Relax. There is plenty of time to get everything done. The key is organizing and disciplining yourself. Use a few simple tricks:
- Use your agenda. It’s not only free; it actually works. Record your assignments as they are given through the day. Decide what tasks you’ll do first. (Save the easiest ones for last.) Check them off as you finish. The agenda booklet also includes several reference charts (a few for English skills) that will be handy to have with you during the day.
- Set up and use your student account on the school’s computer network. Learn to use the library’s databases to find and sort new information.
- Be assertive at home, and lobby for a quiet place to do schoolwork: no television, no video games, no telephone, no texting. You’ll be finished with the schoolwork part of your life much faster without the extra distractions. Yes, a computer can be a plus in your study-space, but unless you use it as a tool to complete a task, it can become a time-consuming distraction.
- Use a computer to write as often as possible. Use its proof-reading tools, but don’t rely solely on “GrammarChek” to catch all errors. Save your file every ten minutes (or even more often) to avoid losing your work accidentally. (Most word processors can “AutoSave” as frequently as you specify.) You do not need to maintain a printer at your home for school assignments, so long as your work can be e-mailed to me or saved on a disk or a memory chip (jump drive) with a USB plug and then printed in the library or a classroom. If your word processor is not Microsoft Word, then the file should be saved as an .rtf file (Rich Text Format), which is a selection you can make when saving the file. (See “Save as Type”€¯ in the “Save As”€¯ dialog box. Choose RTF.) Then the disk may be used at school to print your saved work. Having a nonfunctioning printer at home is no longer a valid excuse for a late writing assignment.
- I post my assignments on this site every week. Use this site to ensure you have the correct work done and to look ahead, in case you want to see what is coming. I also will post our current study guide (homework questions) as a pdf file. (You’ll need Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer, a free and readily available download.) If you don’t have your study guide with you wherever you’re working, simply click the pdf icon, and you’ll be able to read and print the entire guide (or any pages).
- Our library subscribes to a number of valuable (and expensive) databases, clusters of information you wouldn’t be able to see without our library’s subscriptions. We can provide you with the user names and passwords to use these databases from your home (or any other) computer when you’re away from school. Be sure you get the current list from me or from the librarian.
-When doing any kind of research digitally, you need space to store your files. Rather than travel with a floppy disk or CD, neither of which survive backpacks very well, get a web-based e-mail account. (Yahoo Mail, Gmail, or MSN are popular choices.) Then when you finish looking for material, you can save your work temporarily on the computer where you’re working, then send it as an attachment to your web-based e-mail account. You’ll be able to retrieve those files from any computer connected to the internet, including your home computer. Another option is to carry a jump-drive, an inexpensive memory chip in a plastic or metal sleeve; it plugs into a USB port. These are convenient but not as durable as most people think. Treat them with care. They hold vast amounts of data and should be backed-up routinely to avoid losing lots of hard work. I speak from experience.
Homework Policy - Click the My Policies€¯ button at the left.
Among the myriad of worksheets and writings you’ll create this year, watch for the fun€¯ assignments, opportunities where you may apply your imagination and your creative mind. I try to find a way for you to be creative with the reading assignment nearly every class, so be prepared to work and learn, but also be ready to have fun. (Laughter, after all, is a sign of understanding.)