The students that volunteer their time and knowledge on Reach a Student are eligible to receive community service hours. We are looking to expand our roster of academic and athletic mentors, interviewers, and video editors to help inspire and answer school-related questions.
Reach a Student is a website established to give students direct communication access to student mentors in various grade levels. Students will be able to reach out to other students and ask any questions they have regarding student and campus life. The site will also stream videos of students sharing their experiences at Windermere Prep as well as activities around campus.
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Windermere Prep offers a wide variety of choices in their Fine Arts department - you can focus on traditional art, dance, drama, or band and orchestra music. I know that sounds daunting, especially if you're first entering high school. It can be hard to choose, especially if you think that you're not particularly good at any of these. But I'm here to tell you that innate talent should not guide you in your decisions, at least in the art program.
High school is the time when people really start to learn more about themselves. They learn what they want, what they're good at, and how to become more independent. They also learn to challenge themselves, and to try and learn new things that they've never done before.
Many of the students you see that blow you away with their sheer talent in art? It didn't come to them just like that. They dedicated time to practice and work on their skills because they genuinely wanted to learn. That's why the teachers are there: to help you learn and practice. They don't look at a student and think, "oh, they're good at dancing, I'm only taking them in my class." They look at a student and consider their potential.
There's no real way I can help you choose what you want to do in the Fine Arts program; that's all up to you. Think about what you want. Consider these questions:
Answering these questions will make it easier to make the decision, and hopefully it will leave you satisfied with whatever choice you make.
Good luck, everyone!
As you transition from middle school to high school, you start to get more work with due dates closer together. It's important to know the best way to study for tests and the best way to turn in assignments. One important tip is to know your teacher and figure out how they do the tests. Some give you practice tests, and for some, you may have to go up and ask the teacher. I have both of those cases this year as a freshman and it's important to know your teachers, tests and the material. Another important study tool that I learned is to not over complicate the question and just break it down, really understand it.
An important study tip I learned, is to also prioritize your time. This helps especially because if you have a very tight schedule and you think very little time to study for tests or work on assignments its very important you prioritize your time. Something I have learned this year is when I am stressed, the 2 hours that I have to do homework, I need to shut off my phone and just go and get it done. If you really try and just sit there and focus for a solid 2 hours, you could get the work done you would typically do in 5 or more.
I hope everyone had an amazing New Year!
Our goal at Reach a Student is to help the students at Windermere as much as possible by providing tips and help from a student's perspective. Answering questions is a great way for students to connect and share with one another, however, the knowledge shared is limited by the questions asked. Blogging allows students to share their thoughts more freely and anyone can provide their peers with whatever information they think would be beneficial.
Since I believe that every student has some kind of insight that could be useful to others at WPS, anyone can contribute their own personal entries to the blog. I can even make your entry anonymous if you choose to. I also believe that the WPS teachers have valuable experience from when they were students (for example, how they faced and overcame an obstacle that a student might be facing today), so I reach out to all WPS faculty and hope you will contribute to our blog.
If you would like to submit a blog entry, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With the new addition of the Cypress Center and the brand new theatre, there has been a lot of speculation of the theatre programs, including the addition of IB theatre - what does this all mean? I am able to participate in most theatre functions and have a large understanding of how the performing arts programs run daily, as well as all the opportunities available for students.
It's called "Thespians" for short, however it is the International Thespian Society. This is a club that revolves around theatre in general, as well as going to theatre competitions. Students practice scenes, monologues, songs, and technical events like costume design and playwriting, and participate in a festival for a few days in our district whilst being judged, and if they get a high enough score, can take a trip to the Florida state festival and take workshops and classes from the very best as well as performing. However, thespians has multiple other events for those who do not get into districts- this includes Improv. Night, The Haunted House, Shakespeare Night, and many new events such as Miscast and W factor (in which boys perform female numbers and vise versa), and school events like the homecoming parade. However, this club forms a community and even if you do not participate on stage or backstage but enjoy the art form, then it is to learn about and celebrate everything theatre has to offer.
WHAT THESPIANS REQUIRE
The Officers are very involved in running thespians - our sponsor helps us, however organization of events is all us. We make plans for all the meetings, send emails, and decide what to do throughout the year. We have to be leaders of the troupe and help critique district pieces, have separate meetings, go to club events, find ways to raise money, etc. It is very busy, almost like a job as well have to do something everyday, but very rewarding.
With the opening of the cypress center came a plethora of new school shows for students to participate in - both offstage and onstage. These include the current "Peter Pan" All School, the high school play "Steel Magnolias", the HS/MS musical of "Addams Family", as well as the Lower Schoolers "Cinderella" and the MS Broadway review. There will also be a summer camp show of "Les Miserables" in which anyone in the community can participate in. This means that it is a fulfilling year for both technical and theatrical students, but it is also a lot of work.
The performance sets are very difficult to maintain, therefore many students take classes in and outside of school in order to keep and improve their skills. A lot of theatre students take dance classes in order to keep with the demand of movement in shows, as well as musical theatre which can contain high intensity dancing in multiple styles. They also take choir or chorus, to learn the proper technique of singing, the different variations, and how to be united in a group. Both of these classes also give the benefit of making the student a triple threat, something desired in the community because of the versatility of the student that allows them to perform roles with multiple requirements (for example a character that can sing opera, or Tap dances). Some students even take music classes to learn or understand musical instruments and how to read music- there are many shows that now require actors to play instruments and the business is very competitive. These music students also have an opportunity to play in the orchestra of a show.
However, the most important part is acting or theatrical classes. It is the backbone of musical theatre - performance is about expressing yourself, which is what this class does. There is so much variation in acting and an actor can always improve in each style and in each style and needs constant direction in order to be as close to perfect as possible. This helps abstract theatre, speech, script work, directing and critiquing others, and being able to learn about techniques.
Technical theatre is also expanding at our school, through the use of the art classes. WPS is beginning to make its own sets, and creative minds are needed for this. Students that take art classes are creative, problem solvers, able to view the full picture and see what compliments, and bring new ideas to the table.
It is important to take these fine and performing art classes because it keeps the students in a creative mindset, allows them to expand and grow, and can bring it to their multiple projects.
Many students find their volunteer hours through the performing arts. Many of the lower school and middle school shows invite HS and MS students to tech backstage or stage manager, as well as help the children, and the high school shows have a tech team that consists of high school students- for example, many high school students are "fly crew" in Peter Pan, which is a very big job. Not only does it create leadership and organizational skills, but it gives students many CAS and volunteer hours. Thespians tech at both W factor and Mr. Windermere Prep, and students usually help the performing arts teachers in tasks.
In the IB Diploma program, I am taking Psychology at the HL level. This course fully revolves around real-life events, and there is a focus on biological, cognitive, and sociocultural levels of analysis. In addition to learning about these aspects, we need to know and understand many studies - which could be experiments, observations, correlations, and etc. These complex studies are used for short answer questions (SAQ) and Essays. Although a SAQ requires one study and an essay requires three (most of the time), students need to know much more to be fully prepared for an exam. From my experience, here are some of the things that I think are helpful.
If you're a junior, you know that practically everyone has begun breathing down your neck about college. 11th grade is the year where you research, visit and begin to decide upon which colleges you want to apply to. The college search process can be daunting, especially when you don't know where to start. Here are some tips from a senior who just applied to three schools today!
What Should Matter in The Search Process?
The school you attend will be your home for the next four (possibly more) years. You'll want to consider whether you'll be happy there. One factor you should consider is the location and atmosphere of the school. How far away do you want to be from home? You have the opportunity to move somewhere completely new. Do you prefer living in the city or in a more traditional style campus? You'll also want to consider the people that attend that college and the professors. Could you see yourself making friends and lasting connections there? Also, consider the dorms that the school offers. Would you feel comfortable there? Another factor you'll want to consider is majors and academic programs. You are going to college to learn, after all. You'll want to look for a school that offers the program or major you're interested in and research exactly what that program entails. Even if you are undecided, are there a number of majors or programs you could potentially choose later on? In addition, you'll want to consider if the school has any athletic programs or extracurricular activities that you are interested in. Even though you are there to learn, you won't spend all of your time on academics so you'll want to look for somewhere where you can also enjoy yourself. Some additional factors that might come into play in your search might be internships in the area, study abroad programs, leadership programs, etc).
What Shouldn't Matter in The Search Process?
There are many misconceptions about what to look for in a college. Just because a college is popular or has a good reputation, doesn't mean that you should apply there. I'm not discouraging you from applying to those schools, just be sure you are applying there because you could really see yourself there and not because the college is a household name. Also, just because a college has a lower acceptance rate, that doesn't mean it is any better than a school with a higher acceptance rate. Don't apply to a school simply because their acceptance rate is 10%. Apply to that school if you feel that it is a good fit. An acceptance rate should not be a deciding factor, it is only important in showing you your chances of getting into that school. You don't want to apply to a college based on a reputation, so make sure you like the school enough to consider going there if you are admitted.
What Should You Consider?
There are many factors you should consider in the process. One of these factors, as mentioned before, is location. Do you want to stay instate or do you want to move out-of-state? My advice is that you should apply to a mix of both, if you are unsure. Another factor you should consider is the size of the school. Size of schools can range anywhere between 2,000 students to 50,000 students. The social dynamic is going to vary depending on the size of the school, so you should consider whether you want to be a part of a smaller, closer-knit community, or a larger, more diverse community? As mentioned above, you should also consider majors and programs. Some majors may be more rare, and not all colleges may offer that major. On the other end of the spectrum, some majors are offered at almost every school, so you should search for a program that stands out to you (in a good way). Lastly, you should consider the cost of the school. This is something you'll want to discuss with your parents later on, but you should be aware that depending on whether the college is private or public and whether you are paying in-state or out-of-state tuition, cost is going to vary greatly.
Where to Start Looking?
Now that you are aware of what to keep in mind during the search process, you are probably wondering where to start. I recommend starting with one factor on the list above and using Naviance or Google to find colleges that potentially fit one of those factors. If you know of a college that you're already interested in, research that college and see if you like what they offer. Later on, you should start to look into the requirements for the application process and plan to visit the campus if you can. Visiting the campus will give you a better feel for the atmosphere and the people that attend the school.
Even though you don't need to start looking for colleges until second semester (summer, at the latest), it isn't a bad idea to get a jump-start during the first semester. Don't stress out about finding the perfect college, you only need to find a list of schools that you are interested in. Most students apply to somewhere between four to eight schools, but your interest list can be much longer than that. You'll be able to narrow down that list later on when you start to apply.
Good luck with your college search process!
If you have ever heard of APUSH (AP US History), you probably heard that it is one of the toughest classes at Windermere Prep. Compared to other schools, WPS offers this course at 9th grade, while other schools offer it at 11th and 12th. I am just going to flat out say that if you aren't willing to work hard and put in the time, then this class is definitely not for you, as the work never stops. Now as a former survivor of APUSH, I know a few things about how this class works, and what it takes to succeed.
The first part of this course is outlines. Every night, you basically summarize a part of a textbook chapter in a specific format, which Mr. Zoslow then checks the next day. Every outline is a total of 3 points, so as long as you complete it, you should get full credit. Of course it depends on how many pages your reading is for that night, but my outlines were around 10 pages, give or take a few pages. You might be stressing out during your first outline, and it might take you a long time, but just know that they get easier as you continue on throughout the year. My advice to you is to use every minute of the day for outlines. Even 5 minutes at the end of another class can get you a few paragraphs outlined. Don't worry about making everything perfect, because honestly Mr. Zoslow just scrolls through it, and doesn't actually read everything word for word.
KBATS are just a bunch of vocab words that you think are necessary to study for the unit exam. The catch is that Mr. Zoslow doesn't give you a vocab list, but you have to come up with the words yourself and then write definitions for them. My suggestion is to either underline or highlight your KBATS while you are outlining so you can go back and know which words you thought were important. Some won't agree with me, but I found it easy to complete my KBATS while I was outlining so that way I didn't have to worry about them later. You will just have to determine what works best for you. Make sure you are only doing definitions for words that are necessary, or you will end up with a couple hundred words for each chapter. Lastly, DO NOT procrastinate these. I guarantee the last thing you want is to have to complete a couple hundred vocab words in one night.
