Helping Students Finish Strong
Spring can be a stressful time for students as they prepare for end-of-year exams, projects, and presentations. Parents and guardians can help their children finish the year on a high note by consistently reviewing Infinite Campus with them and encouraging them to practice healthy self-care. We compiled tips on these topics from Danette Rieper, WDMCS learning support and family engagement coordinator, and Dr. Kristine Milburn, professional development/curriculum facilitator for gifted/talented programming and English teacher.
Using Infinite Campus to Prepare for Finals
Infinite Campus allows students and their families to see their grades, attendance, and more, but it is most helpful when students and their parents or guardians access it together regularly. Rieper recommends that families sit down to look at Infinite Campus once a week. Instead of just looking at grades, families should discuss scores, missing work, and upcoming assignments. With final exams and projects approaching, families should make sure they are aware of the students’ grades. To prepare specifically for final exams and projects, families can review previous test or project scores.
- Test and project scores that are higher or lower than normal
- Great job on your test last week. What are some ways you studied that helped you?
- This project grade was lower/higher than normal. What did you do differently?
- I see your final project is due on this date. What is your plan for the project?
- Is there a study group you can join that would help you prepare for your final?
For more Infinite Campus tips, check out our August article, “Using Infinite Campus With Your Child.”
Supporting Healthy Studying
Dr. Milburn conducted award-winning research that investigated the socioemotional impact on students taking four or more AP courses concurrently. Her research offered recommendations that can help all students and provides tips for parents. Here are six techniques to support healthy studying and stress management:
- Take Brain Breaks: Your mind works better when refreshed. Give your mind a rest for 5-10 minutes when studying. Be sure to time each break to avoid adding stress due to long periods of inactivity. Avoid technology outlets, which cause users to take longer breaks than planned. Good options for brain breaks include puzzles, walks, and stretching.
- Remember to Exercise: Physical activity–especially outside, fresh air activity–“wakes up” the brain and sharpens focus by increasing blood flow. Walk the dog, take a quick power walk or jog, or do some situps and pushups. For her classes, Dr. Milburn often guided students through yoga and mindful stretching instead of “cramming” the day before a big test.
- Eat Balanced Meals: Dr. Milburn encourages students to eat breakfast and aim for options with more protein and fiber than sugar. Avoid skipping meals or replacing balanced meals with snacks high in sugar or sodium. Read labels and focus on healthy options with protein and omega-3s. A snack of walnuts, dried blueberries, and dark chocolate contains more brain power nutrients than a candy bar.
- Quench Your Thirst: Water is always the best option for staying hydrated. Avoid high-sugar, high-sodium, and caffeinated options like soda and energy drinks. Failure to appropriately hydrate can lead to headaches, stomachaches, and more, all which decrease a student’s ability to focus.
- Catch Some Zs: Students often sacrifice sleep to finish assignments and study; but the more tired bodies and minds are, the less effective studying will be. Strive for 8 hours of sleep each day. Even 15-20 minute power naps have great restorative properties.Try Something New: Alternative therapies (art, pet, music, aroma, etc.) have been shown to lower stress and blood pressure in many situations. Iowa State University introduced pet therapy before finals in recent years, and Clive Learning Academy students successfully campaigned for a therapy dog as part of their New Tech real-world connection this year.
- Try Something New: Alternative therapies (art, pet, music, aroma, etc.) have been shown to lower stress and blood pressure in many situations. Iowa State University introduced pet therapy before finals in recent years, and Clive Learning Academy students successfully campaigned for a therapy dog as part of their New Tech real-world connection this year.