Academy of Tucson Schools

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Mission Possible: Study Habits, Online Learning and Organization for Middle & High School

Tinsley Sinnott, our new Director of Student Services at Academy of Tucson has LOTS of insights to share when it comes to online learning and study tips. Read on to get informed and better prepared. You got this!

1. What are the most important study habits for HS/MS?

  • Find the right spot to work. Your work area should have good lighting, plenty of room to write, little to no distractions, and a comfortable chair. Lying in your bed with the lights off will not make you want to pay attention to lessons.
  • Time management is very important. Using a schedule to keep track of due dates will help. Work backwards from the due date to set a schedule for yourself when working on bigger projects. Check your schedule often and fill it in each day.
  • Make notes as you are reading over new material. Take notes in class. Taking notes does not mean writing down everything the teacher says. Summarize, paraphrase, write down the most important concepts and information.
  • Cramming - Don’t wait until the last minute to try to “cram” all the material needed for the test into your brain. Study a little each day. The more you see the material and work with it the better you will understand it.

2. Can implementing good study habits become easier? How?

  • Be consistent. Set times for yourself to study and try to study at the same time each day. Building habits takes time, so don’t expect to have it all down overnight. Keep a positive mindset, you can do this. It may not be easy at first but it will become second nature with time.

3. What tips for staying organized and on top of responsibilities can you offer?

  • Just like in school, maintain a folder for each class. This is where you should keep all of your notes and materials for the class.
  • Keep a planner. Keep consistent with inputting due dates. Each time a teacher posts a new assignment, write it in your planner.
  • Make checklists or to-do lists. Start with the harder assignments FIRST.

4. How should students stay actively engaged in their learning?

  • Participate. Get involved in the class discussions, ask questions, especially if you are not understanding. Attend extended day opportunities.

5. What to do when negative thoughts or burnout starts to creep in?

  • Be sure you are taking breaks. When you have the opportunity during the school day, step away from the computer for a bit. Just be sure that you are back to log into your next class :)
  • When classes are over and your studying is done for the day, put away the screens. Go for a walk, run, bike ride, or do something that interests you. Try to avoid looking at cellphone screens and televisions.

6. What are the biggest pitfalls to avoid?

  • Not asking questions. If you do not understand something the teacher is going over, ask. Chances are you are not the only one in the class not understanding. If you don’t want to ask in class, email them, message them, reach out to them in some way to receive help.
  • Not learning from your mistakes. If a teacher is reaching out to you to correct an assignment, listen to them - take notes on the corrections they are giving you.
  • Distractions - Social Media, Cell phones, and televisions can all be distractions that will keep you from studying.

Middle school PE teacher and his wife preparing for a workout online


7. How to address cyberbullying, feelings of isolation or frustration with something happening at home?

  • Parents, it is important to have open communication. Talk with your student about cyberbullying, what it is and what it looks like. Remind your student that bullying is wrong, no matter if it's in person or online. Having this conversation will allow students to feel more comfortable telling you if they have been cyberbullied or if they know someone that is. If your student comes to you about a cyberbullying incident, please let the school know as soon as possible.
  • Parents, you may want to be more vigilant about checking in with who and how your student is communicating with others online.
  • Students, if you are experiencing cyberbullying, or know someone that is, please report it. You can tell a parent, teacher, administrator, or other staff member. We are here for you!

About AOT

Since 1986, Academy of Tucson public charter schools partner rigorous, traditional curriculum in smaller and more innovative classrooms, ensuring an individualized education for every student. Academy of Tucson’s public charter school district comprises three schools – an elementary, middle and high school and regularly receives an “A” average rating from the state of Arizona.
Academy of Tucson is very proud of its 100% graduation rate. Come find your new school family with us!