10 Back to School Tips for Success

We all think of ourselves as eternal students here at Socratica.  That means we get a little thrill every September, even though we’re not in the classroom anymore.

happy fall

Between us, the Socratica team has a LOT of experience points – both as students and teachers – we’ve learned a lot about how to be do well in school. That collected wisdom is what we’re trying to share in our Study Tips series.

Here’s our latest offering – advice on how to make this school year a great one:

10 Back to School Tips for Success.

 

Don’t feel like you have to tackle all 10 tips at once. Try incorporating one or two, and see if it helps. Not everyone has the exact same strengths and weaknesses. But in our experience, these strategies won’t hurt and may actually mean the difference for you.  Give it a shot!

Good luck and be sure to use our videos for help this school year!

KHH

Links to our playlists on YouTube:

Abstract Algebra

Astronomy

Biology

Calculus

Chemistry

English Grammar

Geometry

Python

Study Tips

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SERIES PREMIERE – Study Tips – How to be a Great Student – Cornell Notes

This is the FIRST EPISODE of our new series on How to Be a Great Student! In this episode, we learn about the CORNELL METHOD.

 

This is a great method for taking notes in class (or from your textbook, or watching a video). There’s no way to remember every word of a lecture. But taking great lecture notes is the first step to getting good grades and being a great student.

The most important rule is don’t write down every word. Listen carefully, then write simplified and abbreviated phrases that capture the main ideas.

When you get home, RE-READ your notes! Proofread them, making corrections as needed before you forget. Check your notes with a friend! In the margin, write brief headers that will cue your memory of each section of your notes.

Finally, write a summary at the bottom of the page so you can quickly tell what this page of notes is all about.

Do you have a different method of taking notes? Let us know what are your favourite study tips in the comments!

KHH

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Related:

Are you curious about how we filmed these videos?  Check out our episode of Socratica Backstage about this video shoot:  Socratica Backstage: Overhead Mirrored Shots

Watch the trailer for our Study Tips: How to Be a Great Student series

 

Socratica Backstage: Behind the Scenes look at Mirrored Overhead Shots

We’re launching a new series on Socratica called “Study Tips: How to Be a Great Student.” An essential part of the videos in this series will be overhead B Roll and Insert Shots, to demonstrate things like how to take notes, how to use flashcards, etc.

overhead camera rig

Where do you put this thing when you’re not using it?

Many people use a large frame and suspend a camera overhead in order to do overhead shots. It’s one thing if you’re using a GoPro, but this isn’t something you really want to do with a larger camera with a nice lens. Other drawbacks include the amount of space an overhead frame takes up, and the fact that the camera is not easily accessible. You can’t zoom in during a shot unless you have a sophisticated remote control setup. You can’t easily move the camera from its fixed position, which limits the kind of filmmaking you can do (no pans, tilts, or slider shots).

Today on Socratica Backstage, you can watch how we mounted a large mirror in order to do better overhead shots. We immediately put it to use, filming B Roll and Insert shots for our first video in the Study Tips series, “How to Take Great Notes.”

 

We release our Backstage Videos early to our Patreon Supporters.  Thank you for being our super-fans!  Your support means so much to us.

If you are not yet a supporter of Socratica, please visit our Patreon Page and consider joining our team. You’ll be supporting our efforts to make more high-quality educational videos. Thank you!
https://www.patreon.com/socratica

Don’t forget to Subscribe to Socratica!
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KHH

 

 

For COSMOS lovers: What are neutron stars?

All of us at Socratica grew up watching Carl Sagan and his groundbreaking series Cosmos.  Most people think of it as a series on astronomy, but it was really more about our place in the universe as thinking, exploring creatures looking to understand who we are and how did we get here.

When I taught biology, I regularly showed Sagan’s episode about evolution as an introduction to the topic. My students would laugh about his pronunciation of “yooman” and his odd speech patterns with unexpected….PAUSES. But by the end of the episode, they were completely won over and wanted to see more of this fascinating man.

Sagan and his tree

This line always got a big laugh.

Carl Sagan’s enthusiasm and broad knowledge of so many subjects made us want to learn almost everything from him. The work we do at Socratica is maybe best considered an homage to great teachers like Sagan.  There’s no way we could ever capture his special sauce – but we do get inspiration from his candor, his love for teaching, and his quest to know.

We’re over the moon to start a new playlist on Astronomy. Our first video:  What are Neutron Stars?

 

Over the moon, see what I did there? I crack myself up sometimes.

 

We recommend, obviously:

 

Cosmos DVDs

Cosmos: Carl Sagan
This is the 13-hour set of DVDs – one of the best programs in television history.

 

 

Cosmosbookcover

Cosmos

And this is the companion book with a new foreward by Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

 

KHH

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Socrates. Put to death for corrupting the youth of Athens. Our hero.

Socrates is considered one of the founders of Western Philosophy, and the inventor of the Socratic Method which is still widely used in classrooms today. He’s something of a mystery, though, because what we know of him comes from second-hand accounts. What?! It’s true, the great teacher left behind no writings of his own.

Our hero and namesake is the star of our latest “Great Thinkers” video.

 

We recommend the following works from Socrates’ students, Plato and Xenophon:

 

Plato

The Last Days of Socrates (Penguin Classics)

 

Xenophon

Conversations of Socrates (Penguin Classics)

 

And just for fairness, we’ll include Aristophanes (although Plato called the account of Socrates in the play “The Clouds” slander):

Aristophanes

Lysistrata and Other Plays (Penguin Classics)

 

KHH

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Link

Please be a teacher: A Response to Warnings and Resignation Letters

Please be a teacher: A Response to Warnings and Resignation Letters.

This is a blog post I read recently that got me thinking a lot about things I had put out of my mind. Namely, how and why I left classroom teaching, and do I still consider myself a teacher.

I used to teach Biology and Chemistry – first at the college level as a grad student, and then at an exclusive prep school.  I loved being a student, and I loved being a teacher. I loved the classroom.  I loved my students.  I loved the work.  It was the best job I ever had – and I would still be doing it, if it were possible.  But it isn’t.  I found myself pushed and prodded and bullied and micromanaged to such a degree, it made doing the actual job, the work I was so crazy good at*, impossible.  Why would they hire an expert, and then not allow her to function?  It was an obscene farce.

I soldiered on for eight years, believing in the work I was doing.  But finally, what amounted to the last straw was an ethical dilemma, where I found administrators more intent on maintaining their power than doing the right thing for some kids who were bullied.  I was disgusted.  I couldn’t bring myself to be in the same room as those people for one more day.  All I could think was – “You don’t get to work with me anymore.”

That meant – no more being a teacher for me.

Or did it?  I entered what I called “semi-retirement” – I puttered around at home, went to the library, went for long walks in botanical gardens, swam laps.  But I couldn’t turn off the teaching part of my brain. I found myself still mentally composing lectures and activities for my students – but I had no students.  I used to teach about 50 students a year, intensively. I missed them.

Well, I found a way.  Now I teach thousands, through Socratica, all over the world.  I can still be a teacher.  I still am a teacher.

KHH

*not to tootle my own horn, but I was awfully good at my job.  Presidential awards and other commendations. Unbelievably high test scores. After taking my class, kids got lab jobs and into top colleges – the works.  But nothing was ever good enough.