EDQs (essential daily questions) are a necessity in this class if you want to succeed. You get a specific question based off of your reading from the night before, and you have to answer it in the form of an essay. When you come to class the next day, there are usually 3-4 readers depending on time, and you get 10 points for reading your EDQ, even if it is completely wrong. It definitely takes a lot of courage to read in front of your classmates, but just know that your classmates really don't listen to the EDQs. Even though you may think that Mr. Zoslow isn't paying attention, he definitely is, so don't try to slide in some wrong information or information from a different topic. There are three main components that you have to include by the end of the year; thesis, contextualization, and synthesis. You will gradually need to do all three, but the first quarter is just composing a thesis. After you read your EDQ, Mr. Zoslow will ask you to repeat your thesis. Don't worry about not knowing how to write one in the beginning, but just make sure you know what you are talking about. Don't try to make up information that isn't true or accurate, because Mr. Zoslow will ask you about it. You want to make sure that you get your readings done as soon as possible. When you get to the end of the quarter, everyone is in the same boat as you, and then there are too many people and too few days for everyone to read and get their points. At the end of the year for me, there was a huge waiting list everyday for reading your EDQs, and some people emailed 2-3 weeks in advance for a spot to read. You want to complete them every night and not procrastinate doing them, because you will eventually have to turn in an EDQ packet at the end with all of your essays. It is definitely harder to write an essay and remember the information from a month ago, rather than just writing it the night you learned the material.
I'm not gonna lie; the unit exams you will take for APUSH will SEEM very impossible, but they aren't. After your first few tests, you learn what Mr. Zoslow is looking for, and what it takes to get a good grade. When studying for these exams, don't focus too much about the minor details, but make sure you know the overall picture. You have the whole class period to complete the test, so right when you walk in the door, make sure you already have your pens and highlighters in hand. Trust me: every minute counts. There are 55 multiple choice questions, and there is no possible way that you could get all of them right. I would recommend to spend about 10 minutes on the multiple choice because the essay is where you get the most points. When you get to the essay, make sure you do a little 2-3 min outline of what you are going to write, because that alone can get you 5 points. You get a point for everything you get right, but a point off for something wrong, or even more points if it is a really dumb answer, so just right everything that you know. However, if you are unsure of a date or a specific detail, don't write it, because you may get a point taken off for it. Make sure you frame the narrative, and for every person that you introduce, make sure that you describe him/her and not just simply write their name. If you are given documents, you MUST use all documents or else you will get points taken off. Keep reminding yourself that you are in APUSH, so make sure you don't find yourself focusing too much on other countries. Lastly, sleep is the most important thing. If you don't get enough sleep, your brain can't properly function, and you won't be able to remember any of the information.
Grading the Unit Exams
All of the APUSH tests are curved, which means that points are added on to your raw score. Your raw score is the actual grade that Mr. Zoslow got from your exam, but the curve is made based on how everyone else does. If everyone did really good on the test, then the curve is going to be lower, but if everyone did bad, the curve might be higher. There is what is called a floor, which is the lowest possible score someone could get. If you get lower than the floor, then the floor score is the one that shows up in the gradebook. For example, if someone got a raw score of 20, the curve was 40, and the floor was a 65, then they would get a 65 in their grade book. If someone got a raw score of 80, and the curve was 40, then they would get a 99 because that is the highest grade you could get. Just know that your first probably won't be the score that you wanted, but it will get better from there.
Use your friends for resources, because they are going through the same struggles that you are. Collaboration is key in this class, because there is so much information that you can't possibly remember all of it. Use your prep book, and watched jocz production videos. Before tests, look up practice essay questions and write out a brief outline just to practice to ensure you know the information. Take notes during class so that you make sure you are paying attention and can later use them for a review resource.
The AP Exam
At the end of the year, you will take the nationwide APUSH exam. It includes a DBQ, a long essay, multiple choice, and short answer questions. Your grade is given on a scale from 1-5, but don't expect that you are going to get a 5. Remember that you are going against juniors and seniors, and a 5 is really hard to get. I would definitely study a lot for this exam because you want to get at least the passing grade of a 3. Also, at the end of the year there is a US history subject test that is required for some colleges, so I would recommend taking it so that way you don't have to worry about it when you are a junior or senior.
One thing to know about this class is that it never stops, not even during breaks or on weekends. Even when you finish an outline, you always have one for the next day or another assignment you should be doing to get ahead. Despite all of the work that you have to do, it is really hard to do badly in this class, as long as you complete all of the necessary work. Even if you get the floor on every test but complete all of your EDQs, KBATS, and outlines, then you might end up with a B. This class is very independent, and it teaches you how you best learn and how to manage your time better. One thing to steer away from is comparing yourself to other people. Don't panic if someone already had their outline done for tomorrow when you haven't even started. Everybody works at their own pace and in their own way. By the end of the year, you will be thinking and working 10 times faster than you were in the beginning of the year. Just know that at the end of the year, you will finally be able to say, "I survived APUSH", and trust me, it's a great feeling.
After participating in the Special Olympics and WPS football clinic and watching the Ray Lewis interview, I want to send a word of thanks to Shailee Shroff on a stellar job! It was a once in a lifetime event to have the Hall of Famer - Ray Lewis participate with us in teaching football skills to Special Olympics athletes on Saturday at WPS. Not only did it build up the WPS Football team, but we had a great time teaching these great kids about a sport we love. I especially loved seeing all fun personalities on the Special Olympics team from areas as far as Vero Beach and Lake County. It was crazy how excited and hyped up they were to meet Mr. Lewis! Your tenacious and persistent nature helped to get Mr. Lewis to attend – I am sure this was not an easy task. The questions you asked during the interview helped me realize that he is a caring guy who is much bigger in life than the sports figure on TV. He gave some great advice and showed the power of dreaming and believing in yourself. Thanks for inspiring me Shailee!
I remember when the first day the Turning A Page project was introduced to me in 8th grade I was nervous. I wanted to end middle school strong and so I decided to do something unique. I wanted to do something that no one had ever done before, and so I chose the topic of fortunetelling and mysticism. I recommend to students who are looking to challenge themselves to choose a topic out of the norm. By not choosing a hobby or something that I was familiar with, I learned new things. For example, I learned how to read fortunes and I studied the culture of gypsies and fortunetellers. I think that choosing a topic that you do not know well adds a completely new meaning to this project.
Many students may believe that they can start working on the project only a few weeks before their TAP presentation. I think that it is really beneficial to start working on TAP as soon as you can because it takes a lot of time to make your presentation the best that it can be. It gives you time to ask the teachers anything that you may feel concerned about.
Before you start writing your TAP script, start by writing out an outline. I personally preferred making a list. I numbered the list from 1-10 and then I wrote the class subject and explained how my topic could be connected to the subject. It helped to color-code the different class topics. For example:
1. Edgar Allen Poe (A Dream Within A Dream): Explained connection #1
2. Edgar Allen Poe (The Raven): Explained connection #2
3. Writing (Persuasive Writing): Explained connection #3
4: Writing (Foreshadowing): Explained Connection #4
5. The Giver (Conformity): Explained Connection #5
6. The Giver (Colors): Explained Connection #6
After you make your outline, you should show each of your teachers the connections for their class to make sure that they will accept all your connections. Also, it may be helpful when thinking of connections, to refer to Edmodo and look at all of the folders for each class. For math I went through the textbook and read the word problems because they can help for inspiration.
While you are thinking of connections, come up with your visual aids. You can make certain connections by using visual aids. For example, on my topic of fortune telling, I used items such as candles, a crystal ball, and tarot cards. Visual aids are extremely helpful if you know how to use them to your advantage. I made numerous connections to what I read on the different tarots cards. For example I had written:
In the picture of the sun tarot card, you see the planets revolving around the sun. Galileo Galilei, an Italian physicist, astronomer, engineer, and philosopher, proclaimed that the Earth and the planets in our solar system revolved around the sun – a controversial idea at the time as the common belief was that the planets revolved around the Earth. He was also known for throwing two rocks of different sizes off the Leaning Tower of Pisa to see if the heavier rock would hit the ground first. To his surprise Galileo discovered that the rocks, no matter the weight landed on the ground at the same time. As a result of his findings, Galileo theorized that objects of different weights and masses would have the same amount of force pushing them down.
It might be helful when starting to write out the rough draft of your script, to print out your outline. While you type different connections into the script, cross them out from the outline. By doing this you are making sure that you include all of your connections into your presentation. When you are first writing up your script, don't worry about making your writing perfect, just type an outline of your presentation just indicating how each connection will be used. Once you finish the outlining, then go back to finalize and revise it. With your finalized script, it is really important to time yourself as you read it out loud to make sure that your presentation will fit the 15 minute time frame. At first, my script was too long by several minutes and it took a long time to shorten my it down.
One VERY important thing that I learned while making my script is that it is more about making the connections than going extremely in depth on your actual topic. I struggled a lot with time because I had long sections where I talked about my topic and very detailed connections. If you are struggling with time like I did, first simplify the descriptions of your topic before making big changes to your connections. Remember that you are being graded more on the connections, than how detailed you were in explain the topic.
In your presentation, be sure to think of a way to interact with the teachers. Your teachers do not want to hear a 15-minute long speech; they want to feel as if they are being transported into the setting that you have created. Think of how you can use the space that you are given to your greatest advantage. Decorate your presentation area by making it authentic to your project. For example for my fortune telling topic, I decided to make a tent with a lot of gypsy fabrics and lanterns. I researched my topic to see how gypsies decorated their space for fortune telling. I think the visual appearance was one of the biggest contributions that made my project different.
When you are at the final stage of TAP where you are practicing the presentation, and you find it difficult memorizing the order of your script, it may be helpful to make a few note cards with generalized bullets that will prompt you to remember what to say next. Try to separate your script out into different sections and take some time every day to memorize each section one by one, this will make memorizing quicker. For memorizing, I found it helpful to read each section over and over again until I could say the written words without looking at the script.
If you've ever found yourself floundering to maintain your grades, barely getting by the first week of school, follow these tips and strategies I have cultivated over my past two years as a high school student at Windermere Prep.
Time management and Organization
When school, sports, and other extracurriculars get crazy, time management is key to maintain a good learning experience. As a high school student, or a student of any grade, you need to recognize what needs to be done urgently and what can wait. The best way to do this is by finding a system of organization. Whether it be a planner, Google doc, or a notebook, find a place where you can organize everything that needs to be done into categories: mandatory work, extra work, questions you might have, due dates, reminders, notes, etc…This will let you know exactly what you have to do, when, and what's coming up.
Talk to your Teachers
As much as you don't want to believe it, your teachers are here to help you! Don't hesitate to ask them for help after school or during SRT. A key piece of information worth remembering is that when you actively invest in your education, your teachers will notice this and think of you more often, finding ways to help you and always keeping in mind what you might need. They will come to you with more detailed suggestions and resources.
Review, Review, Review!
The best way to lighten up on studying for a final, midterm, or even a test or quiz, is to constantly review. Create a system where you review your classes, whether it be 15 minutes daily for each class, or a couple hours on the weekend. Doing this keeps the knowledge fresh, which will ultimately help you study effectively for big cumulative tests or exams. This will also keep you from cramming, giving more time to process the information. When you do this, studying is truly just review, not relearning!
Prepare for Classes
Another great way to stay on top of classes, especially challenging ones, is to introduce the next topic to yourself with some light textbook (or whatever resource is best for the class) pre-reading. This sets up the unit for you and puts you at an advantage. Don't worry if you don't understand at first, when you begin learning with your teacher and other students, your questions will be gone! This gives you more time to understand and process the concept.
