With the new school year starting, I thought I'd write a blog post to talk about what I think are the most important things students should be doing to start the year off on the right foot. If anything, September is the time when students are either excited to come back or are dreading it, but being prepared will help any student have a successful year. The most important thing a student should do before the year starts is to set a goal. I have all the students I work with look at their schedules and think about what classes they think will be the most challenging for them. They then create a goal for how they might want to do, say get a B in Geometry or a A- in English. They should try to make it a SMART goal too: it should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. Every week or two, they should come back to their goal and think about whether they've made any progress on it. And if they don't achieve their goal, at least they were working on something,... read more
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Going back to school can be a lot of fun, but it can also be very scary. Stepping through those doors after a long summer break can sometimes feel like tearing through a large rubber balloon. Well, pat yourself on the back. You made it through the first week. Some of you learned all your subjects, teacher's names, and your classroom numbers. Some are sitting at home wondering about the blur they have in their head that was the first week of school. If you are in the first group pat yourself on the head, you are probably an organized individual. If you are in the second group maybe you need to drag out that backpack and look through it for that white piece of paper that is your schedule to look at. Sit down and make a list of all your teachers and their room numbers. If you are still confused as to where to go each period, then have your parents help you find the school map that is probably at the bottom of that same backpack. Use the school map to trace your movement... read more
I think one of the greatest keys to academic success is to be well organized and to realize there is more time in your day than you think. You can do everything you want to as long as you are organized and have a plan to complete everything you need too.
The summer has its fair share of distractions: beaches, barbecues, sunny days and getaways. And all the while August beckons, the season marches on, slowly slips away and school approaches. With such distractions, difficult many students find it to focus on the long year ahead; and if any of them are as I was, the school year is a thought best left to the week before that deceptively distant day. So how, now, to avoid getting tripped up at the beginning of the year and instead hit the ground running without selling summer short? I say it begins at the end of the previous school year. Those May days can drag on toward the end, even more so in June if final exams are studied for and taken. Use those hours spent cleaning out lockers and book bags to begin taking stock of what you have, what you need, and what you want next year while your thoughts are fresh. As much as we all, when that final bell rings, want to drop everything and dash home singing "School's Out for the Summer,"... read more
Glazed eyes. Yawns. Fidgeting. All of these are signs that a speaker has lost his or her audience. Nothing is guaranteed to produce more nervousness than an audience that can’t wait for you to pronounce your last sentence. How will an outline help you? An outline adds structure. It is the skeleton that supports the body of your speech. You know where you are going and it is easier to take your audience along with you. How does one prepare an outline? Begin by establishing your theme. What do you want your audience to carry away with them? What idea do you want them to remember, what conclusion do you want them to reach? Stated in one sentence, this is the destination you want to arrive at with your audience. Now choose your main points. These can be as few as two, for a short discussion, or as many as five. But no more than five. Remember our first paragraph? What does your audience already know? Don’t bore them with old news, excite them with something fresh. Above... read more
I have found that many of my students have poor study habits, and think that completing a homework assignment is studying. I am constantly reminding them that there is a significant differentiation between the two terms. Studying is more in-depth and it calls for many metacognitive interactions. When studying try to do one or more of the following, (all if applicable). 1. Make visual connections to images, pictures, or drawings 2. Make emotional connections and tie them to a past, or current event that you or someone you know of can relate to. 3. Use different memorization techniques. 4. Know the vocabulary words that you are reading. Often times, simple sentences are difficult to comprehend because you are unfamiliar with the words. 5. Try recording yourself and playing back the audio. Sometimes you brain can process the information and transfer it to long-term memory if heard aloud. 6. Also try taking notes, and using graphic organizers. 7. Do not... read more