That is the word most students in Junior and Leaving Certificate will hear upon returning to school yesterday. The preparation exam, the trial exam, the practice exams – all phrases used to describe the upcoming mocks.
It is a time for students to prepare and practice the study and work they have been doing over the past two or three years (depending on their exams). What students need to realise is these set of exams are equally as important as the JC and LC. They will offer students a chance to practice and time themselves doing the questions and subjects they either love or dread.
Make sure you have breakfast. If breakfast is something that is skipped (my students or teachers) try smoothies. You can customise them and pack them full of vitamins which will boost your immune system, espically vital with the flu and weather at this time of year!
Make a checklist for each subject. For example, Junior Certificate CSPE – Students are advised to bring some colouring pencils if they plan on tackling the poster questions.
The school year is always fast moving and full of exciting new projects and dates that can bring a subject or classroom alive. Some of the big dates to take note of for the upcoming year can be found below.
With most schools now a month into the school year, the initial back to school rush has now hopefully ceased.
Some apps and websites which have really taken on board feedback and used the summer months to elove and adapt to the classroom can be found below!
Developed by Luke Saunders and web developer Keith Wright studyclix.com has made a big impact on how students can revise exam papers and questions. With all subjects sub-divided into categories and access to the solutions and marking scheme a drop down feature, it has brought revision into a whole new realm.
Over the summer slight changes were made to improve the overall use of the website and have adapted how you can print off the questions and solutions. Though these may seem small, these changes have been a game changer.
More and more students and teachers are signing up with studyclix, which is evident by the growing number of comments and revision notes being added to the website on a daily basis.
(If you have time there was an excellent piece in the Irish Times recently about Studyclix.com. Well worth the read http://www.irishtimes.com/news/education/the-best-online-study-tools-students-give-their-verdict-1.2810540)
Ted is an excellent resource which can be used and outside the classroom.
One other great reason to use TED in a classroom is it can be downloaded onto an device that has an internet connection. It is accessible to all students at all levels and they can be encouraged to explore other topics and interests.
One of hidden gems of publication companies such as folens and edcodigitail is the ability to project your students textbook.
One of the new features which is slowly progressing into the classroom is the online editions of textbooks and workbooks. These online resources have been developed for schools which replaced textbooks with netbook, laptops, chrome books and ipads.
However, even if your school has not opted to use online textbooks, it is still a great teaching tool in the classroom. The ability to have the online edition allows for teachers to have access to the textbook at all times and add notes and highlight keys words for students in advance.
One feature of edcodigtail books is the sticky note addition which allows you to add in notes to an additionally page. This is ideal if you want to jump between screens smoothly. For example, when teaching the Numberg rallies to third year history students, the URL can be saved on a sticky note feature and then with one right clock you are watching the numberg rallies. This feature allows for effortless and seamless teaching.
Furthermore, one feature of edcodigitail which has caught my attention recently has been their huge lists of complied online free resources accessible to teachers. For history in particular they have a huge list of websites which all neatly categorised for each section of the syllabus. Some websites have even been organised into subcategories for the larger sections.
One other tool which proves time and time again as an interactive and great resource in the classroom is online quizzes. These interactive quizzes promote active learning in the classroom and can be a great way to revise sections.
Also, as these online resources are updated regularly it makes it very current!
As October comes to the end and mid-term is in sight, most students and teachers are turning towards revision and studying for the upcoming house exams and Christmas exams.
For some students, there is the added stress of the UCAS applications due in at the end of October. With these exams and deadlines looming many students are finding it more and more difficult to find time to relax and exercise outdoors as the evenings become shorter.
One way which this can be combated is through meditation. It is a good way for students to relax, focus their minds and take time for themselves amongst their busy schedule. However, doing focused meditation in the classroom versus being at home or on the go. It is a lot more difficult for students to do at home as they find they are more distracted by the mounting work they have to do and catching up with family and friends in the evening.
Some of the apps and websites that students have tried and found effective is the following:
Calm.com is a free app that can be download or accessed via their website https://www.calm.com/. Highly recommend resource for any classroom, especially even to have background music or sounds to focus students.
It has a wide range of features making it ideal for the classroom.
Additionally it has a wide variety of sensory varieties for students – audio listeners can listen to the guided meditation, those who are more sensory can watching the changing background and foreground of each meditation.
Meditation Timer Pro
Though this is an app you have to pay for and there is plenty of free alternatives for people to download and use, it is an app which is worth paying for. The main selling feature of this app is it allowed you to customise each session by giving you the choice to set how long the meditiation is for.
Smiling Mind is a highly recommend app which can be seen used by many different people and talked about by many different people. This app is excellent as it was designed with the purpose to increase happiness and compassion in the world one day at a time.
Of course there is plenty of apps, websites and resources that can be used in the classroom. These are only a few recommend ones that have proved useful!
Recently, trying to think of how to incorporate web2.0 technology into the lives of students without feeling like it’s always to do with homework or a specific task.
With exams looming on the horizon – I noticed a few apps which were Starbucks pick of the week which could helps students during these next few weeks!
Starbucks pick of the week is free for that week (then usually they go back to their full normal retail price). Due to the app only being free for the week it was a great incentive for students to download the apps that week as opposed to taking their time to downloaded which usually ended up in students not downloading the apps and trying them,
Some of the apps which the students and myself tasked ourselves to try are outlined as below.
It helps you turn the little goals in life into good daily habits. It is a great way for example to get into the habit of practicing a new language for ten minutes each day. I would highly recommend Streaks for anyone who is trying to encourage students to get into the habit of doing ten extra ten minutes of a particular subject which they need work that little bit harder at.
Pause has fast become an app that has I been able to use in both in the classroom and outside the classroom. It is a simple, yet very powerful app. It allows you to take a moment to pause, collect your thoughts and start afresh. Furthermore, when teaching meditation this app is a great app for students to download and use at home. Some students have said they feel they are more focused as they are able to take five or ten minutes out in the evening time and meditate. One other great feature about this app if you are pitching it to students is they are following the instructions and light while meditating which will help them to focus if they feel they will not be able to meditate at home.