Make use of your Resources
This might be obvious, but don't overlook any resources your teachers give you! These resources are an opportunity, use them wisely! The most accessible and best ones are those added by your teacher on Canvas. One of the best and most useful resources I have found is the canvas calendar. With all your future assignments and tests listed, you can see the exact workload for the upcoming weeks and plan accordingly. If you still find yourself struggling with the class, ask your teacher for more practice or good websites. You can also do your own research and find websites and books to help.
Take Good Notes and be an Active Student
Arguably the most important of these tips is to be an active member of your class. If you have questions, ask them! They are most likely legitimate questions that everyone else also has. They also might bring up a good argument or sub topic that needs to be addressed to avoid confusion later. You might just be doing everyone a favor when you ask questions. You should also try to make connections and share ideas to the class, as this could facilitate a well-rounded discussion with your peers. Lastly, take. good. notes. Find what works best for you and stick with it. This could be hand written notes, flashcards, typed notes…anything! Good notes does not necessarily mean copy every word down. Good notes are ones that summarize main ideas and include key details. You might also want to analyze the information you have and apply it in different ways to test your understanding.
Learn, do not Just Study
Make sure your priorities and reasons for studying are well-intentioned. Do not just study to attain the "perfect grade". Understand the information given to you, and be able to apply it. This is how you truly make use of what you learn in school.
Recognize the Importance of your Education
As much as we think the things we learn in school are useless, and while we might not remember them or use them later, that doesn't mean we shouldn't learn them! The benefit of learning something "useless" is not in its content, but in the skills developed and used. These classes teach us to think critically, analyze the information, and apply it. Attaining knowledge at our level is an opportunity, so seize every minute of it, whether you think it minuscule or not. And perhaps the most important piece of advice I can give you, do it for yourself. Do it for your self-improvement, for your enrichment, and for your enjoyment. Find what makes you love learning and pursue it, no matter if it isn't the safest bet. Be a reasonable risk-taker. No matter what you pursue, if you do it whole-heartedly, you will find your way to success. Enjoy what you learn and do it to become the best version of you, to become a well-rounded and worldly citizen. And remember, grades are not the final and only measurement of intelligence. As long as you are trying, improving, and working hard, your grades will reflect that. If they don't, there might other aspects of an education that you are stronger in, and those are just as important!
Learning a new language is not all about memorization, but it is more about being passionate and creative.
Why be passionate? People cannot memorize things that they do not like because those things will not be impressive enough to them in order to be taken into their memory. Before learning a new language, you should have positive feeling towards that language and ask yourself why you want to study it. Your reason for learning a new language can be simple. For example, you may want to learn Korean just because Korean dramas attract you. When you know your purpose, you will be able to better identify your passion. The ability to like a language so much will make the difference in the process of learning. Also, if you are passionate about something, you will spend your time on doing it frequently, thus you will improve more quickly than those who are impassionate.
After you know your passion towards the language, it's time to accomplish your goal- use the language fluently. In order to succeed in this area, you should be an active learner, not the passive one. What does it mean to be active? You should manage your own plan as well as your own method to learn. There are many ways to learn a language, and not everybody will have the same ways, the same plan. You should find the way that is suitable for you so that you can learn comfortably. Here are some tips:
For the beginner, you should know the basic vocabulary first, this can be accomplished by using the website www.quizlet.com, or you can write down words on notecards and stick them where you can see easily and frequently. These places can be on the wall at the desk, on the door, or even neat the toilet- as long as you see it frequently.
When you know the basics, you should learn how to apply you've learned in daily life. When looking at something, try to reflect on related vocabulary that you have just learned. By doing this, it is hard to forget the vocabulary since it is already a part of your daily life.
Furthermore, you can watch movies in the language that you are learning with subtitles so that you can practice listening skills as well as your vocabulary.
For writing skills, you can write things that you like in that language and find teachers or tutors who would be able to edit them for you. By having people correct your writing, you will be able to remember your mistake and avoid making it again.
Know -> learn -> apply. These three steps are important and useful to learn a new language.
These are my tips. I hope that it can help you to accomplish your goal in learning a new language!
Having effective study habits can reduce time and stress that comes with schoolwork. Here are some way that can make your life easier:
#1- Learn the Way You Learn
Everyone is individual with the way that they learn. Auditory, visual, and kinesthetic are the three different ways of learning. Knowing what type of learner you are lets you study the information in a better way. You will find better results when you personalize the way that you study.
#2- Deadlines and More
After receiving an assignment, creating a schedule including deadlines and extracurriculars will help you prioritize tasks. With less procrastination more sleep and less stress will come. Having everything in the same place, like planner or calendar will make life much easier.
Learning how to talk to your teachers can be very beneficial. Most teachers are more than happy to provide extra help. Not only will this help you on your further assignments and tests, it also shows that you care about your academics. Some grades are given though work ethic so talking with your teachers can also a major grade booster.
#4- Studying for the Test
When studying try not to think of everything thing that has ever been said in class, this will add even more stress. When you start to study, focus on the most important topics. Once you have those topics and are confident with them, if there's still time before the test, you can then move on to the smaller details.
#5- Distractions Vs. the Quiet
When studying it is easy to turn on the T.V or your phone and get off topic quickly. Doing this however breaks your concentration and makes it harder to focus. With less distractions, more studying can be done and the amount of time it takes to study is cut down. If there is no place that you can study quietly, consider studying at the library. Distractions also come from getting up and getting things that you need to continue studying. Once you sit down to study, make sure you have everything you need.
#6-Night Before a Test
It is tempting to hold off studying until the night before. You might tell yourself that it is easier to learn more closer to the test in order to remember more. Create a schedule for a couple days before the test. Take some time review your notes and re-read important things in the textbooks. It might seem that that is a lot to do, but that lets the information sink into your brain in a way more natural way. Sleep is also very, very important. If you are tempted to pull an all-nighter you will only be hurting your chances of getting an A. With a proper amount of sleep, your brain will be in good shape on test day.
#7- Stay Positive!
Positive reinforcement is a very important and powerful thing. After finishing something for school, reward yourself. Whether that be taking a break from studying to get some food, or watching some Netflix, rewards are important. Breaks also can help improve studying, your brain can only take so much hard work at a time. It will keep your stress levels down and the information will also have a chance to sink in. With this new mindset implemented, procrastination can be cut down!
Many students dedicate a lot of their time to extracurriculars, sports, volunteer work, jobs, etc. I myself have dedicated my entire life to gymnastics, where I spend every afternoon of every week practicing for just a few moments of glory every year. Spending all of this time involved in something like this makes you realize how important time is, especially when you're involved in the IB program. After all of these years, I have picked up a few tips and tricks on time management and how balancing your social life, extracurriculars, and school work can be done effectively. I've finally learned that balancing my time would help me in the long run and would relieve a lot of unnecessary stress as well.
Firstly, realizing where your time is going helps you understand how you could be using your time better and create a more efficient schedule that lets you control where your time is being spent and how it could be spent better. Setting priorities helps you focus on activities that are most important and allows you to categorize the most important to least important things you need to get done. The best way to manage your time is to stay organized. I recommend using a calendar or planner and daily to-do list, to check off items as you complete them. I also recommend doing tough tasks first while you're fresh and alert and breaking large projects down into smaller chunks to complete these projects more efficiently. I know my main drawback when it comes to time management is procrastination. I've learned that the best ways to avoid procrastination is to set daily priorities, try focusing for short amounts of time instead of hours at a time, and attempting difficult tasks at your high-energy time since your concentration will be easier then. Don't allow interruptions, like a loud room to study or your friend's bothering you, get in your way or else juggling your work may seem much more difficult than it actually is and you'll just become more discouraged. These few tips and tricks may just save you from a sleepless night of studying in the future.
Sports are exciting extracurricular activities that keep you happy, fit, and engaged. But, there's a variety to choose from, each fitting different personalities and abilities. It's great to have an insight on multiple different sports so that you understand the commitment and qualities used in each one. Many sports seem like barely any work when watching, but you'd be surprised at how much practice and effort they put in. I totally recommend playing a sport and trying new ones, but make sure that don't just do it to play a sport. You want to find one that you'll enjoy and will be a great addition to your daily routine.
I've put together a list of commitments required for two fall sports (swimming and volleyball) since they're both very popular and fun to try! It also includes what it's like to play it. I've gotten volleyball information from experience, and interviewed a friend to learn about the WPS swimming program.
Before games, players eat team meals together and then either start warming up, or take a van to the game (if it is away). Each game is best out of 3 sets for JV, and best out of 5 for varsity. If it goes into the last set, that will go to 15 points, while all the other sets go to 25 points. Varsity must watch half of JV's game, and JV must watch half of varsity's.
It's an exciting sport to play with friends and there are many positions for people with different skills. There are different actions done throughout each game such as hitting, blocking, setting, serving, and passing. People in the back row pass (and occasionally hit), while people in the front row, besides the setter (who sets) hit and block with an occasional pass. That way, if you dislike one activity, but enjoy the other, you can specialize in your favorite aspect of the game.
Swimming(Information provided by a brief interview with swimmer, Sophia Hill):
Q: How long are practices?
SH: Practices for JV are usually an hour and a half, and practices for varsity are typically two hours long.
Q: What exercises are usually done during practices?
SH: Practices involve a variety of exercises such as breathing exercises, relays, arm and leg movements, and diving practice.
Q: How long and how often are meets?
SH: Meets during the season are typically once a week, or twice if one is on a Saturday.
Q: What are some positives of doing swimming?
Swimming has multiple benefits, such as getting into shape, becoming stronger, breathing better, plus the overall spirit of the team is very uplifting.
As you can see, they both have many commitments, but also many benefits that come with them. I hope this helped you get a thorough insight on these sports and motivated you to consider trying one!
Lack of sleep always wins. Don't make the mistake of underestimating it.
As you get farther into high school, the amount of homework you have and the number of activities you are involved in will keep increasing, and your time for doing anything else (including eating, sleeping, and breathing) will steadily decrease.
But don't make the mistake that I did.
As a sophomore, I'm currently taking some of the toughest classes offered at WPS, including AP European History and the first year of IB HL Math. I'm also on the swim team (which has practice for two hours every day), I lead the school's Astronomy Club, and I am on my grade's SGA. When I started staying up till 1:00 am almost every day starting from the second week of school, I knew something was wrong. I began to feel nauseous from lack of sleep, and my constant tiredness only caused me to stay up even later some nights.
After an already exhausting week, four tests on one day near the end of the 1st Quarter was my breaking point. By the time I got to my 7th period math test, I was having trouble keeping my eyes open. I could tell that the questions on the test weren't that difficult, but I just couldn't remember how to solve them.
That test tanked my math grade to the point where I barely scraped an A for the quarter. That time I didn't have to pay for my lack of sleep with my GPA, but that doesn't mean that it can't happen.
Don't cheat yourself out of a good grade. Make sure that you try your very best to go to sleep by midnight every night. Even if you feel like you'll do better on a test if you just study for just one more hour, that one hour of sleep will cost you much more than you will gain with one hour of extra studying.
And besides a lack of sleep hurting your grades, it also hurts your overall health. A 4.0 GPA isn't going to help you if you ruin your health by not sleeping enough. Sleep is more important than perfecting your English essay or doing every single math problem in the textbook. You can't always be a perfectionist, which is something that I never really understood until this year.
So all you perfectionists and overachievers out there, please get some sleep. You know you need it.
1. Don't write down any reminders or set any alarms about when the assignment is due.
Does a recently received assignment seem too difficult or tedious? Simply don't put any measure in place to remind yourself about it. Out of sight, out of mind! This is an important first step to procrastination, as it allows you to remove the assignment from your present conscious and reduce the current amount of stress in your life.
2. Take frequent and lengthy breaks from your work.
Once you've settled in to your desk or other preferred workspace after school, feel free to play a few rounds of 2048, browse the internet, or check social media. After all, if you never took breaks, you would quickly become overworked and your work quality would suffer. Take breaks whenever you don't feel motivated to work: you need them!
3. Don't set aside time dedicated solely to working.
It would truly be a shame if your work was regimented in constricting blocks of time. Your workflow is arrhythmic, and trying to 'plan' motivation would make you even less motivated than you already were. Therefore, don't make any schedules or timetables. In this way, you'll never have to work on an assignment until you truly want too. The inspiration will strike you when you're ready!
