Study Guides

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Historyteaching, Aug 15, 2009.

  1. Historyteaching

    Historyteaching Cohort

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    Aug 15, 2009

    I'm trying to find a good way to give a study guide to my 9th and 10th graders.

    How do any of you set up your study guides? do you give one or just tell the students what things/areas will be on tests?

    I teach social studies. Our tests are somewhat from a standardized test that comes with the textbooks, I modify it a bit using only MC and short answer/open response that I make up. The textbooks come with a few different versions of tests-I used to give one version as a study guide the other as a test-but it confused students, because the questions weren't the same (not even same thing worded differently).

    I'd love to hear some practices that other middle/high school teachers do along the lines of study guides to help their students.

    Thanks!
     
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  3. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    Aug 16, 2009

    I don't give study guides. Instead, I give them a set of review questions that I expect them to answer (in at least a paragraph) to help them prepare for the test. The questions are usually very broad, and hit multiple elements of the test.

    For example, in a unit on Greece, I might ask: "What contributions did the Greeks make to Western Civilization? Explain at least 3".

    In the past, I also gave vocabulary lists of terms, people, and ideas to expect to see on the tests. I'm not sure if I will continue to do this though, because the vast majority of kids didn't use it.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Aug 16, 2009

    I give my kids a very specific outline of what the test will look like:

    6 questions, 3 points each, on factoring
    4 questions, 5 points each, on quadratic formula... and so on.

    Otherwise, 1st period is walking in blind, and 9th period has the exact outline of the test. I think it's only fair to provide that outline to all my classes.

    Of course, each of my classes has a different set of questions, so sharing info between classes or over lunch merely confirms the outline, not the actual test.
     
  5. krysmorgsu

    krysmorgsu Cohort

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    Aug 16, 2009

    I do what Alice does. I tell my students, "There will be a section on Translating sentences, with 5 different sentences" and so forth. I try to give them an example, too, especially if it's a section they haven't had before. I also try to review everything. Sometimes I review using questions I make up; sometimes I use questions actually on the test. Funny thing is, many students get wrong the questions I gave them that were on the test...I feel that says something about who was paying attention and who feels review is a chance to slack off.
     
  6. Historyteaching

    Historyteaching Cohort

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    Aug 16, 2009

    Last year after I stopped using the other tests as guides, I would tell the students that there would be questions about this person or event. On the day before the test I make it a review day the entire period and ask question from the test and from the book just to keep it different. Krysmorgsu, I found that out as well, some still got questions wrong...I did have a few say that they remembered questions from the review time and knew the answers.

    it seems that many don't give an actual old-time study guide-I wasn't sure if I was 'out of the loop' Makes me feel a bit better that I am doing a bit what each of you are doing-I know many of you are veteran teachers.
     
  7. CarrieB

    CarrieB Companion

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    Aug 16, 2009

    I teach US Hist, my department comes up with what we call "unit plans". We have a set of state standards that will be on the stidents end of year test (state given).

    Our standards have a sentence like:

    "Examine the economic and philosophical differences (e.g., sectionalism, popular sovereignty, states’ rights debate, nullification, abolition, and tariffs) between the North and South, as articulated by Daniel Webster and John C. Calhoun."

    Very long, cumbersome, hard for students to understand. So we break it up by listing in the main statements (we might cover 3-5 standards per unit) and then list out the key terms, sorted by people, events, term.

    Examine the economic and philosophical differences between the North and South.

    PEOPLE
    Daniel Webster
    John C. Calhoun

    TERMS
    sectionalism
    popular sovereignty
    states’ rights debate
    nullification
    abolition
    tariffs

    Students get the sheet about a week before the test. They can go through and identify the people/terms/events. They can also write an essay or an essay outline for the standard statement.

    They day before the test, I usually play a reveiw game with them, they love to compete in groups, so we might do quiz game (NEVER using exact questions from the test), board races, matching, crossword compitition, etc.
     
  8. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Aug 16, 2009

    My tests are set up with a list of key terms/people/places, concepts to know, and then a list of broad questions. I also then have a list of the types of questions and how many of them that will be on the test. For my final I actually give them a packet of questions that will be on their test (some of them will) and identifications (some of which will be on their test).
     
