Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Papers, Presentations and Projects, Oh My! Tips to Survive the End of the Fall Semester

Papers, Presentations and Projects, Oh My!
Tips to Survive the End of the Fall Semester

by Mikey Smith, M.Ed

It is a ritual as old as the education system itself. The dreaded end-of-semester term paper (or book report, or research paper, or science project). Every year it goes just about the same way: the teacher assigns the paper or project and hands out a rubric or set of guidelines that probably seems simple to her, but seem like instructions for launching the space shuttle to you. There are notecards to be organized, books to be read, dioramas to be built, and sources to be cited. Everyone's life begins to revolve around this paper or project. Finally, as the deadline draws dangerously near, the unthinkable happens.

Unfortunately, the unthinkable can change from year to year, child to child, and assignment to assignment. One time, you might find yourself out of ink, paper, or Internet access altogether. Another time you might discover, while reading your student's paper at the last minute, that he or she has taken some liberties with sources cited (or not cited). Still worse, a family emergency might occur which requires you to be away from home so that your student is not able to finish a big assignment at all. Don't let this be your household this year. With the end of the first semester approaching, take some time to read these suggestions for success from veteran teachers.

Problem #1: Waiting Until the Last Minute
Hands down, teachers will tell you that this single factor is the root cause of most deadline disasters.

Don't let a far-off deadline assigned at the start of the school year lull you into believing that you have tons of time. In August and early September, most students (and their parents) are refreshed and revitalized, and feel like they can tackle the world. After the school year gets going, however, that energy starts to fade and most students, parents, and teachers are counting the MINUTES to the holiday break. What can you do?