Help me figure out what to say to these kids

On Saturday I’m supposed to teach a mini-class (20 min.) on education, for girls ages 8-11. Topics are the importance of education, improving personal study habits, and setting educational goals. I have been freaking out–I can talk about the glories of education for hours, but getting all that down to 3 points I can talk about for a few minutes and put on a handout–ack!

Anyway, I thought I would try to have the girls take home a couple of little quizzes they can do for themselves. Here’s what I’ve got so far. Those of you who know something about teaching kids under 12, what do I need to do? I feel so clueless…

Making my study space my own
–finding out how I work best–

Do I need a desk to sit at, or is a soft chair better? Maybe the floor?

Do I concentrate best in a quiet atmosphere, or with soft music playing? What kind of music works best? (Classical, pop, church music?)

Do I need to work on organization: making a special place for homework, or color-coding my work? Do I have a planner for my assignments?

What time of day works best for me?

Should I have a healthy snack first? Maybe during a break? How often do I need to take a short break?

What creative ideas can I use to remember what I learn?
-make up a song
-draw a diagram
-explain it to someone else
-chant it while moving
-make a recording of myself saying it out loud
-play a game with a friend
-make my own flash cards

Would a study group with friends work well for me or is it better to work alone?
Setting goals for my future
–what should I do now to prepare?–

What are my interests? What kind of work would I like to do when I grow up?

What can I do now to start getting ready?
–read plenty of books, so I can understand anything I need to learn
–study hard in math, so I can do well in science
–volunteer somewhere I’d like to work someday
–manage my time well between church, school, lessons, and friends
–be prepared for school every morning
–It’s OK if you don’t know what you want to do when you grow up. And it’s OK to change your mind many times! Learning is never wasted, and the more you learn, the more choices you have. –

Learning styles.

I think you should put some emphasis on the fact that different people have different learning styles. A lot of your topics deal with it, but it would make a great unifying theme. And you can tie this into the subject of practical strategies for efficient study. You know, the study smarter not harder thing.

They may not really have heard much about learning styles before. You can help them understand that it’s natural to have different learning styles and that if they figure out what theirs is, they can capitalize on that and make things a lot easier on themselves. They’re pretty much stuck with the way they teach in school, of course, but they can apply it in their own study time. That will become more important as they get older.

An example:

The girl needs to memorize Spanish vocabulary. The teacher suggests flash cards, which most people do find helpful. But maybe it’s just not working that well for the girl. Or maybe something will work better. Would it be better for her to work with a friend or parent and have them read a word and have her say the corresponding English/Spanish word? Maybe she learns those kinds of things better with hearing instead of reading only. She can use whatever method suits her best.

Theres a lot of information of this available online because it’s a hot topic in educational circles.

Skip stuff about how important education is. They’ll immediately tune you out. I would! They’ve heard it all before.

Make it fun - 20 minutes will go so fast that you’re not going to be able to teach much anyway.

Maybe an study “experiment” where you split them into groups (one where they’re all talking, one where they have headphones on, one where they’re quiet, some pairs, some singles) and have them all try to solve a story problem or memorization table. Then compare who did best and what the problems were with each groups’ approach to studying.

Follow that up with the take-home paperwork with more concrete (i.e. “less fun” information).