Learning Levels: An Introduction

Do you ever feel frustrated that you can’t understand how to get better grades in class and on your assignments? This is very frustrating.  I often have students who conclude that they “are just not smart enough” to understand.  This problem does not have to do with a student’s intelligence it often comes from underestimating what learning level the teacher is using to assess the class.  Classes often level up without students being aware of the shift. Watch this video to see…

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How do you know you are done studying?

Do you know when you are ready to take a test? When I ask my students this question most of them look at me like I am crazy. This is a complex question because it requires us to think about our own thinking. This type of thinking is called “metacognition” and it is an important skill.  Individuals who can assess their own thinking have a strategic advantage in school and life. Watch the video to see how being able to…

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Pre-crastination: Optimizing Breaks

While most of us lean towards procrastination there is a subset of the population who are pre-crastinators. These individuals  feel a deep desire to finish their work as quickly as possible.  For more background information please see this video on the differences between pre-crastination and procrastination. Because pre-crastinators need to finish their work they are willing to start immediately but often rush through their work they need a different type of work routine.  Watch the video below to see a cleaver way pre-crastinators can use…

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Reducing Stress: Recovering From Mistakes

There has been a considerable spike in teen anxiety over the last few years (NYT). Anxiety and stress are complex, with a lot of interconnected events and processes. I have noticed that a lot of the stress and anxiety I see in students stems from their fear of making mistakes and no longer being perfect. I have found that parents also feel these stresses. Teens need to know that they can recover and learn from a variety of mistakes. They…

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Learning Cycle

Do you ever feel lost about how to study? Sometimes learning feels like a black box. Students feel like they put a lot of effort into their school work, but don’t get the results that they want. Understanding how the brain learns can help students use their study time more effectively. The study cycle is made up of three parts 1- getting information into our brains (encoding) 2- practicing getting information out of our brains (retrieval) 3- learning the information…

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National College Fairs

Do you want to learn more about possible colleges? National College Fairs are a free resource for high school student. They are an excellent opportunity for students to interact with hundreds of colleges and universities, from the US, Canada, and Europe. Because there is a wide variety of schools students can get a sense of the broad options available in their future. I have found that this experience of attending a National College Fair has two main benefits for students.…

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Planners: A Strategic Advantage

As I work with students, I have noticed that the use of planners has started to become less frequent. When I was young planners were the go-to organization tool for students. I think that the shift away from paper planners is a result of more assignments being put online.  Online systems are a great way for students to track their homework, but they have limitations. There is a strategic advantage to using a planner in conjunction with online systems. Planners…

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Unique Student Schedules

The unique organizational needs of students often go unnoticed. The underlying complexity can go undetected because the school day provides a consistent structure. From the outside, a typical weekly student schedule often looks very standard with only a small amount of variation. However, on closer inspection, our modern school structure is very intricate and require a considerable amount of navigation and customization. For all intents and purposes, students have a collection of bosses; one for each class. They must learn how…

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Prevent Burnout- Increase your Organizational Skills

Do you ever feel like you have so much homework? Do you ever wonder how you will get it all done?  Do you ever wonder why you feel so stressed out about how you will get all of your stuff done and keep your stress in check? There are a lot of things that cause stress for students. Often the stress is drastically increased because we do not teach organizational skills. I think of organizational skills and homework like a train.…

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