“Is there a study guide?”
That’s the question that I’m often asked.
In my former life as a Social Studies teacher, I understood offering a study guide before a test. Students needed to recall lots of facts, which may not have had much relevance outside the classroom. It made sense to me that they would need a list of key vocabulary terms, names, locations, and concepts.
But, Math is different. There aren’t specific problems that students need to answer. There are many, many variations of certain concepts. Yes, there is essential vocabulary, but there are rarely straight out vocabulary questions on a Math test. There are no famous locations, dates, or people that students need to know in Math class.
Plus, my students have the chance to pay attention and ask questions during class, during homework completion, during homework check, during the quiz, and possibly even during the “second try” quiz. We always do some type of review game in class, and that’s another time students can pay attention and ask questions. So, I never felt like a study guide was needed.
But still, I get the “Is there a study guide?” question from time to time. And I guess it makes sense, because sixth graders are (in)famous for not telling their parents what we actually do in Math class. I did the same thing as a sixth grader, so I can’t blame them.
So, this year, I decided to explore what a Math study guide would look like. I’m attaching a pdf copy of my Chapter 1 Study Guide here. Feel free to download a copy and check it out. I will also post the original Word document here, in case you would like to modify it to suit your needs.
As you can see from the screenshot above, the study guide just covers the basics. As I was creating it, I thought of the countless curriculum maps that I have been forced to make over the years. The point of the curriculum maps is to
torture us teachers lay out each unit for the teacher. So I figured I would do a similar thing for my students.
Ideally, I would eventually like to include 3 additional sections.
The first would be a justification for each sample problem’s solution. There is certainly plenty of room to write out each step leading to the answer, and I know it would be beneficial.
The second revision would be to add 1 or 2 specific videos for each topic. At the topic, I included links to the 6th grade Khan Academy and Virtual Nerd video sites, but that still requires the user to look up each individual topic. Adding a column to the right with specific videos would be an excellent way for students and parents to learn even more.
The third addition would be a link to an enrichment project for that topic. I don’t know if that’s even possible, but hey, a teacher can dream!
But, creating these guides from scratch is going to take me a very long time, and I would like to see how well they work before I add these extra parts.
Will every student and parent take advantage of this resource? No. But at least I have led the horse to water, so to speak. It can only help, so I would really like to make this a focus this year.
Do you offer study guides for your students? If so, what do they look like? Please share your thoughts in the comments.