4. Do less challenging assignments (and complete other obligations) first.
If you don't want to start that 4-page essay, you can easily put it out of your mind by doing simpler work first. Complete small assignments and do chores so that you aren't forced to cope with the difficulty of writing the essay, At least you're doing something productive, right? The essay can wait until tomorrow while you do this work.
5. Fulfill every requirement for you to work optimally.
If you find that the assignment you're working on is becoming dull and your quality of work is suffering, it's most likely because something is preventing you from working well. Perhaps it's because your room is unclean—the aura simply isn't right. To put yourself back in the right frame of mind, clean your room for now and work on the assignment later. While you're up from your desk, be sure to make your bed, eat a snack, watch some TV, and play a few games of table tennis. Once you've gotten all of that out of your system, you'll certainly be able to work much more efficiently on your assignment.
6. The assignment is due 8:00AM tomorrow and it's 10:00PM? Take an all-nighter.
Plenty of people, from mathematicians to musicians, write out their most influential proof or greatest opus in one long, uninterrupted, feverish session. What separates you from them? You need to get this assignment done somehow, even if it costs a few hours of sleep. Why not work through the night and ensure the assignment gets done.
Turn in the assignment late—or don't turn it in at all!
If you're truly opposed to doing this assignment, you don't have to finish it before the deadline—or at all! For the former, it's easy to postpone working on an assignment if a teacher only takes off 2% for each day late, or better yet, doesn't deduct points at all if you turn it in shortly after the deadline. For the latter, there's no easier way to procrastinate an assignment than if you never actually do it. So omit summative work that's difficult yet takes up a small percentage of your grade, and omit formative work entirely.
As you may have guessed while reading through the above list, I don't actually advocate that anyone procrastinate. Procrastinating is an unhealthy and unsatisfactory habit, but it's one that is remarkably easy to slip into. Because of this, everyone procrastinates to some extent. In fact, I procrastinated writing this very blog post. Since many people procrastinate, it's important to note some of the factors and justifications that contribute to procrastination. As such, the "How to Procrastinate" list is an exercise in looking at some negative actions we take so that we may see what not to do. Instead of tackling the difficult assignment, which requires effort and focus, many of us would rather resort to doing something from the list. However, it's critical that you recognize the true stress that procrastinating generates, and avoid the items on this list as you see fit. I find that in general, it's beneficial to take the opposite actions of those on this list, and the quality of your work will increase while the amount of work-related stress will decrease. Take all of this with a grain of salt though, as something that works for me may not work you, and vice versa. But no matter how you conquer procrastination, doing so is certainly advantageous
Falling down a hill
It's hard to stop
Speed picks up
As time goes by
When Fall comes around
Time starts to fly
Homework starts piling
Fallen colored leaves
Raked high and neat
To be jumped in
In the cool absence of heat
Weeks flurry past
Blown away by Fall wind
It's hard to make time
When skipping work is a crime
Soon the air will crisp further
But before apple cider turns to hot chocolate
'Fore hot chocolate turns to lemonade
'Fore the cider's back again
Let Autumn delight in the youngest you it'll ever again see
Don't refrain from raking leaves
But take a break for some pie
A tumble down a hill
School might feel like at times
But even tumbles will be missed
When they've been over for a while
In a whirlpool of chilly air
Leaves flurrying around
Coming back to where they began
School years cycling on
Grade numbers nearing twelve
What are some tips you have for students that are on the fence about doing IB diploma due to Theory of Knowledge (TOK)?
There should no reason for students to be on the fence because half the week is a study hall and you will still have opportunities to get work done for your other classes and also the course is not hard. There is a a lot of reasons why one should be on the fence about doing diploma and taking TOK should not be one of them. It is also fun to be in the class, the good thing is that instructors can do whatever they want with the material of the class. So I try to choose fun activities and I think that the topics in the class are very interesting.
Could you give a brief summary of the TOK course?
TOK is about growing as a knower and putting together pieces of what you learn in your other IB classes. It is also about synthesizing knowledge.
And for students that are taking TOK, what are some tips for succeeding in the course?
To have an open mind and to be inquisitive.
Also what do you think would be better taking the online course or the actual class? And why?
I think the actual class is better because a big part of the course is discussions. And the online course lacks that. There is a lot of things you could do with the online course and you could still have discussions but the responses online would not be as thoughtful or as instantaneous as our live in class discussions.
I happened to be born a girl in the 21st century, and into a family that loves me unconditionally and provides me with anything I need and most any opportunity I want. From the beginning, I've truly lived a spoiled, blessed life. 17 years later, the only thing that's changed, somewhere in between then and now, is that I have 75 sisters from Sahasra Deepika (SD)-- a non-profit organization dedicated to providing a home and a quality education to impoverished and orphaned girls in Bangalore, India. These girls are no different than me in intellect, creativity, or capacity. The only thing separating us is a factor out of any of our controls: the socio-economic circumstance we were born into-- a factor which, unfortunately, limits opportunity.
Realizing all that I have in comparison to so many around me heightens my gratitude and appreciation for the life I live, and spurs me to take advantage of what I've been given and use it to enact change and lend a voice to what I am passionate about-- which happens to be women: women's empowerment, education, rights, and parity. I do confess, however, that at least to me, the pursuit of all these efforts sounds a little too idealistic to realistically tackle. But I have realized, largely because of what I've learned from spending time at SD, it's up to girls and boys alike to somehow, in their own way, turn these idyllic ambitions into tangible realities. This, I believe, should be, in some capacity and upon whatever issue they connect to, the goal of us millenials of the 21st century.
However, it's easy to go into any altruistic endeavor feeling some level of pity, or maybe even guilt because of what you have compared to those you want to help. I know this is oftentimes the mindset I hold. But it's equally important to realize what they do have, or even what they have that we don't. We cannot amplify humanitarian causes so much that they, as virtuous yet very broad forces, overpower the humanity within the individual you're connecting with: they are not just hopeless cases who know and have nothing but misfortune or darkness. Such a mindset causes a psychological disconnect, and can hinder you from connecting at a real, personal level. I have learned this from forming deep bonds with the girls at Sahasra Deepika, as friends and as sisters. True, we ask each other about where we come from, and exchange in what people might call more meaningful conversation, but we also talk about Taylor Swift. We sneak to the roof of the neighboring high school and see who can drink the water out of the coconut the fastest. We are real with each other. We are friends. And I think of them as no less, or no less capable than me. They are intelligent and they are talented: they're artists and they're athletes-- they've even beaten me, a varsity track runner, in running races, with me in my Nikes and them in their bare feet. And they have self-esteem and dignity, which I think is more resilient and stronger than mine, as it has been weathered and tested, broken down and built back up.
These traits of resilience and strength, nourished even more within the girls by the caring environment of Sahasra Deepika, should serve as paradigms for the rest of society. These are the qualities which transcend geography, religion, culture and sociology-economic class-- they are ones which should be universally adopted and developed within all of us, for they are the requisites of enacting lasting and effective change, and are vital in both kindling and sustaining the deepas— the lights— within us all to serve as lights of hope for all of us brothers and sisters.
You can learn more about Sahasra Deepika at http://sdie.org/
Time management is a key skill in high school, but also in your life afterwards. Having time management allows for you to be less stressed because you have spaced out your work and also allows for you to revise your work to make it better. Playing a sport forces you to have good time management skills. Being a student athlete takes a lot of prioritizing, responsibility, and motivation to be successful in the classroom. Having good time management skills makes you create a balance of work time and down time. People with these skills know how to organize their lives so they accomplish everything they have planned for that day whether it's in school, in your sport, or with your friends.
Life is a pathway of choices, and the one who makes those choices is you. Whether you make the choice, someone else influences your choice, something influences your choices, the final result will be produced from you. There are times where you can turn your choices back, but most of the time, you cannot turn your choices back. Your one choice could lead to profitable and good results, but that one choice could lead to a series of mistakes and even a disaster. According to research, decision making suddenly changes when you reach puberty, and change slowly when you enter the twenties. I believe that the most choices made during the high school life is whether you should drink and do drugs, and I believe that the choice you make in the situation stated before will affect your future. Do not look for a situation that is only a step ahead. LOOK at a few more steps and imagine what your future could look like due to your one choice! I really hope for you to not make the decisions that may affect your future in a bad way.
I would like to share some tips for tackling AP European History. My first tip to you would be to pay attention in class. Always take effective and efficient notes during Mrs. Hilaman's lectures, as everything she says could be used on any tests. My second tip for you would be to do the formative practices. Mrs. Hilaman gives a lot of practice DBQs (document-based questions), LEQs (long essay questions), and short answer questions. Doing her formative work will help you develop the writing styles that the AP graders want from you at the end of the year, which will help you get the score you want on the exam. In addition, if you listen to her feedback on the formative work, you can use that feedback to get good grades on her assessments. The last tip, and probably the most important, do not over study. I found that many of my peers studied frantically the night before assessments, and they stressed themselves out by trying to cram all the knowledge into their brain. Pay attention in class, and study what you don't know, and if you are having a really difficult time grasping this, it won't help to study more, so just move on. These tips will hopefully help you get a good grade in AP European History with Mrs. Hilaman, and get you a good score on the AP Exam.
1. Evaluate the last quarter.
How much effort did you put into the last quarter? Did you do all formative work, and all of the summative work? Did you study? These are questions that you can be asking yourself. If you find something that you could do better, like trading an hour of video games for studying, or getting to school on time, or even just getting eight hours of sleep, you can create easy ways to achieve this to make this an easier and better term for you.
2. Write down what you have learned.
Although it was just the beginning, there was a lot of subject material that you have learned. It may not seem important, but these topics will be on the midterm exams, though you learn them so long ago. This leaves many people reviewing in the last week and forgetting what to study. A way to resolve this would be writing down key themes from each of your subjects. This would be the most important things to know, and it doesn't have to be very detailed, just a sentence or two to help you remember. For example, in US history I would write "The Colonies" and "The Great Depression", and important figures during that time.
3. Look at the Syllabus!
What better way to prepare for the new quarter by seeing what you are going to learn? If you know the subject material, not only will you not be lost in class, but you will know what is coming up. This means you can also prepare beforehand, by reading or researching the main themes and facts.
4. Talk to your teachers
There may be things you are doing wrong or should be doing that you do not even know about. Ask your teachers on how you did in the quarter and what you can do to improve, from homework standards to classroom etiquette.
5. Make some goals!
Thanks to Skyward and Canvas, our grades are always there to see. You may not have reached a grade level you wanted to, or there may be a grade you want to achieve by the end of the year. A semester grade consists of the two quarters plus the midterm exam, which means if you know what your grade is this quarter, you can find out what grade you have to get the next quarter and in the exam to achieve the grade you want. This end grade will be a goal, and you can have certain goals leading up to it, like studying every night or getting or completing all of the reviews, and getting A's on the formative assignments.
In conclusion, don't waste time before the quarter, or think there is nothing you can do. Make sure you do what you need to do to have the best year ever!
At Windermere Prep, we're lucky to have such a well-developing, ambitious, and growing Arts Program available to students of all ages, no matter their level of skill. One of these many programs is the Dance Program, taught by Gilliane Hadley and Alison Barron. Many students, new or returning, may have questions or hesitations about the Dance Program at our school, which is why I sat down with high school dance instructor, Ms. Hadley, to provide some answers to any of your questions.
What do you like the most about the dance program at Windermere Prep?
H: What I like most about the dance program is that you get to dance everyday and I get to see you grow throughout the year. I've had students since they were freshman and now they're about to graduate as seniors. I also love that the fact that the dancers have different levels they can dance in and then they have a choice to take IB Dance or stick with elective dance or do both, which is amazing. I love that they get the opportunity to perform and do activities with Juilliard.
How do you think dance counts as both a sport and an art? Why are both elements important?
