With pandemic-driven disruptions ongoing, the prospect of heading back to school may feel overwhelming. Over 50 weeks of learning were lost to school closures due to COVID-19; now, students, parents, and teachers must adjust to new teaching and learning methods—from completely remote to hybrid to 100% in class—and focus on closing educational gaps.
Heading back to school with a solid game plan and an attitude to match can make all the difference. And we’ve got your back.
Streamline information collection using templates
Managing the overload of back-to-school information can prove tricky. Faced with a constant stream of data and no central place to collect it, notes are going to end up in random folders on your phone, jotted down on Post-it® notes between books, perhaps even stuck to the fridge. You can streamline the madness by creating a central hub to capture all the important details.
Once you have a strategy for collecting information, organizing it in a manner that’s easily accessible becomes the challenging part. It’s crucial to create a note-taking system that works for you. Those who have been there and done that recommend using a combination of colors, diagrams, and pictures to distinguish between different topics, information, ideas, and important points. You should identify clear categories for subjects, classes, activities, or projects; differentiate crucial information from supporting material; and integrate visual tools such as mind maps or diagrams.
Power Tip: You can turn any note you already have into a template, and reuse over and over again. Students can quickly create custom templates for each type of class or activity (lectures, lab work, group discussions, etc.). Just click the Template button when creating a new note and instantly choose from your personal collection of templates or browse the pre-loaded gallery.
Power Tip: Use the filtered notes widget to view the information you need in an instant. Establish a consistent way to organize your information by creating a logical notebook structure, defining a set of reusable tags, and establishing naming conventions. Not only is this useful for filtering various projects but you can also easily locate your study notes or lesson plans by subject or by a specific theme.
Collaborate effectively with each other
When effective two-way teacher-parent collaboration exists, students are more likely to participate in class, complete homework, demonstrate a positive attitude towards school, and achieve better grades.
While learning spaces and teacher-parent communication have moved online, there still needs to be consistency, collaboration, and an effort to move beyond event-based engagement. Using a single digital app for information sharing allows teachers to keep parents in the loop about all aspects of a student’s progress. It facilitates the sharing of report cards, assessment feedback, lesson outcomes, and homework.
With Evernote, teachers can store samples of student work, behavioral notes, and a record of parent communication in student e-portfolios. This way, educators can easily update each child’s progress in one dedicated hub without having to rummage through a pile of papers to find Billy’s reading score from last week. This allows for quick access to stats and notes to assess progress or highlight areas that need improvement.
Power Tip: Create a notebook in Evernote and click the Share button to invite parents or colleagues to view or contribute. Share screenshots, notebooks, homework guides, and weekly planners with students and parents for term preparation, and to guide parents in facilitating their child’s educational process. Only those with read access can view the folder, so you don’t have to worry about sharing sensitive or personal information.
Stay on top of your schedule
Academic success is largely dependent on determination and self-discipline; “doing what you need to do, when you need to do it, whether you want to or not.”
Everyone starts out with high expectations, but to achieve high marks, it’s key to manage time effectively and be consistently productive. With classes, activities, socializing, and other extracurricular activities, important tasks can easily fall by the wayside.
This is where the “curve of forgetting” comes in. It’s a phenomenon that dates back to 1885, but is as relevant to today’s study habits as it was then. The gist is this: The first time you hear a lecture or study something new, you retain up to 80% of what you’ve just learned—but only if you review the material within 24 hours. Fortunately, scientists say, this effect is cumulative; so after a week, you may retain 100% of the same information after only five minutes of review. Generally, psychologists agree this type of interval studying—as opposed to “cramming”—is best, and that students should study closer to the day they learned the material than the day of the test.
A time-management or scheduling system—with the ability to capture digital information (text, audio, pictures) from multiple platforms storing it either locally or in the ‘cloud’—will not only get you organized from the beginning but also keep you on track to accomplish your goals.
Sure, you may move forward without a plan, but not necessarily in the right direction. And since there is no one-size-fits-all time-management approach, you need to develop a plan that suits you. One that is feasible, reasonable, and, most importantly, flexible.
Power Tip: Customize Evernote to support your particular time-management strategy. Try personalizing your Home layout to reflect your schedule’s various categories (class, work, sports, etc.) or adding shortcuts to your sidebar for easy access to frequently used content, such as tags for each of your subjects.
Scheduling strategies and time-management tips
To manage your time effectively you first need to define your goals. Do this by using assignments and examination dates as a deadline and create a schedule around achieving those goals successfully.
Semester Plan – Your semester plan is a broad overview of class times, activities, events, and should enable you to see the bigger picture of the goals you are working toward. When you are able to see your activities and responsibilities all laid out together, it’ll be easier to spot if your schedule is overloaded or if you are mismanaging your time.
Monthly Overview – Create a monthly overview to keep track of assignment dates, mid-terms, sporting events, and exam dates. This gives you a realistic idea of the time available to prepare and how to prioritize tasks to stay focused on goals.
A Weekly Priority List – It may take a little time on a Sunday to prioritize the activities and assignments of the week ahead, but you know what they say: failing to plan is planning to fail. Prepare a weekly priority list to stay up-to-date with classes, assignments, reading, and research required, and schedule specific times to achieve these tasks to maintain accountability. Listing what needs to be done is useless without having a plan of action to follow through on.
These time allotments in your schedule will help determine the priority that each one should be accorded to maintain balance and achieve your goals.
Committed Time – To maintain a realistic outlook on the time you have available for extra activities be clear on the amount of time already taken up by class, work, commuting, family commitments, and exercise or other extracurricular activities.
Personal Time – You need time to take care of yourself so that you can function optimally. Your schedule needs to include time for self-care, sleeping, eating, and general chores.
Study Time – The two-for-one rule is a great guideline when it comes to studying. Schedule at least two hours of study time for each hour of class time. If you attend 12 hours of class per week, schedule an additional 24 hours of self-study time. Give more attention to subjects you find challenging. You will soon find the balance of the time required for each subject.
Power Tip: Already using Google Calendar? Connect it with your Evernote to make use of all the additional planning, organizing, note-taking, and sharing features. Create a task to build an action plan for each goal. This way, your scheduling and time management can all be done in Evernote.
Heading back to school requires determination and courage, but it can be an exciting prospect once you have an effective plan in place. So, gather your notes, don’t forget to schedule time every week to review your plan and your progress…and get ready to succeed.