  9. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Aug 17, 2009

    My study guides are what I wish my tests could be. Our tests are all standardized, multiple-choice tests.

    My study guides are usually a list of 10 terms (people, places, etc.) from the unit that must be indentified (more than defined) in complete sentences. I then typically have a section with 3-5 short answer questions and 1-2 essay questions.

    The study guide is far more difficult than the test and it exposes them to everything that will be on it.
     
  10. jessi.lewis

    jessi.lewis Rookie

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    Aug 18, 2009

    This may be an asinine question, but where do you guys get these standardized tests? Are they a state required/district required thing? Why do some school have them for Social Studies while others do not?
     
  11. iluvteachin

    iluvteachin Rookie

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    Aug 18, 2009

    I do the same thing a PP mentioned. I develop a review sheet the students must answer. I also grade it as a "take home quiz" so the students will take it seriously. Way I see it is it helps their grade if they actually put effort into it and they always do better on the test.
     
  12. Historyteaching

    Historyteaching Cohort

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    Aug 18, 2009

    Most come with the textbooks..and it depends on if the school requires it or the teacher wants to use it. Some districts require it for all teachers..
     
  13. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Aug 18, 2009

    We do not require the use of standardized tests in my department. I dont't even order them with the texts. I don't allow them to be used.
     
  14. Soccer Dad

    Soccer Dad Cohort

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    Aug 18, 2009

    My study guides are exactly as the other posters mentioned: a combination of key terms that must be explaned, identified, described, and defined (I don't like to use the word defined as students will use the horrid textbook glossaries) / key questions (these are the unit objectives expanded into short response questions) / sometimes I do sample multiple choice questions (normally, this is only for my Regents-level classes and I use SchoolIsland, or castlelearning as it is now called) / I list the set up of the test for the same reason Alice gave
     
  15. Soccer Dad

    Soccer Dad Cohort

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    Aug 18, 2009

    Oh, and I think it's great that you no longer use the textbook tests as study guides. But I also think you should consider getting rid of them as your tests, too. 1) They're WAY too easy 2) They can't possibly cover the stuff you did in class unless you go directly by the book and don't place emphasis on some things more than others (i.e. I spend a lot of class time on the colonial reactions to the British actions; therefore, a huge chunk of their test is on that, rather than simply identifying the Stamp Act, Quartering Act, etc.) and 3) They...just...suck
     
  16. Historyteaching

    Historyteaching Cohort

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    Aug 19, 2009

    We have to use the standardized tests. We can modify them to some point..basically we don't use the T/F and or FIB...but we are 'encouraged' to use those and then we can add in any additional MC, Short answer and of course open respone questions.
     
  17. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Aug 19, 2009

    I couldn't say it better myself. Some teachers in my school don't understand why a book multiple choice class isn't a suitable assesment for a US II Honors class.
     
  18. kidsandpups

    kidsandpups Companion

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    Aug 19, 2009

    Our English series comes with pre-tests for each chapter. I found that they just freaked the kids out about all the stuff they didn't know, so I use them as study guides. Before the test they complete them on their own, and then go back and answer questions they didn't know using their books/notebooks. Then they spend a class period correcting them after I've marked the ones they got wrong. Then we go over them as a class and explain the ones that they still don't get. We put page numbers/note dates next to the questions they don't understand so they can particularly study that info. It takes a long time but this is for 6-8th graders who are still learning how to study effectively. Hopefully the seventh and eighth graders won't need to spend as much time learning the process this year since they did it last year with me.
     
  19. Soccer Dad

    Soccer Dad Cohort

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    Aug 19, 2009

    I should also add that study guides are more of a "bonus" than they are necessary. Technically, students should just study everything discussed in class (average level), or read in the textbook (honors/AP). Meaning, you don't have to always give a study guide. Maybe work in a review game or a "make your own review sheet" type thing. A lot of my coworkers do the "test ticket" review sheet. On an index card, students write down as many important things as they wish for the test. Sometimes they can use it on the test, or receive +1, +2, +3, etc. depending on quality of the card.
     

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