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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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!