H: As an art, because it's a performing art, right? As for being mixed with a sport and art, we're physical, we're always moving, our heart rate is elevated, and we are our own athletes in our own way. Our bodies need to be warm like an athlete and will wear down like an athlete. For each genre of dance, there are certain skills and elements you need to know, just like any sport.
How do you come up with our themes and visions for our dance shows?
H: Sometimes it just happens, and sometimes I just hear something in a song. Music inspires me a lot. If I hear something, I can totally envision certain groups of kids dancing to it, which is how I figure out what dances you're going to do. Regarding the themes of the shows, me and Mrs. Barron really work together trying to figure that out because we have to be able to pick something that not only you guys will be excited about, but also what will inspire us to create those dances. We always like to challenge you and ourselves. Sometimes we think, "Oh my gosh, what are we doing?" But we are always thinking of you guys and what will keep you excited about dance and challenge some classes technique wise.
What do you think the dance program at Windermere Prep has to offer students and aspiring dancers?
H: So, for students who love to dance, it's a nice break from sitting at a desk all day. It should be an escape from your busy school schedule. Yes, I have high expectations for you, but if you love to dance, those expectations should be second nature. I can only help you so much, but if you try, those accomplishments are worth it in the end. Sometimes it's hard, because our classes are so short in terms of regular dance classes. Celeste, one of my aspiring dancers who graduated last year, found it hard to go to auditions and face the dance world because she couldn't take away everything that she should have. But we are not a studio, we are a school. It's not about taking a technique class. There are things we have to dive into more such as terminology, dance history, watching the works of other dancers and choreographers and creating compositions. I try to base our classes off how performing arts schools teach their dancers and try to shape versatile dancers. I want students to be able to walk into an audition or a dance group in college and be able to dance any genre or style, even if dancing professionally is not their ultimate goal.
Why do you think students should take a dance class next year, even if they've never danced before and what can they take away from it?
H: They should not take a dance class if they don't like to move or sweat. I think they should take a dance class because it's good for your health and it builds your brain in a different way. It's a release and it's enjoyable. It's interesting to see dancers in the first month and see which dancers make it to the next semester and the changes in the way they dance; it amazes me every time. They come in so enthusiastic and so ready to be challenged more. The best reason to take dance is that you really learn who you are and how much discipline you have and how much you really want to grow as a person.
During my time in middle school, everything seemed easy. Now there were a couple exceptions like TAP, but for the most part it was a breeze. I could go home do my homework in an hour and then watch TV or do something else. I had a lot of free time on my hands. At the beginning of the 9th grade year, I didn't think that 9th grade could be much harder than 8th grade. You would not believe how wrong I was. Now, most of the hard work came from my AP Human Geography class (which required at least 2 hours a night) and I was forced to learn how to manage my time well so I could have time to do some of my extracurricular activities, and other homework. The most efficient way to clear up time is to make use of your weekends. This may seem hard at first because your weekends are your only time off from school, but to manage an AP class with other activities you must utilize it. Utilizing the weekend can reduce the workload. You must stay organized during your 9th grade year or you will fall behind on your assignments. There are a few different apps that I recommend to get organized as they have helped me in the past. Using technology was a big help in knowing what is due and when.
The final difference between 8th and 9th grade is the immense pressure put on by college. When entering high school, you will have a moment of realization that now everything matters. Each test, each project, each choice that you make in high school will affect college. So in May, when you are looking at your course selection actually look at what classes you choose because those decisions can come back and haunt you. Make sure to pick classes right for you, not too hard or too easy but just right. You must put all your effort into each an every assignment because every grade matters and one grade can affect your quarterly grade in a positive way or negative way.
Whenever you are lonely, whenever you are bored, and whenever you are nervous, one of the best activities to do is volunteering. The fact that you are helping someone out for his or her benefit, not yours, gives you a thrill and happiness. When you are volunteering, you are also giving something back to the community, the community that gave you the environment to grow to what you are now.
Volunteering can also help you build new skills or even build on an existing skill that you are working on. For example, volunteering at a golf tournament may help you understand golf and volunteering at a hospital may help you understand how patients are treated and how the hospital runs during the day. Each time you volunteer, whether it is fun or not, you learn a valuable lesson, and the lesson you learn can be used for your future decisions and actions
For me, volunteering is quite fun, although I encounter new skills and activities that I might not even use in my life, just learning the new skills makes it fun for me. I volunteered at a golf tournament January 2016, and from there, I learned how the scoreboard runs during a golf tournament, and many other management skills that run a golf tournament. I even met many famous people there too! Furthermore, I am going to volunteer at the Orlando Regional Medical Center and I am looking forward to volunteer! I will be able to not only go around the hospital, but also have a chance to look into details where patient is being cared of, and other great opportunities!
All in all, one of the best ways to learn and go out into the world is by volunteering. The current world requires us to have as many skills and volunteering can cover most of the experience we need. Plus, just why not volunteer? Volunteering, in my opinion, is better than any phone or computer games and many other home activities. Most volunteering activities are held outside, which means that you can also get your daily walking done while outside. So to have fun and volunteer!
All students can describe their high school life as busy. Between homework and all the different sports and after school activities we are involved in, at some point (or points) in the year the work load will just become too much. Students will find that there is not enough time in the day for homework, sleep, sports and clubs, and a social life. In order to handle all of these things a student will soon find themselves up at 3 a.m. finishing homework that could have been done sooner or studying for a test that was forgotten because of this workload. A way to avoid all of this is time management. And I know that I am sounding like a total counselor right now, but trust me it works. How you use your time is very important and totally changes how your week turns out. The amount of homework sometimes depends on what you get done in class. ( Not all the time obviously ) In order to cut down the work here are some tips that I would highly recommend to use!
• When at school if given the chance to work on projects or protective homework, work on it! Either if it is during class or SRT. The more you get done at school, the less you have to do at home.
• When doing homework at home, if you find that you get tired while working work a desk and not on your bed. This will force you to work on what you need to get done.
• Also make sure that when doing homework to put away all of the possible distractions to work at your full potential.
Many people have the desire to succeed, however sometimes it takes a lot of work to get to the point that you want to be at academically. My main tip to doing your absolute best is being on top of things. If a teacher were to give you a test a week in advance the best thing you could possibly do is study a bit every night until the assessment approaches. Many students will wait until last minute to study and will not perform at their best. This could be applied to any project given as well. As you get into higher grades the work amount will only increase, so if you started bad habits on procrastinating then it might be hard to break out of it. However, you will for sure see benefits when you begin to do your work in advance instead of cramming it the night before it's due.
My second most important tip is to use your class time. Many teachers let you complete work in class, to prevent the amount of homework you will have at home. Many students slack in class and talk to their friends or not pay attention, and that just will increase your stress levels in the future. It is way easier to do the work at school when you are supposed to than leave it to do when you get home in the afternoon. Following these two important tips, it is guaranteed that you will see an improvement in your performance and your stress level will begin to decrease.
Staying on top of work can be hard, especially in High School. Falling behind in work may seem hard to avoid, but there are always ways to stay ahead. When you make the transition from Middle School to High School, you can see the difference between the amount of work you have. I'm in 9th Grade, so it is my first year in High School and it was hard for me to adjust to the amount of work there is in High School. Once I started to realize I was falling behind, I made sure to change that and started doing things that could help me. There are many ways you can stay on top of your work and even though it may take extra time, it is completely worth it because you will be stress free.
My first tip would be to always be paying attention and writing notes. If you are constantly writing notes in your classes you will automatically start to understand concepts more. Once the test or quiz comes around for that class, you won't have to cram the night before because you will already have the basic information. Not only that, but actually going over your notes after school will help you a lot. In past years I would only look over my notes once at home and then never again , and that would lead me to being stressed over the class. Once I started reviewing the concepts from the class and all the notes, I noticed how quickly it helped me. Not only that but challenging yourself and pushing yourself to work. Being in a class that is too easy for you may be less stressful, but actually pushing and challenging yourself to be in a class that is a little bit harder will be helpful, because you will actually be learning new concepts. If you do decide to challenge yourself, you shouldn't push yourself too hard. If you do then it will be hard to progress because you will be struggling to keep up with the concept. Keeping on top of all your work may take up time, but it is worth it in the long run.
High School here at WPS differs greatly from Middle School. There are higher expectations, more emphasis on academic mastery and more hours spent completing homework. But that doesn't mean you should be scared or intimidated about the jump from 8th grade to 9th grade. Here are some tips and advice to prepare you for your first year in high school and the years to come.
Always Be On Top of Everything: It is crucial that you stay organized and know what is coming up in the week. Firstly, always know what your homework is, when it is due and what tests you have to study for. There are multiple ways to do so, such as getting a hard copy planner or using a program on your computer. This way, you can keep track of upcoming assignments and exams and what you have to do that night. Plan out your homework load so you are not procrastinating and working on a lengthy assignment at 11:00 at night. While everyone slips here and there and procrastinates until the last minute because of other homework or after school activities, try your best not to. Another method that is crucial to adapt is organization. Keeping all your papers, worksheets and tests in one place will make it easy for you to study for midterms and finals. Doing the same on your computer is also helpful as well.
Taking Notes and Study Methods: For a lot of students, school comes easy to them and are able to make A's without studying. But as the material becomes harder to understand and the amount of material on exams increases, students find it harder to not study and still make an A. That's why taking good notes and finding the right study method is important. Depending on the teacher, they might teach with a powerpoint, by writing notes on the whiteboard or by just talking out loud. Try your to not tune out the teacher while they are talking and just write what is on the board. While that might be easier to copy down, sometimes the teacher will say or explain material that is not on the board and is important to know. Not everyone does this, but I will tend to use multiple pens such as a black and purple/gold pen so that I can use the colorful pens to underline key concepts and terms so when I am reading through my notes later, those key concepts will stand out to me. When it comes to studying, just reading over your notes might not be enough, especially if the class is rather challenging for you. Students need to find what study method works for them, whether it be explaining concepts out loud or using online flashcards and practice tests such as quizlet. If you figure out what helps you learn early on in your freshman year, high school will be a lot easier for you.
While school can be boring and uninteresting and it is hard to be motivated to do homework, you have to look at it with a positive approach. Choose classes that fit your learning skill (honors, non-honors, AP, etc) and always strive to be the best that you can be. If you stay organized, take good notes and study in a way that benefits you, you should be very successful in high school. I will leave you with two things: Don't sweat every single grade because I am going to tell you now that you will get a 'bad grade' from time to time. Just focus on making corrections to it and doing better next time. Lastly, just remember, if you ever have questions about material in class, ask your teacher. They are there to help you. Best of luck!
As a student of Windermere Prep you are expected to strive for perfection and attain excellence, but this doesn't mean that you must be stressed all the time. With good time management you can be less stressed, get more things done, and even have some free time for other activities that you may enjoy. I used to always be stressed about getting good grades and doing all of the homework that I was assigned. I had to learn how to manage my time in order to get more things done and have free time do the things that I loved. I had tried many time management tactics, such as writing everything down in my planner, or even skipping some after school activities in order to get the best grade possible. This ended up stressing me out even more, I had to find a method that worked for me. I ended up using a time calendar. I know it sounds weird, but I got a white board and marker and would write down what I would be doing every half hour. This helped me to see exactly when I should be working on a certain assignment, or studying for a specific test. I now had seen where I had free time to spend with family and friends, and even go to all of my after school activities. This has helped me manage my time, but it might not help you. Find a system that works for you and stick with that method. Make sure to keep up with the method you choose as well. As long as the system works for you, it doesn't matter how weird it seems.
With the first test done, I am sure there are some 9th graders considering dropping APUSH (AP US History). From my understanding, the grades were not that good. This is not abnormal, for my AP Human Geography class as well as the classes before me the first test is always the hardest and most students don't do well on it. I for one received a C on my first test and I am sure that this is the same situation for the rest of you. Before my first test, I thought Mr. Zoslow was exaggerating about the longevity of his tests. I thought that the essay questions would be one page at max and there would be more than enough time. Boy was I wrong. I was completely blindsided by my first test, and considering the circumstances I was pretty lucky in receiving a C. Like me most of you asked yourself, how on earth am i going to do well in this class?
