Any report can be spiced up a little with some interesting facts or statistics sprinkled in. Imagine putting one of these facts in your next paper:
- Seventy-eight percent of public school students say a teacher who tries to make lessons fun and interesting would help them learn "a lot more," but only 24% think most of their teachers do that now.
- Poisoning deaths in the U.S. are up 66% since 1999
- Wicca is projected to be the 3rd largest U.S. religion by 2012
All of these statements came from my list of places to find statistics. Take a look and see if you can find an interesting tidbit to add to your next research paper. It might provide the perfect touch.
- Fluctuate your voice. If you speak in nothing but a flat monotone, everyone will tone out.
- Practice. Lots.
- If you need to pause because you are nervous or have forgotten something, pausing while looking at the judge/teacher/audience can be one of the most effective ways to reinforce a point.
These are all great! If you have any advice for a nervous speaker, share it here!
Are you ever frustrated when you see low scores on your short-answer quizzes and definitions?
Many students are surprised when they don't receive full points for definitions, because they feel certain that they've memorized and explained very detailed descriptions of their vocabulary terms.
If you're surprised by low scores, the problem is usually this: students often describe what a term means but they may fail to explain the significance, or the so what, of each term.
Any time you prepare yourself for a quiz containing new vocabulary terms, you must remember to take an extra step and determine why each term is important - and understand this well enough to explain it on a quiz.
One way to make sure you understand the significance of a term is to compare it to another term on your list. If you can explain the connections between two or three terms on your list, you know you have developed a deeper understanding of context and significance.
Sometimes we all need to pause for a moment and take a good look at our habits and behaviors. Is there something that you do that is working really well for you? If so, give yourself some kudos!
On the other hand, there may be something that you do habitually that is keeping you from achieving your true potential.
Why not take a moment to go over this study skills assessment to inventory your good and not so good behaviors and habits. It's never too late to make improvements!
Plagiarism is serious business. When instructors discover plagiarism in a student's work, there is usually a mix of feelings. There is disappointment combined with anger, but there is also a dose of sadness mixed in. The sadness comes from knowing that a student has potentially ruined his or her record with one lapse of judgment or a lack of attention to detail.
Because students don't always understand what behavior constitutes plagiarism, it can be easy for them to slip over the line into the danger zone. But instructors will tell you that no excuse will get you off the hook - it is your responsibility to know what is legal and what is not.
The tragedy of plagiarism is that one little act can lead to suspension or expulsion. You should learn what behavior is actually considered to be plagiarism, and be careful not to go anywhere near that line!
What is the number one way to give yourself an advantage in school? Show up for class! Many students don't understand how damaging poor attendance can be when it comes to academic success.
Missing class hurts for many reasons. Here are the top 5:
- You can miss important information that might show up on a test. It's almost impossible to recover from missing out on a day's worth of class notes. You can't rely on your friends to fill in the gaps of your knowledge.
- You can miss a pop quiz. Pop quizzes can make up a big part of your overall grade. Most times, a no-show is a zero!
- You can get a reputation for slacking. Your reputation with teachers and friends can't be fixed if you mess it up by being unreliable.
- You can miss out on "building block" concepts. Subjects like math and science involve very precise steps. If you miss out on one or two key elements, you can be lost forever.
- You can miss an assignment. When you miss a day, you can miss the fact that the teacher has assigned a paper or other task. That's a possible F!
Do you ever have a hard time trying to determine what parts of a class lecture to write down and which parts to leave out? Sometimes an instructor will seem to wander from one topic to another, and sometimes he or she can talk so quickly it's just hard to know what you should write down.
One good way to address this problem is to use a double notes system. In this system, you take outline notes from your textbook the night before classy. As you make this outline, you will need to leave plenty of writing space between the lines.
You then prepare your notes for lecture time by marking key phrases and concepts you expect to hear about in class. Take this prepared outline to your lecture and fill out your outline "between the lines" with information from your lecture.
Many students are confused when it comes to understanding the differences between motifs and themes in literature. I think that fairy tales serve well as tools for understanding these differences.
A motif is an object, idea, action, or a concept that pops up repeatedly in a work of literature. The purpose of the motif is to have symbolic significance. In The Three Little Pigs, the bad wolf keeps popping up and destroying the work of the little pigs. What could this wolf represent in real life? How about "bad things that come out of nowhere and wreak havoc on our lives" as a concept? The wolf, himself, is a character motif - as the villain.
Another motif from this story is the home, which is normally the place where we can feel safe and secure. This is a place motif. The wolf and the home are important symbolic elements that support the theme in this story.
A theme contains a message or lesson about life. In The Three Little Pigs, we learn a lesson about building materials. How would you state this message as an overall lesson for building things, whether that means houses, relationships, or organizations? How would you express this lesson about building materials in one sentence? That lesson is the theme.
Sometimes you can learn and retain material just by putting it on paper in a very memorable way. This is the beauty of a fishbone chart.
This chart is actually one of many visual organization tools. To make a fishbone chart, you start with a triangle which you draw on the right side of your paper. Inside the triangle (the head of the fish) you put a topic--like a problem that you are pondering, analyzing, or trying to break down.
Next, draw a line off to the left (body) and several offshoots where you brainstorm and insert several subtopics, answers, or elements of your topic. Voilą! You have a fishbone chart.
At some point you may find that you are trying to cite a source that just doesn't match any of the examples in the style guides.
Style guides provide examples for formatting proper citations for the most common sources we use - but there will be a time when the style guide just doesn't help. No matter what style you're checking, none of the examples in the book match the source you are using.
When this happens, you may have to format your citation on your own, basing your format choices on the elements of your source (things like author, place, date) that your source has in common with other sources.
One important thing to remember when designing a citation is that there are basic elements that should appear in every citation.