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Achieving good grades in school matters.  It matters when it comes to the high school GPA, when it comes to the ACT or SAT, and when it comes to developing a solid academic foundation from the earliest school years.   Yet there are skills that are often overlooked in school that truly carry weight when it comes to success in college and in the workplace.  Organizational skills.  Planning and sequencing.  Understanding and meeting deadlines.  Often called "executive function skills," they can make all the difference.  Also, note-taking.  Social skills and social understanding.  These skills are what carries students through and enables them to succeed in higher education, employment, and life.   If your child is struggling in these areas, there are strategies that can help.  Some may be technology-based and others "old school" yet the focus needs to be on recognizing the needs and supporting them... read more

I have been using a planner since the beginning of my elementary education. Clearly, in Elementary school it was more of a way for my teacher to update my parents on my assignments, and I couldn't really understand the personal benefits of it yet. In high school, when my work load became more complicated by seven classes, which each had a different teacher, my planner became invaluable to me. It was during high school that I began color-coding my planner, which I have kept up to this day.   I am aware that many schools provide each student with a planner, but unfortunately many students neglect the usefulness of such a thing and they become merely a weight at the bottom of their book bag. If you ask your child/student why they didn't turn in this or that assignment and a common response is "I forgot," then it's time to talk to them about the magic of a planner. We are all human, and as such are subject to lapses in our memory. An organized planner is our tool... read more

The first thing you as a student should do to prepare for your first visit with your Tutor, is to gather all of the correspondence you have between your Teacher or Professor and yourself.  Key items would be a syllabus, or a list of things your Teacher or Professor expects you to accomplish during your course.  This list should include a list or chart of how the grading will be assessed for that course.  If any of this is no longer in your possession, get a new copy and protect it.    The next thing you should do is to gather all of the resources available to you for the course.  These items include textbooks, online links, handouts, and tools.  This should include anything recommended by your Teacher or Professor to help you succeed in the course.  This also should include anything you normally use for that course, even if it was recommended by someone else, such as an adviser.  Have a general idea of what each of these items are... read more

A Tutoring Session Preparation Checklist Classroom instruction and the time you spend with your professor or teaching assistant is the best source of information and learning. However, sometimes you need a little extra one-on-one time with an experienced writing tutor who will focus attention on your particular goals, strengths, and concerns. And if you’re on a college or graduate budget, you want to get the most out of every minute you spend with your private tutor. The great news is that you can help make your tutor more effective and get more out of every minute you have with him or her by preparing before your session and engaging your tutor during the session. I always ask my students to come to a tutoring session as prepared as possible. This helps them gather their thoughts and helps me quickly start helping them as soon as we start.   Here’s a handy checklist of things to consider and have ready to help your tutor be a “super” tutor: Bring the Course... read more

For students who want to prepare to go back to school but only have a few minutes to spare each day, I would suggest making a plan. For younger students, a parent can organize a set plan for which subject to review each day of the week. For instance Monday: 15 minutes of Reading Comprehension Tuesday: 15 minutes of Math facts Wednesday: 15 minutes journal writing etc. If a student struggles in a particular subject more time should be spent in this area. Every little bit helps. 15 minutes of reading a day is better than nothing. As well it is important to remember that reading is reading regardless of the medium. Reading a comic book still counts as reading. Allow students to read what they enjoy. For older students I would even suggest unofficially quizzing yourself/summarizing what you have learned each day. For math, search online and find fun puzzles or math games online. All in all make it fun and it won't feel like a chore. 

If you are like me and have a lot of things to do during the day, you may find yourself asking, "when the heck am I gonna have time to do my schoolwork?!".  Here are my top four pointers that I think will help you stay on top of your game while also keeping you from letting all the good times pass you by! Because let's face it, all-nighters are never fun, and neither is missing out on a good, themed birthday party.   1.  Know your weaknesses and cater to them. Worst subjects--we all have them.  Figure out what yours is and devote the majority of the little time you have to that subject.  Seems pretty obvious, but it needs to be said.   2.  Learn how to take notes while reading. If you get used to reading with a pen in your hand, you'll be able to take notes much more quickly.  This will also help you learn the language of the book, which will make it much easier to find key phrases that are important to remember... read more

If you are like me and have a lot of things to do during the day, you may find yourself asking, "when the heck am I gonna have time to do my schoolwork?!".  Here are my top four pointers that I think will help you stay on top of your game while also keeping you from letting all the good times pass you by! Because let's face it, all-nighters are never fun, and neither is missing out on a good, themed birthday party.   1.  Know your weaknesses and cater to them. Worst subjects--we all have them.  Figure out what yours is and devote the majority of the little time you have to that subject.  Seems pretty obvious, but it needs to be said.   2.  Learn how to take notes while reading. If you get used to reading with a pen in your hand, you'll be able to take notes much more quickly.  This will also help you learn the language of the book, which will make it much easier to find key phrases that are important to remember... read more

The key to avoid falling behind in school is good planning. Figure out which subjects are most challenging and plan to spend more time studying those subjects. Though it can be challenging, do your homework right after school while the material from that day is still fresh in your mind. Good luck to all students returning to school!

I'm not a natural planner, but I learned to appreciate plans the hard way.   Planning requires a conscious effort, but if you do it regularly, it shouldn't take more than a few minutes a day, and it pays off.     It's easy to brush it off as one more thing you don't have time for, but those are the times you need it most.     Planning encourages you to think concretely about what your goals are -- always a good step.  Break the goals down into tasks.  Once you get them out of your head and on to a piece of paper, you can focus on them more clearly:  count them; prioritize them; validate them; make a list of what needs to be done to accomplish each one, and by when.  Break big tasks down into little ones.   Estimate how long it will take to finish each one.  If you're not sure, multiply your time estimates by 2.   Add them all up.  If they adds up to more time than you have, take a closer look at your estimates... read more

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