Are you constantly wondering what your teacher wants? They may be telling you, but it's hidden within the assignment sheet, more like buried treasure!
Different types of assignments will come with their own set of requirements; a pro/con paper on alternative fuels will be structured much differently from a critical essay on Pride and Prejudice. Generally, the basic structure of the paper will be laid out for you in the assignment sheet, but then also look for clues like "analyze" or "summarize" or "briefly explain." This will tell you when to use your own voice in your paper and when to stay neutral, or how much time to spend on any one element of your assignment.
Also look for any suggested resources that might be included in an assignment sheet; usually these will be worth your while to read.
Still feeling lost after reading your assignment? Talk to your teacher immediately! And chances are, you're not the only one in the class with questions. Your teacher wants your feedback; go during prep time if you don't have time to talk after class.
Not sure what you should do when? Try plotting out your project timeline using an assignment calculator: http://tinyurl.com/2twqdr.