The first tip I give to you is participating in class discussion. This is what is going to be on the test. 75% of the test is based on the applications of the information on the outlines which Mr. Zoslow talks about every day in class. So taking notes is a great idea. Class discussion reinforces the points that you studied in the outlines as well, so when you participate in class discussion there are one of two outcomes. Either you get it right and you can say that you know the topic or you don't and Mr. Zoslow will explain the correct answer. In the beginning it is extremely nerve racking as Mr. Zoslow is pretty intimidating. As soon as you overcome this fear, you will be one step closer to an A.
On a test, Mr. Zoslow will put all information learned on it. You must use all sources in order to ensure that you are well prepared for each test. Everything in the textbook, on the outlines, in the class discussion, and on the KBAT is fair game for the test. This may sound like a lot of studying but the effort needed for a good grade is high in an AP class. In terms of the distribution between the various resources, Mr. Zoslow expects you to know the facts from the text book, but most of the points earned on the test are the applications talked about during the class discussion, so I highly recommend taking lengthy class notes.
Finally, when testing you should always outline before you write an essay. Take just 30 seconds to organize your thoughts and it will make a big difference. Mr. Zoslow always makes the analogy of an easter egg hunt. In an easter egg hunt, everything is scattered everywhere and there is no form of organization. In your essay it is essential that your essay is well thought out and organized. If you were talking about subsistence agriculture, don't go and talk about commercial agriculture before you finish subsistence agriculture.
Zoslow's class will take some time to adjust to, so don't get discouraged if you don't do well in the beginning. But in the end, everyone will figure out a formula to success and will do well.
Since Reach A Student is all about getting and sharing insight within school communities, I was hoping to meet the new owners of our school - Windermere Preparatory School when I was on vacation this summer in Hong Kong. I honestly did not know what to expect from my visit to the Nord Anglia Education Head Office. Ms. Sarah Doyle had arranged for me to meet and interview the CEO himself, Mr. Andrew Fitzmaurice.
The interview was scheduled for 11am on a Thursday and our hotel was located in the tallest building in Hong Kong on Kowloon and their office was on Hong Kong Island so our taxi went on a short ride through a tunnel that crossed the famous harbor in just a few minutes. The drive only took a quick 15 minutes to reach St. Georges Building where Nord Anglia Education had the entire 12th Floor.
After a quick wait in their reception area, Ms. Doyle came out to greet me and take me to Mr. Fitzmaurice's office. He has a beautiful office with a great view of the harbor and the Hong Kong Eye (which looks a lot like the Orlando Eye). Ms. Doyle and Mr. Fitzmaurice were very kind and Mr. Fitzmaurice shared some nice stories about himself, his family and Nord Anglia Education.
Ms. Doyle was really kind and presented me with some literature about some of their programs as well as a boxed gift, which was very generous of her. They explained some of the opportunities that Windermere Prep students could now benefit from – like Global Classroom and the Julliard partnership. It was an amazing experience and I can't thank Nord Anglia leadership enough for their generosity with their time and for welcoming a student from 1 of their 41-school family.
If you would like to see some of the photos of my visit to the Nord Anglia Headquarters in Hong Kong, please click the main image and scroll to see more.
While I was in Hong Kong this summer, I not only had the opportunity to meet some of the people in the Nord Anglia Education Leadership Team, but I also got to visit one of the Nord Anglia schools in Hong Kong - The Nord Anglia International School (NAIS) located in Lam Tin. Hong Kong is a former British colony and there is a lot of European influence in the city and at NAIS.
The principle of the school, Mr. Brian Cooklin generously gave me a tour of the new school, which just opened this past September (2014). Mr. Cooklin also allowed me to interview him for Reach A Student and share his insight. Besides the school tour and interviewing Mr. Cooklin, I was also able to interview a Year 5 teacher, Mr. Williams, and his student Ava.
This year was the school's first year operating as a new school, and I must say that it was amazing how developed they were for a school still just 9 months old. Prior to becoming the campus of the Nord Anglia International School, the property was previously used as a Catholic Boy's School and when that school moved out, Nord Anglia was awarded the space to use. I learned that there was a lot of construction that needed to be done and everyone worked very hard to get the school ready in just a few months for new students to begin classes last September.
The learning environment is really beautiful and the students and teachers I met were all very nice and welcoming. NAIS follows a British curriculum and that might be the biggest difference between the Nord Anglia International School and Windermere Prep. I spent a long time looking at a lot of their students work, much of it on display in the corridors and I can tell you that it is all of very high quality. Mr. Cooklin explained they use Nord Anglia Education's High Performance Learning techniques and I was very impressed by their approach.
Another difference that I really like was how they separate students in the school into 4 houses; Windsor (red), Sandringham (yellow), Caernarfon (green) and Balmoral (blue). These are the names of grand homes and castles in the United Kingdom. When students do something well, they are given a colored token that represents their house which they deposit in clear cylinder at the front of the school. The cylinder with the most chips at the end of the year wins, so there is a lot of team or house spirit. These houses also compete in school competitions against each other throughout the year. I thought this house system was really unique and fun.
All their classrooms were well designed and the school had excellent learning facilities. They had a gymnasium similar to ours at WPS, an Art room, Computer Lab, A full Science Lab, Library, Music Rooms and so much more. I saw students doing drama, playing in their playground where Mrs. Cooklin had painted a beautiful Panda and so many other things you might see at a school in America, only this wasn't America, it was all in Hong Kong – a city on the other side of the world from Windermere Prep. Needless to say, I was beyond impressed and it makes me happy to know that we are now a part of the Nord Anglia family of schools.
If you would like to see some of the photos of my tour of the Nord Anglia International School, please click the main image and scroll to see many more.
Besides Global Classroom, there is also a program that might interest aspiring WPS musicians and it is called Global Orchestra. This past March musicians from all the Nord Anglia schools were invited to audition for the opportunity to be selected to participate in the Global Orchestra summer school in New York from June 24th to July 1st. This year 34 singers and 46 instrumentalists were chosen from Nord Anglia schools around the world and spent their week attending music workshops and participated in practice sessions conducted by music experts. This is another wonderful opportunity for Windermere Prep students because we are part of this large family of schools.
Nord Anglia Education will be providing Windermere Prep student with access to their program known as The Global Classroom. This program offers students the opportunity to connect with other students from the other 40 Nord Anglia schools spread around the world.
Global Classroom will allow our students to experience diverse perspectives, new challenging concepts, topics and ways of learning. They accomplish this by using 3 methods:
An Online Learning Environment
Students can connect with students in other schools, debate with them and learn new concepts and ideas. As Mr. Fitzmaurice described, a student who was studying the effects of pollution on plants in China, could connect with a student at one of the Nord Anglia schools in China and get a perspective that you wouldn't find in a book.
Students are challenged in competitions to find new solutions to current problems that plague our planet.
These events bring Nord Anglia students from across the globe to work on community service projects, develop leadership skills towards instilling a sense of global citizenship.
I feel strong that bringing Global Classroom to WPS will allow us to learn and experience new topics and expand our global view. This year Global Classroom offered an opportunity to students to travel to Tanzania in Africa where they could volunteer to help the people there and have other unique experiences.
As a student, I am really excited to use The Global Classroom this upcoming year.
The Juilliard School which was founded in 1905, is a world leader in performing arts education and it is not surprising that students at our school are really interested in finding out more about the partnership between Nord Anglia Education and The Juilliard School.
I think we will see curriculum changes, which will begin with music but will extend into the other performing art categories. WPS musicians will soon be exposed to a "Juilliard-curated repertoire" of music that represents different genres, styles and cultures. Nord Anglia students are to gain understanding how music functions and how it fits into the human experience.
Windermere Prep teachers and students will benefit from being connected to Juilliard's network of teachers and performers. Also, Juilliard teaching artists will be sharing their insight with the Nord Anglia teaching community. The result of all this is so that students at Nord Anglia schools receive the highest level of performance art teaching available.
Performing arts is something that is really important to students at our school and that is why the partnership between Nord Anglia and The Juilliard School will be a huge benefit for our school. Clearly, this will help to enrich our performing arts curriculum as described above. Students will be able to connect with Julliard's countless performers and teachers. I think that this can only help inspire students to excel in this field.
I would like to think that I am a good writer; that I am good with words. You think it is an art, how I bleed for the world in a verse. But I think it's a way of life, how I let myself speak the words I've never been able to say. Writing is an art. Identical to art, the mystical crux of writing is in the eye of the beholder. Writing, like art can come in various magnitudes, insignias and each have their own eccentric way with words.
I find that words can be like an incorrigible child at times. They run around in your head, popping up at random intervals, giving you headaches and causing a maelstrom. Words are nothing but a jumble of inane letters, but it is your job, as a creator and as a writer, to tame those words running in your head and bend them to coalesce into tangible thoughts.
When I was smaller, writing was not an event that I would happily do, not by a long shot. Never would you find me freely obliging to write a 6-page essay for my friend. The easiest excuse I would use was that "writing is not easy". Everyone has their own struggles, whether it is coming up with strong thesis, plot, characters or even having an idea to start with. When George Plimpton asked Ernest Hemingway what the best training for an aspiring writer would be in a 1954 interview, Hemingway replied, "Let's say that he should go out and hang himself because he finds that writing well is impossibly difficult. Then he should be cut down without mercy and forced by his own self to write as well as he can for the rest of his life. At least he will have the story of the hanging to commence with." This was kind of like Hemmingway's sick, comical take on writing.
Trust me, writing doesn't have to end in "hanging". It does not have to seem hard. Really, it can be quite enjoyable. But unlike common belief, writing is not easy. Not in the least bit. It is not just a scratch on top of a piece of paper or the result of a single keystroke. No, it is the process of creating a breathing life form that is birthed from your very own mind. If you do it just right, if will feel like you are putting part of your soul down on the surface. It is not like a jar waiting to be filled, more like a castle waiting to be built. Nonetheless, writing, for anyone, is not an easy feat. However, it one of the most purest forms of art you can ever make. You are painting with the most potent "aether" of your own heart.
If you are an 8th Grader like me, you probably have a lot of questions about course selection for next year. One of the most difficult decisions I think I will be facing as I enter high school, is whether or not I should challenge myself and take Mr. Zoslow's AP Human Geography class. Over the past week, Reach A Student mentors have been receiving a lot of questions about this class and some students suggested we interview Mr. Zoslow. He has been kind enough to share some of his thoughts and if there is a question you would like him to answer, please email them to me at email@example.com and I will be happy to forward them to Mr. Zoslow for review. I will keep updating this blog post, so be sure to check back often for the latest Q & A.
When you spoke to the 8th graders about your class a few weeks ago, you said that there would be 90 minutes of homework required every day, even on weekends! Students have pointed out that the workload for the same class in other schools in Central Florida, is not as rigorous, do you think this is true and if so, why is there a difference?
I cannot speak for other schools, but these students at WPS in 8th grade can ask former AP students at WPS with regard to whether the rigor prepared them not only for their exam in May but also better prepared them to step into IB.The rigor of AP Human Geography should not be seen only within the context of this one class but also within the context of creating a competitive academic edge for pursuing the most challenging course work through the WPS IB programs.
Another question asked by a student was how were they expected to do 2 hours of extracurricular activities, plus your class homework as well as homework from other rigorous classes?
Each student should choose a level of challenge that is most appropriate for them to pursue, some course selections are less rigorous and should be selected by those who place a higher value on extra curricular activities. WPS provides a curriculum to suit everyone's desired level of rigor. Students highly involved in athletics, robotics, theatre and so on have moved through AP Human Geography with great success because of their desire for rigor both within and outside of the classroom, as well as aided by a strong sense of discipline, organization and commitment. Please reach out to students who have completed AP Human Geography in order to get a peer perspective on the course.
How can 8th graders prepare themselves for your class next year, maybe something over the summer?
Please see letter below.
Is the summer reading the same book that you will be using for your class or is it just a supplementary resource?
Please see same letter below. However, should any student enrolled for AP Human Geography wish to have a text for preview over the Summer they are more than welcome.
