Student Voice: How Summit Learning Helps Me “Learn How to Learn”

As a student, did you ever cram for a test by memorizing lots of facts? Maybe you passed the test, but you forgot everything you learned a week later! Since starting 6th grade, I’ve realized that to “learn how to learn” is just as important as learning content for academic success.

My experience in learning content has changed drastically since my school started using Summit Learning. I feel like I understand things better this year compared to last year. In 5th grade, we would take the test and even if you didn’t pass, you would have to move on. This year, not passing a test means you can get help from your teacher and continue studying the topics that you struggle with most. You can retake a test and know if you understand well enough to move on.

I have learned many study strategies this year. A few of my favorites include Cornell notes, SMART goals, and Chunking. Setting SMART goals help me stay organized when I have assignments I need to get done and turn in. Chunking also helps me take what needs to be accomplished and break it down into attainable goals. Cornell notes work for me because writing a summary lets me look back at my notes and rethink them.

Ariel spends time documenting her SMART goals for the week.

The study strategy that works best for me in Science is Cornell notes. Science has a lot of huge words, and recording the keywords helps me understand and remember them. In social studies and math, I prefer outline notes. There are a lot of different parts to a lesson, and having a tool where I can write out topic, subtopics, and supporting thoughts helps me organize everything. The best study strategy for me in English is setting SMART goals. I used to fall behind easily in English, but setting SMART goals for academics has helped me stay on track with my work.

Through Summit Learning, I have learned that I am naturally self-directed. I can do stuff without having someone guide me step-by-step on everything. I’ve also learned that I am more successful when working independently on most things than working in groups or with a class. There are other habits of success, though, that I am developing that will help me once I get into high school in many ways, especially executive function, self-regulation, and curiosity.

Executive function is when you control your choices and behavior. Developing this habit will help me choose positive behaviors around when and how I study. This habit will also help me make the choices to attend school, which is a very important aspect in successful learning! Building self-regulation will help me successfully juggle my extracurricular activities along with my normal and honors classes. Self-regulation will help me get my school work done, and to also be successful in an after-school job.

Last but not least, developing the habit of curiosity helps me ask relevant questions about a subject and take away a better understanding. In high school, curiosity will help me be self-motivated and self-driven. These are important social-emotional and cognitive skills that will help me be successful not just in school, but in all aspects of my life.

Read and hear more student voices on the Summit Learning Blog.

About the author

Ariel Faulkner
Ariel Faulkner is a 6th grade student at Chester County Junior High School in Henderson, Tennessee. She is a straight A student in all subjects (even P.E.). In her free time, Ariel enjoys dance, cooking, and spending time with her family. She has high expectations for her future, some of which include becoming a Principal Ballerina, as well as opening her own education and dance school, where K-12 kids are educated with specialized learning plans/tracks.