Students prepare for unusual finals week during virtual learning

Delilah Brumer

Delilah Brumer

Freshman Daisy White can often be found painting cartoons in the afternoon as a way to decompress after studying for her upcoming final exams and working on her final projects. 

“It’s really stressful to have to study and go through all the notes for every class,” White said. “I’ve been using painting as a way to calm my mind after I study, so I’m not as drained when it gets to finals week.”

Unlike in past years, Daniel Pearl Magnet High School is not having a special schedule for final exam week. The week will continue as any other during distance learning, with three classes and advisory each day. This has caused some teachers to either have shortened final exams, have no final, or have a final project instead of a traditional exam.

“I think it’s difficult to do exams in this setting,” English teacher Cynthia Wald-Barry said. “I know all of the teachers, including myself, are trying to figure out how we can best reach students when we’re not seeing them face to face.”

Wald-Barry has decided to give her students final projects. These include research projects, argumentative projects and speeches, depending on the class.

“We’ve been working through different articles and videos related to the topics and practicing taking down information and taking down notes in graphic organizers,” Wald-Barry said. “Hopefully they can apply that when they’re doing their own research. That’s one way they’ve been preparing.”

Instead of creating a final exam like she usually does, Spanish teacher Glenda Hurtado is opting to use the exam that the online learning platform Edgenuity provides. Her classes have been using Edgenuity this entire semester, so they already understand how the platform works.

“I was hesitant about having a final but then I decided that I would (have a final),” Hurtado said. “I’m going to be using Edgenuity (for my final). I didn’t want to add something extra for my students to have to deal with.”

Distance learning has made preparing for finals more challenging for many students. There are several techniques that can help students, including taking short breaks from studying, setting specific goals, working with other students virtually and managing stress by doing calming activities, according to USA Today.

“My goal is to get a good grade (on all my finals),” White said. “For studying, my goal is to keep studying during the week and spend the weekend studying.”