Seven Tips for Success in Online Middle School Classes
Online learning is a great way to perfect academic and life skills, and more middle schoolers are making the transition from traditional schools to online middle schools like Dwight Global Online School, an accredited, highly ranked international online private school for students in grades 6-12.
With the checklist of tips below, students will feel confident they have the information they need to succeed in an online middle school program.
1. Get organized! Then, prepare.
An important first step in online learning success is getting organized, and staying organized.
First, set up a space within your home where you can work with minimal distractions. Have everything you will need nearby and on hand for your classes. Check each teacher’s requirements and make sure you have everything you need to begin.
Then, each day, make certain the next day’s assignments are completed. Spend some time thinking about what the next class will consist of, so you are prepared mentally for potential class discussions or quizzes. Good preparation goes a long way when it comes to academics, group projects, studying for tests, and writing reports.
If you have a busy period coming up outside of school, or if you have to travel to be away from classes for a time, ask your teacher ahead of time for advance work. Proactively stay organized before you leave, during your trip, and when you return.
2. Determine your learning style
Now, think about how you accomplish your best work.
Are you a morning person who works best in the early part of the day? Maybe you are a night owl, or find midday is your most productive period.
At Dwight Global, students have a blend of scheduled, live classes and asynchronous lessons they can schedule on their own time. Dwight’s instructional model gives every student the advantage of working when they are freshest and when they can focus most intently. Use your most productive time to finish school work, and spend your less productive hours socializing, resting, or exercising.
What type of learner are you?
Do you prefer visual aids like graphs and maps and written material to memorize information? Or, do you learn best from hearing the material out loud? Maybe you find a combination of both works best, or that different subjects require different methods of learning.
Know your own style, and incorporate and seek out information in the ways easiest for you to grasp new concepts, and remember them. Using study strategies that include your best learning styles will help you enjoy learning more.
3. Learn to advocate for yourself
Communication is important in online learning, and part of communicating is reaching out to create connections and make friends, to get to know your teachers and administrators, and when you need help.
Dwight Global faculty and administrators are readily available to answer questions, guide students to the best sources, and help in any way. If you struggle with a topic or need clarification on an assignment, reach out to a classmate or teacher for guidance. If you need extra support, contact the learning resources center or request extra help from your teacher. Connections like these are essential to feeling part of a strong school community. Send an email, request a meeting to discuss a school assignment, or to simply send a message to get to know your fellow students and teachers.
You have much to offer the school, too!
Practice making the first move. Get involved, ask questions, sign up for extracurricular activities and try out things you never thought you would like. If you end up changing your mind, that is fine, too. You will learn in the process and can move on to something else.
Mastering your communication skills within your classes and outside of school will feel productive and create confidence. Learning to communicate verbally as well as in writing is an essential skill in school and in life.
4. Participate daily
Active participation in and outside of the classroom is a terrific way of taking responsibility for your own success in school. In class, speak up, and make connections between what you are learning and your own life experiences, books, movies, or music.
Or, follow up on a classmate’s comment during class, check in with a classmate or teacher after school to let them know your thoughts, or simply ask questions in class or outside of it through email, message boards, and in meetings.
Find your voice, and use it, for a great online middle school experience.
5. Connect with others
The best online high schools promote a sense of community through in-person and online experiences. By fostering connections with classmates and teachers, you expand your network, open the door to future opportunities, and create lifelong friendships.
It will be easier to ask questions in class or say "I don't know" if you are comfortable with classmates and faculty. Extracurriculars, book groups, clubs, and social events will help you feel an integral and important part of your school.
Unlike most online schools, Dwight Global Online School invites students to in-person experiences on Dwight School campuses worldwide, such as STEAM weekend, orientation, and school performing arts or music events.
These in-person events create lasting memories and make students feel a part of something special. Creating solid friendships and school relationships will go a long way toward making your online school experience a deeper, more meaningful, and memorable one.
6. Set goals
Set academic and personal goals at the beginning of each semester, and post them somewhere so you have a constant visual reminder. It may be helpful to talk over your goals with a parent, teacher, dean, or friend.
For example, your long term academic goal may be to take the highest level of mathematics by graduation. In that case, plan backwards so you know which classes to take before your goal is reached. Or, maybe your goal is to master a five-paragraph essay, or create and present a speech in public, or learn how to converse fluently in another language.
Your goals will change, so update your list and set new goals often. Create a method to check off your goals on a list, and celebrate your accomplishments along the way.
7. Avoid distractions, take breaks, and exercise!
While you are focusing on learning, be sure to limit distractions like your phone, TV and video games. Close unrelated or extra tabs open on your browser and put your phone on silent and leave it out of reach.
Taking breaks from the screen is crucial to your learning success. Make time after each class or study period to get up and stretch, have a snack, and get outside whenever possible to look up at the sky, walk outdoors, and get some exercise.
Learn more about Dwight Online Global School and its highly respected middle school program here.