"Seeing kids struggle inspired me to write this book."
Claire Machosky. Author and Educator
“Seeing kids struggle with assignments and tests motivated me to want to help. I would meet with the student to discuss the assignments and the directions; for tests we listed exactly what to study. SUCCESS! This basic explanation was all so many students needed to find their Path to Learning. My students’ successes inspired me to write this book. I encourage you to find your Path to Success by following the step-by-step strategies explained in A PATH TO LEARNING AND LITERACY. Have confidence in yourself – you are capable, and you can succeed.”
Behind the Book
As a classroom teacher I frequently became alarmed when grading students’ papers and noticed that the grade did not reflect the student’s level of effort and understanding. When conferencing with the students afterwards, together we would analyze the grade and determine next steps. It became obvious that some of the mistakes could be attributed to careless errors, but too frequently it was because the students didn’t understand what was being asked or they misunderstood the directions. Empathizing with my students, I began to clarify information by presenting it in multiple formats. When I discussed a topic, I would then illustrate or diagram the message being taught. I would ask the class to rephrase the content in their own words, and my assessing their level of comprehension became ongoing. I stressed the importance of dating all notes and handout materials. I had students identify the specific topics they were to study for a test, and I was sure to have the students practice the types of questions they could expect on a test. Finally, after taking the test and receiving their grade, I encouraged students to revisit the test, make corrections, and earn back some the points they lost.
When the State Assessments demanded students write detailed essays referencing a variety of documents, I became familiar with the process, trained my department members in the new essay writing format, and they in turn worked with their students. Students learned how to interpret documents, connect them to a theme, and support ideas or their positions. When the State Assessments were administered our students were over 99% successful in taking the tests.
Leaving the classroom and moving to consulting work gave me the opportunity to share these strategies with other school districts. Many of these districts saw their students struggling academically. When I visited these classrooms, I brought a structured lesson plan with content-specific activities that focused the class on completing a task. I would check for student understanding before moving forward and would clarify test expectations. Each day the students would complete sample short-answer questions and we would discuss the “why” and “how” of answering those questions. As a class we would read, analyze content, and write information paragraphs and then essays. The students were excited and felt confident in their ability. Their scores went up double digits! Time and again I saw students improve and become excited about learning because they knew what to do and how to do it.
I pondered why no one had taught the kids HOW TO STUDY! Parents, too, worried about how to help their kids in school. There was no resource that addressed this problem directly. That is when I had the idea of writing a book to help THE 7TH IS A SERIES OF MONTHLY ARTICLES ON HOW TO STUDY students and parents learn HOW TO STUDY. It needed to be short, easy to read, and it had to re-enforce the message. When I sat down at the computer, the content flowed. I was amazed! I designed a chapter format – title, question, a reading that answers the question, followed by frequently asked questions, and chapter check-up. Then I added A Note to Parents so everyone would be on the same page in understanding the chapter’s message. Sequentially, the chapters move from Getting Started to Progress to Accomplishment. To promote personalized learning, there is a worksheet for each chapter. There is a section entitled STUDY GUIDES that addresses study strategies including examples. If you want insights into successful studying for any subject at any level, I invite you to peruse A PATH TO LEARNING AND LITERACY. It is your guide to understanding and applying all content. It will give you a path to Study, Learn and Succeed.
About the Author
Claire Machosky has served as a teacher of Social Studies, Department Chairperson and School Administrator. As an educational Consultant she has worked with the New York State Department of Education on Testing and Assessment, assisted various school districts in raising student achievement, and is currently a (Teaching with Primary Source Coach) TPS Coach with the Library of Congress. Claire is recognized in Who’s Who Among American Teachers, was the recipient of Adelphi University’s Distinguished Alumni Award for her work in education; she has published articles in professional journals and magazines.