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Welcome Back Grade 7!
Mr. O'Connell
Welcome 7th graders 2016-2017 !



A Successful Start:

Helpful hints to start the 2015-2016  school year off right:

Some things you can do:

1. Slow your schedule down at home and limit plans. Adjusting to a new school year will take a lot of your energy. You can pick up your activities again after you settle into your school routine.
2. Speaking of routine-decide when you should do your homework-and try to stick to that same time every day. Gather all the materials you will need to do your homework now, and set aside a quiet place at home where you can work without distraction. Turn off all distracting technology. Work on your hardest subjects first, while you are fresh. Take a break mid way if you need one and then reward yourself when you are finished for a job well done! Even if you do not have a specific assignment that night, there are usually long term projects, quizzes and tests coming up. A little preparation each night is really helpful.
3. Get plenty of sleep, exercise and fresh air every day.  Eat healthy. This will go a long way to help balance your moods and help you through your school day feeling strong mentally, physically and emotionally.
4. Ask for help when you need it from me,  your teachers and the Stony Brook staff.  I promise-it will really pay off!
5. Get excited about making new friends-and be open to new experiences. Students who are most successful in school are involved in activities.  

                      Join a club-play a sport-get involved-have fun!

Guidance Curriculum:

How to Get Good Grades in Ten Easy Steps!

Step One: Believe in Yourself
In order for you to succeed, you have to believe in yourself and your abilities.  You need to recognize the talents and abilities you possess, and you must know, and believe, that you can succeed.  

Step Two: Be Organized
-Use an assignment notebook or a planner.  Write down all assignments and due dates.  Break up large assignments into smaller parts so youíre not overwhelmed with trying to do it all and finish at once.

-Use three ring notebooks for class notes.  This make sit easy to insert handouts and copies of notes you might have missed.

-Use different color folders with pockets for each class.  Keep current and past assignments, tests, and quizzes of each class in them.  Having all the class work together can help you study for future tests and it may come in handy if there is ever a question about a grade.

-Have at least one classmate's phone number for each class.  If you're absent or you have a question about an assignment having someone to call and find out information is handy.

-Keep your locker and backpack neat, clean, and organized.  Never put loose papers in them, always put them in their appropriate folder.

-Get organized before you go to bed.  Put completed homework in its corresponding folder and put everything you need for the next day in the same place each night.  This will minimize the chances of forgetting something the next day.  Use sticky notes to remind yourself of what you need to do in the morning.

Step Three: Manage Your Time Well
-Use the time teachers give you during team time or classtime to ask questions and get help.

-Figure out a schedule and study plan that works for you.  Determine how much time you have and how much you have to do in the day then develop a plan.  For example:
2:00-2:30 Break/ snack
2:30-3:00 Instrument practice
3:00-4:00 Homework
4:00-4:15 Study for quiz

Finish all school work before dinner.

-Prepare for interruptions by avoiding them.  Set your IM to busy or offline, leave your cell phone in another room, shut off the tv, and share your homework routine with your friends to gain their support and respect to not interrupt you during this time.

Step Four: Be Successful in the Classroom
-Be in school, on time, everyday.  When you miss school, you miss quizzes, assignments, lectures, notes, class discussions, etcetera.  No matter how good you think you are at making up, you can never make up for everything you missed.

-Learn how to adapt to different teachers.  Know your teachers, their rules, teaching styles so you can make the most of your classes.

-Be prepared for each class.  You need to have all your supplies (books, paper, pencils, and folders) with you for each class.  You also need to have your homework done.  Being prepared also means being mentally alert, getting exercise, enough sleep, and good nutrition.

-Sit in the front row of the class if possible.  It is easier to pay attention, participate and avoid distractions when you sit at the front.  It is also easier to ask questions and see whatís being presented.

-Be aware of your body language.  Teachers are at the front and they can see everything and everyone, even the back row.  Slouching, rolling your eyes, sighing, putting your head down say that you donít care, and teachers notice this.  Your body language must show you want to get good grades.

-Always do your homework.  Think of homework as something you must (not should) do.  Your grade drops every time you miss an assignment.  Whenever possible do extra credit work.

-Participate in class.  Participating might give you extra points, helps you focused, and makes the class more interesting.

-Be a good group member.  Do your share of the work and do it well.  Accept that everyone is different and be open to all ideas.  Support all your group members.

-Treat others with courtesy and respect, the way you want to be treated.  Be polite, look at your teachers when theyíre speaking, listen while others are talking.  Be aware of the tone of your voice, the tone also communicates a message.  Remember that teachers are people too, they appreciate when a student shows interest in them.  Give positive comments whenever a situation makes it possible.

-Involve your parents.  When they ask you what you did, tell them, they will like the fact that you tell them about what you are learning at school.  Whenever possible let your parents help you with an assignment, studying by quizzing you, listen to you practice a speech, or read over a paper youíve written.  Parents can also intervene on your behalf when you have a problem and help with difficult situations.

