April 2018 Newsletter

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Study with a Tomato

With AP and final exams on the horizon, students are grappling with the ever-present dilemma of having too much to learn and not enough time. I know this feeling; it can be debilitating.

What if you could win this battle with a simple technique? Would you be willing to try it?

A few weeks ago on the way to school, I heard an interview with Barbara Oakley, engineer, researcher, author, and teacher of "Learning How to Learn", one of the most popular MOOCs on Coursera. See her TED talk if you'd rather not take the course or read the book.

Her answer to the question, "What is the one piece of advice would you give students to improve study habits?" she suggested the Pomodoro Technique.

There are six steps to the Pomodoro Technique:

  1. Decide on the task to be done and eliminate all distractions (phones, etc).
  2. Set a timer (traditionally to 25 minutes).
  3. Work on the task.
  4. End work when the timer rings and put a checkmark on a piece of paper.
  5. Take a short break (3–5 minutes), then return to step 2.
  6. After four 25-minute sessions, take a longer break (15–30 minutes), reset your checkmark count to zero, then go to step 1.

It's so simple it's almost laughable.

The reasons this works are rooted in neuroscience, but to keep it simple:

1. Our attention span is limited.
2. Much of our learning actually happens when we are NOT concentrating intensely.
3. "by deliberately scheduling a focus event, you push out other concerns from your working memory, effectively clearing space for the future use." (4)

I will be facilitating this approach at upcoming study sessions, but I encourage you to do so on your own.

If you're wondering about the significance of the word "pomodoro," do some research!

1. https://francescocirillo.com/pages/pomodoro-technique
2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomodoro_Technique
3. https://barbaraoakley.com/
4. https://medium.com/@andrew_lucker/why-does-the-pomodoro-technique-work-so-well-66190ea8ddf

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Thurston Updates

  • We now offer study sessions on Monday and Thursday in the media center from 2:45 - 4:00. Click here to connect with a study buddy.
  • College acceptance letters are STILL rolling in for our Eagle Scholars. So far our seniors have been accepted to U of M, Emory University, Michigan State, Kalamazoo College, University of Alabama, University of Oregon, Albion, Alma, Michigan Tech, Central Michigan, Ferris State, Wayne State, Eastern Michigan, Grand Valley, Bowling Green, Capital University, Western Michigan Concordia University, and U of M Dearborn. They'll be hearing more (hopefully good) news in the coming weeks.
  • The scholarship fundraiser on Monday, April 23rd at Buffalo Wild Wings on 6 Mile in Livonia was a huge success. Many wings were consumed. We raised almost $400 and were happy to see so many South Redford staff, students, and alumni!
  • On April 23rd, Several Eagle Scholars participated in a Lawmakers Forum with Senator Knezek and Representative Love on April 23. They asked some tough questions and proved that just because you can't vote doesn't mean you don't have a voice.
  • On May 10th, several Eagle Scholars will be participating in Law Day at the State Supreme Court in Lansing. Students will tour the chambers, meet with judges and members of law enforcement, listen to oral arguments in order to deepen the understanding of our state justice system and explore possible careers.
  • On April 30th, college consultant Michelle Machielle spoke to several of our students about how to get into and stay in college. Here's some info from the session. If you would like a video of her presentation, let me know and I will send it over.
  • The U of M Ann Arbor visit is May 24th. We will be touring the campus, eating lunch, and attending a presentation about what it takes to get into U of M.
  • SENIORS: The Eagle Scholars Award Application is due May 13th.
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Pierce Updates

6th Grade ESP

Upon returning from spring break, 6th grade Scholars traveled to the University of Michigan Ann Arbor to participate in the Place Out Of Time Conference. Students were tasked with ruling on an Italian Supreme Court case from 2015. The students took the task seriously and rose to the occasion, actively contributing to the discussion at the conference and raising many points adults hadn't considered. Many students dressed up as their historical figure and brought them to life in outstanding ways. Some of these characters included Pocahontas, Barack Obama, and Hermione Granger. The University of Michigan faculty praised the scholars and hope that we bring just as a good of a group next year. Great Job!

7th Grade ESP

The Eagle Scholars Program welcomes back Mrs. DeMauriac! Since her return, students have gotten back into the groove of their science class and have been working hard. We are confident that they will finish the year strong!

Many of the 7th grade scholars attended the 7th grade class trip this month to Washington D.C. The students traveled by bus from Pierce to our nation's Capitol. During their visit, students had the opportunity to check out Smithsonian Museums, tour the Capitol, and take a bus tour of the city.

8th Grade ESP

Throughout the month of April, 8th grade scholars have been taking the M-Step. This comprehensive test serves as an indicator for where our students are in comparison to other students across the state of Michigan. The Eagle Scholars Program is extremely confident in the ability of its 8th grade scholars and thanks them for their flexibility this month as we had to rearrange the M-Step from its original schedule.

8th-grade Scholars have also begun to read Catcher in the Rye in Language Arts. While this book explores a lot of themes, the students have risen to the occasion and great discussions have followed. It is not uncommon to hear students discussing the main character, Holden Caulfield, at lunch or during passing time.

General ESP

6th grade and 7th grade scholars will be taking the M-Step throughout the month of May. While the scholars fare better than most it is always important to remember a few things. First, make sure they are getting enough sleep to perform at their very best. Second, eat breakfast in the morning; it is the most important meal of the day. Finally, relax. No single test will ever define you! Go Lucklars!

The Pierce Showcase is scheduled for the evening of May 22nd. This is chance for students to show off the great work they've done throughout the school year and it is a night you won't want to miss. The scholars have a lot to show, whether it be a t-shirt they've designed, a research project, or an art exhibit. Come see their amazing work.

Pierce Middle School hosted a Town Hall Forum with State Senator Knezek and State Representative Leslie Love. Students across all three grade levels participated in the Town Hall. They discussed issues like school safety, standardized testing, respect, and school funding. Each student that spoke also offered solutions to the problems they saw. Senator Knezek and Representative Love were blown away by our students' thoughtfulness and commented that in their time in public office neither of them had such a unique opportunity to hear from students. The Town Hall was organized by scholars Jewel Chattam and Kharye Williams, with many Scholars sharing their thoughts and concerns as well.

Looking for ways to keep your Scholar engaged this summer? Check out these enrichment activities located throughout Michigan.

"A good education is another name for happiness."- Ann Plato

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