Besides the summer reading, do you have any other suggestions that might help students perform better in your class or to be more efficient in their homework?
Read this website's blog for insight from one of the current AP Human Geography students. Discipline, organization, commitment, and a high work rate are beneficial qualities that ease the transition into AP Human Geography. Making the jump from Middle School academics to college level academics is difficult.
How important is note taking in your class and if so, what are some good note taking tips that you can give to your students?
It depends on the student...some students require significant note taking whereas others are better suited to focus on listening and mental processing skills. Also, participating in class discussion is critical to higher level thinking and for students to better integrate themselves with the materials on a richer and more meaningful level.
What are some good ways for students to study for your exams?
Use the course study tools, Textbook, Outlines, Essential Daily Questions, Vocabulary, and after school study sessions, and using these study tools daily to build up the maximum possible knowledge over time for the exams.
Why do you think students should take your class?
This course is not about what I think but about what students think and value...if academic rigor on a college level as a freshman in high school is a valued challenge then wonderful, if not, then that is wonderful as well. "Know thyself..."
To go along with my previous question, what do you think is the core message of your class and what do you stress most for your students?
Again, this class is not about me but teaching to an international standard that will be tested on a Global scale in May...AP Human Geography is about everything there is to know about the world today, to even attempt mastering this takes significant risk taking, hard work, and humility -the understanding that there is much to learn in less than 10 months. These qualities also happen to be or are similar to the IB Learner profile qualities.
Is there anything else you would like students to know?
My door is always open, for those in AP Human Geography, and for those who pursue other paths, every answer will always lead to another question and to that end it will be my pleasure to answer in person any questions concerning any element of the high school experience.
Dear AP Human Geography Students,
I look forward to working with you at WPS as your AP Human Geography teacher. Your suggested Summer Reading to best prepare you for the course is as follows:
Barron's AP Human Geography, 5th Edition (paperback)
Authors: Meredith Marsh, Ph. D., and Peter S. Alogona, Ph. D.
Publisher: Barron's Educational Series, 2014
ISBN-13: 978-1-4380-0282-8 (unique identification number for text)
This text and edition provides you with an initial diagnostic exam, as well as dividing the course into sections with exams to test your understanding and retention of material. Additionally, it breaks down material into simplified units for increased comprehension.
This text cannot guarantee results. However, by reading through the materials your understanding of the course information will be richer, and the transition into your AP Human Geography course will be made more seamless.
Should you or your parent(s) have any questions please do not hesitate to e-mail me. I will have only sporadic access to e-mail over the Summer, and e-mail will be the best manner to communicate with me. My best wishes to you and your family for a happy and healthy Summer!
Justin Lee Zoslow
Social Studies Faculty Residential Dean
I come from an educational system that does not put as much emphasis on grades at such a young age as they do in the USA, at least not until the child is older. What I would like to say to all of the students at WPS is not to worry about the grade but to think instead, 'What have I learned?', and what is the next step. School should be a voyage of learning, and if someone becomes obsessed with a letter grade, rather than what they are actually learning, I think that is a shame. You are more than a letter scrawled onto a page. If you got a good grade, then great, but what does it ACTUALLY mean? Do you reflect on why you got a good grade, and what you took away from that period of learning? Do you think to yourself, what else could I learn about this? How could I extend my learning? Was this fascinating to me, or something that I only tolerate because I have to? Likewise, when you get a bad grade, do you ask why? What does this mean for me? Do you find out what exactly you didn't do well or understand so that you can fix it for next time? The WHY is more important than the grade. Why am I studying this? Why is it important? What does it mean to me? Don't reduce your brainpower to a letter grade. You are so much more than that. You are creativity and problem solving. You are design and debate. Don't do things for a grade, do them because they matter to you and you know the reason why!
Sometimes as a child I would describe myself like an egg. On the outside a hard shell, smooth and flawless in appearance but on the inside a mushy soft, runny liquid.
I was put ahead a grade in 1st grade basically because I knew my ABC's and could read while our Pre-K students now a days can recite their ABC's and read in usually more than one language:) With a late spring birthday this made me very young for the class which was like a neon sign saying come pick on me. I was lucky academically where I liked school and the subjects came easier than normal to me, again a flashing neon sign. I was painfully shy and didn't have a lot of friends, this time the flashing neon sign is playing a tune here, you follow me?:) Grades 1-5 were uneventful, no one noticed me so I went about business without any problems. By 6th grade though, that was another story. My middle school years were tough. I was picked on and ridiculed. I wasn't physically bullied, it was all verbal which to me is worse. I would've much rather been hit once and been able to walk away with an external bruise, instead I had to be the egg, hard on the outside but a pile of mushy liquid inside.
Unfortunately, I have no words of advice on how to deal with a similar situation at the time of occurrence I put my head down and prayed my way through but I can tell you now that those crucial years most definitely made me the person I am today. I have tolerance, I have compassion, and I have empathy. Strangely enough I'm an eternal optimist, I see the good in everyone and everything. I am a parent who will not tolerate my child treating their friends and peers with anything but respect and courtesy. I will not partake in gossip or hearsay and I only surround myself with positive people. Sounds like I got it all together right, not in the least! I don't talk about my middle school years often but I will divulge them to a crying student who thinks no one could possibly know what they are going through at the moment. I hope to give them some hope, some reassurance and some optimism. Because everything you do in life shapes what kind of person you can become.
In my IB HL Biology class, we recently began an extremely interesting section on Neurobiology and Behavior. This Option (an additional lesson elected by the teacher as part of the IB course) forces us to question whyand how we learn. Between class discussions on the ethics of Skinner's pigeon experiments and the biological genius that is the withdrawal reflex, we were asked to define "learning". According to the IBO, learned behavior is characterized by experience. This clicked. The way we truly learn is not by meaningless rote memorization. Rather, we learn by immersing ourselves completely in what we do and by making an experience out of it.
In my earlier blog post ("IB, Honors, or AP – Oh My!"), I briefly mentioned the importance of selecting classes that you are interested in. Although this may seem obvious, I think it is a fact that some people overlook. Rather than enroll in a class they are passionate about, too many students opt for the more challenging (and less interesting) class because they feel the need to prove themselves. By doing so, students forget the true purpose of school: to grow toward your future with purpose. Although you may not know what purpose that is, taking classes that do not resonate well with what you enjoy will only serve to alienate you further from your future.
When I study I enjoy making an experience out of what I am learning. Sometimes that means I get to spend time on YouTube researching the material or watching videos from other IB or AP teachers. I highly recommend watching Crash Course videos for your Science and History classes. Other times I prepare a bowl of grapes for my study session! When I reach a certain page number or outline a certain amount I will eat a grape as a sort of healthy reward. My Neurobiology and Behavior class would classify this under positive reinforcement. I feel good and I am incentivized to keep working. Studying in a different location, reciting what you know to a family member, or even making a catchy jingle to relate to a lesson are all different ways to make an experience out of your studying.
The hardest part of studying or doing schoolwork is getting started. However, I have found that once I start my work it is a lot easier for me to just finish it. An analogy I use is "A Valentina in study mode, stays in study mode until she is stopped by an object of equal or greater force". Minimize the equal or greater forces that can snap you out of "the zone". Turn off/turn down your phone and place it in the opposite corner of your room. Do not have too many webpages open on your laptop. At the same time, remember to take breaks. Do not force yourself to study one subject for an hour straight; you won't remember what you learned. Take a break every 15 minutes by walking around, talking to your family, or grabbing a healthy snack. I have also found that taking a nap after a good study session will help retain the information better.
Imbue yourself with the knowledge your teachers provide in class. Embrace the experience of learning, but at the same time go out and live real experiences. You will become a truly rich Laker, human being, and global citizen.
When I was in high school, I was in a special math and science program that pushed students to go as far ahead as they could. I'd already been a year or two ahead of most of my class thanks to my middle school math classes, but my Sophomore year of high school, I was pushed even farther.
A special independent study program was created for about 6 of us to finish Calculus by the end of the summer and begin Calculus 2 in our Junior year, then going to the local junior college our Senior year to take more advanced math classes. Being someone who thought I'd be majoring in math, I said yes and began the program. The problem became when the work got hard, and the independent study teacher didn't have time to explain it, and I started becoming interested in journalism. I realized my Sophomore year that there was more to high school than just math. I'd joined a sports team and was interested in joining the newspaper. With so much else on my plate, I walked in on the last day of school and turned in my Calculus book that I'd barely been understanding as an independent study class and told my teacher I'd just take it again the next year.
What followed were meetings with the teacher and guidance counselor and my parents. In the end, I kept playing sports, ended up being editor of the high school newspaper, and still finished two years of Calculus before graduation. The writing knowledge and practice I got on the newspaper helped in writing my $36,000 college essay (as I called it because of the scholarship money it awarded). The diversified program I ended up working out did far better for me than just a plain math education. It even led me to double major in college in both Mathematics and Elementary Education.
Don't just let yourself be led through your school life by people telling you to do stuff just because you can or just because it's offered. Take control of your education and branch out. You never know what you're going to end up doing, so experience as many things as possible now! It's OK to say NO to some classes, experiences, clubs, etc. Especially when it allows you to say YES to others!
Mr. Matt Masem
5th Grade Math Teacher
Deciding which classes or program to take is certainly a big decision to make when students move from middle school to high school and from underclassmen to upperclassmen. As a senior, I have seen it all: IB, Honors, Standard, AP. Although the information is definitely available for everyone to research, I have found that after sitting for 4+ years as a New Student Ambassador that sometimes the best way to explain the options is to hear about them from someone with personal experience. So, without further ado, here are some tips and points to note for each option.
The majority of electives at Windermere Prep are classified as Standard classes, however some Core classes are also Standard. They are weighted on a 4.0 scale. One of my favorite classes that I have ever taken at WPS was Creative Writing my freshman year. PE is also Standard. Use Standard classes to explore topics that you would not normally expect yourself to study in high school. Sports Medicine, Yearbook, Life Management Skills, Class Piano… the list goes on and on. These classes are extremely enriching and the more you can take, the more you will get out of your high school experience. Test your limits and step outside of your comfort zone. You never know if the Standard class you take during your freshman or sophomore year will turn into a passion of yours later on.
There is a wide array of Honors classes in the high school (most of which are concentrated for 9th and 10th graders as part of the normal course load). These classes are a little more challenging than your Standard options and encompass many Core class options as well. Your freshman and sophomore year nearly ever class has the option of being Standard. It should be noted that Theory of Knowledge (TOK) is weighted as a Standard class even though it is a requirement for the IB Diploma. This will be discussed below.
Although Windermere Prep is known for offering IB classes, its AP program is extremely strong as well. AP classes are on a 5.0 scale. You can sign up for these classes are early as your freshman year, but do not overload yourself with challenging classes as you transition from middle school to high school. I took these classes sophomore year on. From what I recall, we offer AP European History, AP Human Geography, and AP Environmental Science. However, students can take additional AP classes on Florida Virtual School. If you are interested in pursuing additional AP classes, speak to your guidance counselor and see if this is possible. The AP program is definitely a time commitment. There is a good amount of work associated with these classes. This applies to all course options, but make sure you take classes you really love and are interested in. Explore your horizons but make sure that you are doing something you are interested in. This will make your work more enriching and easier to tackle.
The IB Certificate is an option for juniors and seniors in high school. You can either take IB Standard Level (SL) or IB Higher Level (HL) classes. Some IB classes that are offered are Mathematics, English, Spanish, Latin, French, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Film, Art, Music, History, Psychology, and Economics. For foreign languages (Spanish, French, Latin), there is the option to take Ab Initio (from the beginning) courses. This means that during your junior year you can begin to learn a foreign language from the very beginning and complete this class your senior year. IB Certificate students do not have to take all IB classes, but can take Honors, Non-Honors, or AP classes in addition to the Certificates they wish to pursue. This track is still challenging. Many athletes or people who are extremely busy outside of school opt to take Certificate classes.
