The Companion to The Little Book On Line
for Teachers and Tutors
A Word To Teachers and Tutors
The Little Book and The Companion are wonderful tools to help prepare students for the citizenship portion of Ohio's Proficiency Test. Like any tools, they have to be used with care and thought. These two resources should not be turned into busy work by students, teachers, or tutors. Giving a list of definitions to complete, multiple choice questions to answer, or worksheets to complete will be of little help unless learning takes place. Teachers and tutors must work together with their students.
First of all, talk to your students about what it takes to pass the test. Some are afraid, some are frustrated, and some have little confidence. Some have reading and test-taking problems. None of these problems is insurmountable and the proficiency test is not going away. Students must decide to master the information and teachers and tutors can help.
Students need to understand that they must learn the information in The Little Book, not just read and complete assignments. Being able to say "I did my work!" will not be enough. The average person forgets 50% of newly learned information in 2 days, 80% in 3 days, if there is no review. STUDENTS MUST STUDY. They must continually review. They must develop and practice their study skills. They must master the information in The Little Book. Make preparation for the test their "Mission Possible." Unite your class behind that theme or a similar one such as "No struggle, no progress!"
Teachers and tutors can stress review by asking students to complete assignments a second time. For example, Unit N asks students to identify a phrase as characteristic of a monarchy, dictatorship, or representative democracy. After the assignment is completed and reviewed in class, it could be given again as classwork or homework. The characteristics could be scrambled and given to students as bellwork or in a "Jeopardy" review game. There are many applications and examples. Don't hesitate to reword or rework those in The Companion and develop some of your own. Or, ask your students to design an assignment or quiz for fellow classmates.
Teachers and tutors need to help students learn memory techniques. After presenting, explaining, or discussing important information, ask students: How are you going to remember that? Ask students that question often and teach them memory techniques such as using cartoons, charts, symbols and diagrams. Such visuals become "triggers," which help fire our memory. Several lessons in The Companion, such as F & G: Branches of Government and J & K: Laws- Making, Amending, and Removing, focus on such methods. Ask students to develop their own symbols and diagrams to be shared with the class.
Below are some diagrams and symbols. How many can you identify? (Answers are included in the key.)
Teach students to be better test-takers. Analyze the multiple choice questions provided. The first step is to read the question carefully. Identify the subject(s) and the verb(s). Watch for adjectives and adverbs. The answer to most questions is in understanding what the question is asking. The second step is to read all possible answers carefully.
Use riddles and "dud" jokes to teach students how to analyze questions. You definitely will get laughs and groans. Soon your students will take the riddles and jokes as a challenge and start analyzing the questions. Keep reminding students that the answer to the question is in understanding what the question is asking. Below are some samples. How many of the riddles below can you answer? (Answers are included in the key.)
- How far can a dog run into the woods?
- What word begins with "t," ends with "t," and has "t" in the middle of it?
- Is there a fourth of July in England?
- How many birthdays does the average person have?
- If you take two apples from three apples, how many apples do you have?
- What happens when you throw a white stone into the Red Sea?
- Why do firemen wear red suspenders?
- Which weighs more: a ton of feathers or a ton of steel?
- How many animals of each species did Moses take on the ark?
- I have two U.S. coins in my hand. Their total value is 15 cents. One of the coins is not a nickel. What are the two coins?
I hope The Companion helps you help your students. It has worked well for me. If you have comments, questions, ideas, and insights to share, please send feedback.
Let's work together.
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