Step Five: Take good notes
-Be an active listener, think about and try to understand what is being presented.
-Take notes to help you pay attention.  Thinking about the lecture helps you stayed focused so you donít have time to think about anything else.  Taking notes also shows your teacher youíre interested in the class and paying attention.

-Recognize important information.  Listen for changes in tone in you're teacher's voice and for verbal cues like the most important reason or the three causes.  Most of what is on the board or on an overhead is important, highlight this information.

-Take notes that are easy to read and organized.  Put the name of the class and date on every page of notes.  Leave space to add information later and write key words on the margins.  Use symbols and abbreviations.  Use erasable pen/pencil.

-Go over your notes as soon as possible, this will help clarify any information thatís confusing and help you remember the lecture.  Redo your notes whenever possible, eliminate unimportant information and rewrite the rest in your own words.  This way you are relearning and ìfixingî the information in your memory.

-Get copies of class notes when you are absent.

Step Six: Know how to read a textbook
-Pay attention to boldfaced subtitles, the important words that are in italic or bold print, charts, vocabulary words, summaries, and review questions.

-Scan to get an overview of the material and get an information outline.

-Read to comprehend.  Turn bold subtitles into questions, keep your questions in mind and try to answer them when you finish the section.

-Review what you read, this makes a huge difference in remembering the material.  Read the bold print and briefly state what it means and why its significant.  Answer all of the review questions.  Review everything again a day or two later.

Step Seven: Study Smart
-Find a good place to study.  Make sure it has a surface for writing, it is well lit, comfortable, and equipped with (or have space for) all the supplies you need and your books.  Listening to classical music can improve your concentration while you study.

-Just get started.  Don't put off studying until later or you're in the mood.  Start with a simple subject and just start studying.  Organize your study time by making a plan, deciding what you want to get done and the order you are going to do it.  Prioritize and allow more time than you think youíll need.  Study your least favorite subject first to get it out of the way and alternate types of assignments.  Take a short break every 20 minutes to get a drink of water and stretch.

-Know your learning style.  Figure out if you're a visual, auditory or kinesthetic learner.

-Know how to study for tests.  Understand the big picture, know the main points and key facts.  Pay particularly close attention in class the day before a test.  Have all your reading done ahead of time.  Go over important facts and/or formulas as much as possible before you take the test.

-Use tricks to help you memorize information, such as flashcards; stare at  what you want to memorize, say it out loud, close your eyes and do it again; go over any information you want to remember right before you go to sleep; use acronyms; use the first letter of words you want to remember to make up silly sentences; look for an easy or logical connection; use diagrams to group information; use ridiculous images to help trigger your memory.

Step Eight: Use test-taking strategies
-Get off to a good start.  Have everything you need for the test when you go to class and try to relax right before the test.  As soon as you get the test, write down anything you want to remember from your memory aids.  Read the directions and write your name.

-Quickly look over the test and develop a plan.  Decide how long you will spend in each section and try to give yourself a few minutes at the end to check your answers.  Read each question carefully.

-Mark the questions you want to go return to.  Donít spend too much time on any one question or problem.  Donít panic if you donít know the answers to the first few questions, go back to them and youíll probably remember the answers.

-Multiple choice questions.  Try to come up with the answer in your head before you look at the choices.  Read all the choices.  When youíre unsure, eliminate the choices you know are incorrect first, and then make an educated guess.

-True/False questions.  Look for key words, read carefully; one word will often determine whether the statement is true or false.  Statements with always/never are usually false; those with usually/often/most are usually true.

-Draw a diagram or picture when solving a difficult math problem.  Show all your work, you may get partial credit.

-Open book tests require preparation.  Highlight your notes, use sticky notes or bookmarks to help you locate information.  Write down information you will need on a separate piece of paper.

-For essay tests it is important that before you do any writing, brainstorm.  Take a moment to write down what you know about the subject and make a quick outline.  Note how many points each question is worth and spend time on it accordingly.  Begin writing using clear, concise sentences and write legibly.

Step Nine: Reduce test anxiety
-Start studying early, study enough so you feel confident that you know the material.  Replace worry and negative thoughts with positive thoughts and relaxing.  Cramming increases anxiety.

-Learn and practice relaxation techniques.  Take a deep breath, hold it, release slowly, and repeat.  Staring at the top of your head flex and relax each part of your body.  Close your eyes and relax, visualize tension flowing out of your body, relaxing your muscles.

-Walk with confidence, head up and shoulders back.  How you act can definitely affect how you feel.

Step Ten: Get help when you need it
-When you have a problem, do something to resolve it.  Most questions can be answered and problems resolved when you explain them to the appropriate person.  Remember you teachers, counselors, principals, and your parents can help.

Stony Brook Middle School  |  9 Farmer Way, Westford, MA 01886  |  ph: (978) 692-2708  |  fx: (978) 692-5391

Westford Public Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity or homelessness.