, if you have a smartphone, everyone who has one has access to a calendar, whether it’s Apple Calendar or Google Calendar or something else.
Just take the time to sit down and put some structure into place. You can do that on your own or with a parent, but sitting down, taking time to sit down and say, okay, from this 50 minute block or so I’m going to be working on my math assignments versus, okay, in the next 50 minute block I’m going to work on some science work and try to get that all done within that time. In addition to this, I think students should take the time, because as I mentioned up top teachers are sending messages that all sorts of times during the day because things are a little looser now. So you know you might ask a teacher a question and then you have to wait for them to respond or perhaps they post an assignment in the middle of the day. It can be a little confusing to stay on top of it.
So I suggest setting designated times to check on your emails to check any messages in your class study system or anything like that to make sure that you’re staying on top of any sort of communication that your teacher is giving you. So personally I would suggest doing this either two or three times during the day. If just two times, then set a time for the morning and set a time for the afternoon where you can check in just to make sure that nothing was missed. If you really need to then maybe try adding one mid day, maybe around lunchtime or like maybe one or two PM where you can check in to see if anything new has been posted in the meantime. This is especially helpful if your teacher requires particular assignments to be turned in during that same day.
So you definitely want to make sure that you’re staying on top of those assignments because it’s really easy to miss track of some of those things. For students that just have the difficulty staying on top of everything, especially taking that time to focus. I mentioned a couple of study tools before where it can either… It’s a commitment device where it keeps you from doing anything but studying, keeps you off of certain websites, or it could be just anything that keeps you on track. And so whether it’s notifying a parent that this is the time that you’re going to be studying or whether it’s something like using a tool, like I mentioned last time, like Cold Turkey where it literally locks down your screen or prevents you from accessing certain websites. Do whatever you need to do to make sure that you’re staying on track and make sure that you’re able to focus.
So if that includes creating a playlist so that you can study and so that you can drown out all the background noise, um, do whatever you can to make sure that you’re staying on task. And so kind of in conjunction with that, you use a timer if you need to. You can use a simple stop watch. Say that, okay, for the next 10 minutes I’m going to work on nothing but this assignment or for this block of time. Like I mentioned before, I’m only going to work on this particular class and it’s assignments and make sure that I’m up to date or can get as far as I possibly can with everything that’s included there. Or you can use something like a Pomodoro timer where it keeps you in regimented times where you can do little sprints of work to try and get things done. But make sure that you’re also building in breaks because you don’t want to get overwhelmed.
And this comes the other challenge with studying from home and working from home – any kind of distance learning. You’ve got to give yourself some time to rest because it can get really overwhelming. Things tend to just a blur. A lot of us adults have trouble with it too, where without the defined times to do work, it becomes harder to have those times where you check out. It becomes a little harder to keep yourself accountable to doing that. So make sure that once the time that you set aside to do the work is over, make sure once that time is up, go ahead and do something else, whether it’s switching gears to a different assignment. But more likely, I would like to see you really just switch gears completely. Do something fun, play a game, take a breath of fresh air, of course with distance in mind. Do something fun for yourself: answer text messages, chat with a friend, watch a TV show…something just to mix it up a little bit and make sure that you’re not overwhelming your brain with too much work at one time because it’s really important to understand that. You’ve got to treat it like a marathon. You can’t just go full force into it because you’re going to be exhausted at the end of the day. So make sure that you are really taking the time to manage your energy properly so that you can keep up with everything throughout the day in the long term as this is turning out to be more and more. If it’s becoming difficult to keep yourself on task, maybe have someone else check in and then try to form a study group or get a study buddy.
Reach out to some people in your class or just your friends and keep in touch in general to keep up with their best practices and help keep each other accountable because that’s going to help you stay on track with your work. So form a group. We have a little bit more about how you can choose the right study buddy in the link in the description which leads to a previous article on our site. But take the time to form that group and form a group that can provide you not only with that accountability but can also provide you with additional resources. Maybe keep you aware of any news or any updates that you may have missed throughout the day. So it’s important to do that as well. So like I mentioned before, we have links in the description below on some of our blog articles from previously where I’ve taken some of these tips from in addition to some of the resources like the worksheets that I’ve mentioned in the past.
In addition to that, keep in mind that if you find that none of this other stuff is really working for you, then perhaps maybe it’s time to consider getting some professional help. And so obviously that’s what we do here at Strive Academics. We provide in home and online tutoring; though, of course now it’s primarily all online tutoring. So if you find yourself where you’re slipping behind and none of these tips seems to be working particularly well for you, you just cannot stay on track, and you need someone to really help reinforce those study habits or just explain the concepts because you’re not getting that additional help that you may have gotten from school before, then give us a call. Just go to our website, www.striveacademics.com/tutoring if you want to learn more about our tutoring services, but we’d be glad to help you of course, but as always, we’ll be here every single Wednesday at 11:00 AM for the time being.
Next week we’ll be back with another episode where I’ll go into some more tips, resources and news that our students can use during this time. Before we go and just wanted to mention a quick resource so you’ll see this more on our Facebook or YouTube stream. So make sure if you’re on Instagram, check out that feed there. But today I’m mentioning the MoolahSpot $1,000 scholarship. This is something we’ve posted about on our blog before. Um, check this out. It’s a cool a $1,000 scholarship. I’m pretty sure any student from anywhere in the country can apply. It says students who need to pay for either college or graduate school from what I’m seeing on my screen. It’s $1000. Like I said, the deadline is April 30th. It’s a real short, simple application. Just have to fill out some basic details and write a short 400 word essay. So check it out, link on the video, and I’ll try to include that in the description as well. It’s simple: just moolahspot.com/scholarship. I’ll look forward to giving you some more information in the future.
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