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New Learning Strategists Help Students Unlock Their Learning Potential

Allie R., Staff Writer

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Middle schoolers sometimes feel like they are not studying or learning the right way.

Students have their own, different strategies for studying, which is a very important skill because students have many quizzes and tests.

Numerous study tools are available for the students to use, including note cards, Quizlet, study guides, notes from class, games and notes posted on Schoology.

Middle schoolers have a variety of favorites. Avery C., an eighth grade girl, said, “I like Quizlet a lot, and I also like just reading the notes that I took in class.”

Sixth grader Locke P. said, “I like to use the stickies on the computer and go on Schoology and look at what I need to study.”

The teachers usually give the students some study tools to use throughout the beginning of middle school. Although, they start making the students do more of their own studying towards the end of seventh grade and most of eighth grade to get the students ready for high school.

Office Hours is a great resource for the middle schoolers to get extra help from their teachers in a more productive environment. Students go to Office Hours to finish their homework, get help on a specific topic that they are struggling in, or to review for assessments.

Avery said, “Most of the time I think the teachers are more helpful during Office Hours than class.”

Every night, students have different amounts of homework and reviewing to do. Most middle schoolers take, on average, about one to two hours doing work.

Locke said, “I study for 30 minutes, and then take break and go again. When I’m doing homework, I just do it until I finish.”

Others spend more time studying when they have a test the next day. Avery said, “I usually spend an hour on homework and if I have a test or quiz the next day then I probably spend two hours in total.”

Reviewing for quizzes and tests in a group is a fun, social way to talk with and study with friends. This is a very popular strategy in the middle school because students can learn from what others have to say about the topic being studied.

Locke said, “It helps me understand what others think and if I am right or wrong.”

The learning strategists, Toi Curry and Cason Given, are a brand-new resource this year for the middle schoolers to go to. 

Dr. Curry came to Westminster in April of 2018 while Mrs. Given came as an employee early this year.

Mrs. Given said, “I came to Westminster, as an employee, in August of 2018 but actually spent 13 years here as student so it’s more like a homecoming to me.”

The learning strategists have always been interested in helping kids learn.

Dr. Curry took a neurobiology class in her junior year of undergrad and learned a lot about the brain. She then worked at Lindamood-Bell and learnedskanc about dyslexia. She then did her dissertation on dyslexia.

Mrs. Given has always been interested in learning and knew that she wanted to be a teacher when she was a student at Westminster. Her first teaching job was at a school similar to Schenck outside of New York.

“I worked with kids that had dyslexia and other language based disabilities and became very passionate about doing that,” said Mrs. Given.

Most students do not know exactly what the Learning Strategists do in the Middle School. Dr. Curry and Mrs. Given work together a lot although they have different roles.

Dr. Curry works with parents and outside professionals as well as with the students and teachers. She helps them understand how they learn and how their brains work.

Mrs. Given helps students unlock their potential and understand how they learn best.

This year they have been teaching the sixth grade Spanish classes a Meet Your Brain Course. In this course, students learn about neuroanatomy, how their brains work, and concrete study tips.

The learning strategists give the students many helpful study tips to use. Both of them love to use notecards, but like different forms.

Dr. Curry said, “I like to use color coded notecards. I am also very big on being nice and calm when you study so when you go into the test, you will be in the same emotional state when taking the test.”

Mrs. Given’s favorite study tool is a unique type of notecard called a “concept card.” This includes the definition, an example, a picture, and a connection to another term.

Overall, the middle has numerous study tools that are available for all types of learners, and the learning strategists are a helpful addition to the Middle School.

Photo by Allie R.

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New Learning Strategists Help Students Unlock Their Learning Potential