I am an IB Diploma candidate. The IB Diploma has a series of requirements that are more comprehensive and immersive than the Certificate. Students must take 3 SL classes and 3 HL classes within the IB, take Theory of Knowledge, write and Extended Essay (EE), and complete 150 Community, Action, Service (CAS) hours. Make sure to sign up for IB Diploma classes you are thoroughly interested in and would likely enjoy pursuing in college. This program, along with Certificate classes, is two years long and the classes you choose junior year have to be completed in your senior year.
Although 3 SL and 3 HL classes are offered, I take 2 SL and 4 HL classes. This is very challenging, and I suggest you speak with a guidance counselor before pursuing this option. I am enrolled in IB SL Economics, SLMathematics, HL Chemistry, HL Biology, HL English, and HL Spanish. In the future I hope to attend Medical School with a focus on global health and humanitarian initiatives in developing countries. For this reason, I took two HL science classes, Economics (the Developmental portion of the syllabus is fascinating), Spanish (both for cultural enrichment and because I love Spanish literature), and English. Normally students take one social science, science, math, English, and foreign language with the IB Diploma, and they have the option to take an Art class or double up in one of the pre-requisite disciplines.
The Theory of Knowledge class is an extremely enriching facet of the Diploma. This class asks students to question what they learn and become more engaged in their academic and personal pursuits. I firmly believe that this class was the tipping point for me to truly be able to call myself a scholar. If you take the Diploma, this class will change your life. It also comes with the requirement to write a TOK essay and give a presentation. Organization and open-mindedness is key.
The Extended Essay is essentially a Senior Thesis for IB Diploma students. You can write an EE in any of your IB classes and it is due right after your first semester of senior year. It is a capstone for the IB and truly the time to explore research and immerse yourself in one of your favorite classes. I'll quickly add on here that CAS hours are basically community service hours with the added component that you have to create a project that includes Community, Action, and Service components.
Please feel free to email/message/comment/stop me in the hallway if you have any questions about the information above. Speak to your guidance counselor and teachers to decide which route is best for you. Do what you love and you will completely fall in love with what you do.
It's been said that to be successful, you have to be organized. Well, whoever came up with that probably didn't have to deal with three tests, an essay and a project all due the next day after they got home from practice or rehearsal at 7pm. Welcome to High School.
Sometimes, you just get swamped with so much work that you really don't know where to start and, consequently, you don't end up doing any of it. This is where organization can calm you down and prevent you from, say, stress-eating. So how do you get organized? Confusingly, you must first organize your organizational process. Let me explain.
1. Establish a Home Base
A home base is essentially where you'll log all of your tasks. This can be a giant whiteboard in your room, a planner, or your hand (though that is not advised). Most often, your home base will be an app on your computer or phone. Having an app on all your electronic devices that syncs your tasks is extremely helpful, though if you're a more hands-on person a physical home base will work fine as well.
I personally use the application Things, which is available on Mac and iOS. It's not cheap, but it works really well and syncs promptly across its various platforms. I have a master list of tasks on my computer that also appears on my phone, and I can add and edit tasks from both devices. Other notable apps are iProcrastinate, Wunderlist, and Clear, which are all decidedly less expensive. Of course, there's always good ol' iCal if you like the calendar feel. Whichever platform you choose for your home base, make sure it's something that you'll always have with you.
Once you have a home base, start adding your tasks to it. Order your list of tasks by priority. For me, tests come first, projects second, quizzes third, homework fourth, extracurriculars fifth. If you have multiple tests, quizzes, homework assignments, etc, order them by class. So it should work out something like this: a test in your hardest class (or class that requires the most studying) will be the first thing on your task list, while a set of questions for your easiest class will come last. You should also save the fun stuff (yes- amazingly enough, there are enjoyable projects and assignments in High School) for last, that way you have something to look forward to after all the hard and boring stuff.
Another tip (and you're not going to like me for this): start your assignments EARLY. I know how excruciating it can be to sacrifice your free time for something that's not even due tomorrow, but trust me; when you finish an assignment three days early and stuff starts piling up as the week progresses, you'll have one less thing to do on Thursday night. And once you start doing stuff early, it gets easier and easier every time you do it. Proactivity, my friends. Proactivity.
When it's time to actually start doing your work (yes, this will inevitably happen), make sure you're as focused as possible. That way, you'll get more stuff done in less time. Tip number one: spend as little of your time on the computer as possible- the temptation to check Instagram or Facebook or play online games might be too great to resist, and that squashes your productivity. Of course most assignments have to be typed and/or researched online, so it's not always possible to avoid the machine.
If you have to be on a computer, take advantage of the numerous programs and applications available to keep you focused. If you're writing a paper, try a distraction-free writing program like iA Writer or OmmWriter for a full-screen page without any app icons or formatting buttons. If you're doing anything else online, I recommend using FocusAtWill. It's a free online music service with songs selected specifically for getting work done (with genres like classical, acoustic, and new age), and I find that it actually helps me focus.
Your environment can also help you focus. Always pick a spot to do work where you don't feel distracted by anything (for most people this is somewhere quiet, like a library or their bedroom). It's rarely a good idea to do homework on your bed, especially if your assignment is particularly boring and it's 9:30 at night- you might just fall asleep, and that's totally not what we're going for here.
That doesn't sound too bad, does it? Just have a singular place where you write down everything you have to get accomplished, arrange all your tasks by difficulty and importance level and create an environment conducive to focusing, and you'll be ready to own all your work. Of course if you have any questions about organization or good study habits, feel free to ask me a question.
Too often, as students fall back into the swing of a new semester, a certain degree of monotony begins to seep each week. We are familiar with our own patterns: wake up, put on a permutation of our school uniform, drive to school, class-to-class lessons with quick hallway chats in between, after school activities, homework, sleep. Rinse and repeat. However school does not have to be a re-run of Saved by The Bell (or for our younger readers, Ned's Declassified). I am writing about two true and tested ways to help you embrace the now and love every day (even Mondays).
1) Be a human being, not a human doing.We have all had rough days. Those days when you get home and when your parents ask how your day went you flippantly respond, "it was ok". Perhaps you were preoccupied with friend problems, a test that didn't go very well, and/or copious amounts of homework. We may not realize it, but it shows. Last year I was having one of those days, my feet dragged a little more than usual between my classes and I wasn't smiling and greeting everyone that walked by as normal. One of my best friends, Manny, lightly grabbed my arm and what he said completely turned around my day (and has still clearly stuck with me now). "Valentina, why are you sad? Look around you: life is so beautiful!" From then on I have made a conscious effort to realize just how much I have, how blessed I am, and how beautiful life is. Things that seem life shattering in middle school and high school are so trivial in the long run. We should all look around us and realize this.
2) Live with your eyes open.
Cross-country promised not to be an easy sport, but that was why I joined it. Dr. Williams coached our team and each practice was an extremeworkout. I remember one particular practice in which consisted of a 2-mile ladder following an intense warm-up. After the first mile, I will admit, I wanted to give up. I paced around the track with my hands on my hips and looked up, rather than solely in. My teammates were all surely thinking the same thing: their eyes were glazed over with a mixture of tears and sweat. But when Dr. Williams blew her whistle for us to get back on the starting line, we all did without hesitation. Sometimes when school and personal activities seem overwhelming we shut out those around us. We do not take the time to notice that others are struggling too. Furthermore we do not look up to see our own personal Dr. Williams, standing with a whistle and tacit support for us to keep moving forward. Keep your eyes open and realize you aren't the only person standing at the starting line of your second mile.
As always talk to your family, friends, and teachers when life feels overwhelming or repetitive. Fill each day with what you love. Embrace the now and I wish you all the best of luck for this last semester!
Dear WPS Students:
If I had the chance to go back to middle school and high school there would be some things I would do differently. Although I am a teacher- and teachers love learning- we all didn't start off perfectly and I am certainly one of those. Here are some pieces of advice that I think will help you capitalize on your chances of making the most of your education and the time and resources in front of you all.
From a WPS teacher
Hi my name is Bella and I am an 8th grade student at Windermere Prep. One of my greatest passions in life is dance. I find myself dancing almost everywhere I go. It is something that I could not live without. Each week I dance for about 10+ hours. I also attend certain dance competitions every few months, which means a lot of extra rehearsals. Sometimes I find it a little tricky to maintain a 4.0 GPA as well as attend all of my dance classes and rehearsals. However I seem to always find a way to make it work.
One tip I would give others who are struggling to juggle all of their extra curricular activities along with school is to stay organized. I would suggest keeping a planner to write all of your assignments down on. As well as keeping a few folders to organize any papers you receive from teachers. This way you do not lose any time due to searching for a lost paper or assignment. Another tip would be to get lots of sleep and eat healthy as well. Being tired or getting sick would only lead to more schoolwork piling up, which will make it much harder to balance school and your extracurricular activities.
My last tip is to get some of your schoolwork done over the weekend. If you wait until the week everything is due it will be extremely hard to complete everything on time and attend your extracurricular activities. Even spending an hour on your work over the weekend can make a huge difference. I know that all of these tips have definitely made it a lot easier for me to keep up with my schoolwork as well as dance, which is very important to me.
I truly do not know what I would do without dance. It has provided me with so many great opportunities that I am so thankful for. Through dance I can express myself and teach others. I have even gotten to work with an incredible nonprofit organization known as Dance Out Bullying and got to educate others about bullying through dance. I hope to one-day dance on Broadway as well as eventually own my own dance studio and teach others. I hope to have a positive impact on someone's life through dance. I also hope that all of my tips will help you maintain your busy schedule and allow you to follow your dreams and achieve your aspirations and goals.
During my time at Windermere Prep, my biggest challenge was definitely time management. Seeing that we are all surrounded by technology, it is easy to get carried away, and I am certain that others struggled with this issue as well. On the other hand, many of us become preoccupied with other extracurricular activities that take up more time than expected, and it seems now often forgotten that perhaps we have spent too much time with extracurriculars that it becomes near impossible to even cope with school work. However, with the right planning one can successfully manage their time between multiple activities and not have to stress out about school.
The greatest challenge may be allowing your extracurriculars cut into precious time that could be used studying. So create a schedule that revolves around how long these activities will take. Plan out a schedule of each subject. Assess how much time they will take to complete. Then prioritize. It would be useless to spend most of your time in a subject that you are already very familiar with, so I suggest quick reviews of the easy content (just enough to get you by for the time being, don't put it off so much to the point you fall behind). Then spend most of your time looking at the content that troubles you. Try to understand it. If you don't understand, be prepared to ask your teacher for help. Your teacher is your friend and will always be willing to help you out, so long as you make it clear to them that you need help.
Of course, too much studying can overwhelm one, so make time just to relax. Don't give yourself too much time, because then you will eventually come to regret it. Just give yourself the right amount to de-stress and do whatever pleases you. However, once it comes time to work, then work. Don't stop until your next planned break. And should a big test or exam be right around the corner, and then you must not take any breaks. You will need all the studying time, and doing anything other than studying will do you no good. You will have plenty of time after the exam to do whatever you want; until then, work!
If you utilize your time and these methods properly, then you will be successful. I will not pretend that it will be easy; it will not be easy, but this will help you tremendously.
I hope everyone has an amazing New Year! I would like to thank Valentina G., a 12th grade student mentor on our site, for suggesting blogging which will add a unique aspect to Reach A Student. This already proves the importantance of peer to peer help and support.
Our goal at Reach a Student is to help the students at Windermere as much as possible by providing tips and help from a student's perspective. Answering questions is a great way for students to connect and share with one another, however, the knowledge shared is limited by the questions asked. Blogging allows students to share their thoughts more freely and anyone can provide their peers with whatever information they think would be beneficial.
Since I believe that every student has some kind of insight that could be useful to others at WPS, anyone can contribute their own personal entries to the blog. I can even make your entry anonymous if you choose to. I also believe that the WPS teachers have valuable experience from when they were students (for example, how they faced and overcame an obstacle that a student might be facing today), so I reach out to all WPS faculty and hope you will contribute to our blog.
If you would like to submit a blog entry, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.