How to Study Overwhelming PowerPoints

Do your teachers and professors primarily use PowerPoint during their lectures? Do you find yourself overwhelmed when it’s time to study, because you have 60 or 70 slides to review for each test?

Lately, I’ve had a number of folks working with graduate school students come through my training program (The Art of Inspiring Students to Study Strategically), and they’ve been asking me to give some more concrete ideas for how these students can work with the massive amounts of information that they are exposed to each week.

In this video, I suggest that students work on making one-page sheet sheets for each power point deck, and I provide four different options for how to do that:

Heads up that next week I’ll be sharing a video about what kinds of supplies to buy and have at home that will help you create these cheat sheets in an anti-boring way! Stay tuned for that.

When You Feel Ashamed and Can’t Take Action

Do you ever struggle with feeling ashamed at school? You totally INTEND to turn in homework and show up for makeup tests, but then you. just. don’t. Then shame sets in, and you KNOW you should probably go talk to the teacher, but you can’t bring yourself to face it?

I have a college student who is facing a similar situation, which I explain more in the video below. I found myself asking her a question that really helped her navigate the situation, and find the bravery to take action.
Here are all the details:

And if you want to skip the video and get right to the question I asked, here it is:

Got any questions about this? Any other ideas about how YOU would handle this situation? I’d love to hear.

3+ Ways to Productively Procrastinate

Did you know that there are some GOOD ways to procrastinate?

Recently I checked in on a client (a sophomore in college) about how well she’s following through on a project plan, and she told me that she was doing terribly. However, it was a “productive” kind of terrible, because she was getting something else important done as well.

This made me curious about how many ways there are to procrastinate productively, so I made a little video musing on this issue. Check it out!! Make sure you watch until the end so that you hear the warning about how not to overuse this sneaky way of procrastinating.

And if you don’t feel like waiting here’s the whiteboard:

If Procrastinating on a Digital Project, Try This

I know that you probably procrastinate a lot (I do!), but I wonder if you identify with this scenario:

Sometimes I have a hard time taking action on projects that are digital, boxed up inside my computer screen. I feel cooped up and have such a hard time getting going.

Today I finally got momentum on a digital project, and I noticed it’s because I did a very specific thing — I got the project OUT Of the computer.

Check out the video to hear all the gory details.

Here’s a pic of the white board:

Do you have any questions? Or additional ideas about how to get started with a project that’s stuck inside your laptop? Please reply and let me know!

Why It’s Important to Hide Your Phone While Working

Parents of teens often ask me where their students should be putting their cell phones while they’re doing their homework! I’ve often given a specific answer (which you’ll hear about in the video), but I’ve never read the research that backs my advice up!

This New York Times article about the dangers of having your cell phones out while you’re doing work. It’s humbling, and something that we ALL should consider, adults and teens alike. In fact, as I’m writing this blog post right now, I’m noticing my cell phone in the corner of my eye, so I’m not even following the article’s advice!

Gosh, it’s hard to be human in this digital age. Check out the article here, or watch the video for my commentary.

How One College Student Learned From Her Mistakes (and Made Me Cry)

Can you tell I’m obsessing about the power of mistakes right now?! This last week a client’s reflection about HER mistakes brought tears to my eyes. More about that in a sec.

First, though, I want to make sure you’re aware that IN EXACTLY A WEEK I’m starting up a new round of my course for educators The Art of Inspiring Students to Study Strategically. Please join us!!


And now, back to that college student…


Thank GOODNESS it’s a new semester right now, and my clients and I can sit back and reflect about their difficult experiences last semester. The slate is clean, and there’s nowhere to go but up.


However, I usually meet these students when they’ve dug themselves into a BIG HOLE. That was the case for this college student last semester. Her hole was ginormous — missing assignments, tons of late work, a backlog of reading, mountains of anxiety. This semester, though, she’s risen to the occasion! I asked her to reflect about what’s different this time around, and her answer brought tears to my eyes.


In this video I share her breakthrough moment with you, and also reflect a little about the difference between what I call “Triage” and “Proactive” coaching. Listen in to discover why I LOVE students who come to me in Triage mode.

Can you think of a triage situation you’ve been in… a bottom of sorts… that felt sucky at the time but then taught you a big lesson? I’d love to hear about it.

P.S. If you’re a teacher or academic coach and have been thinking about joining me for this course for a long time, I urge you to reach out and schedule a conversation with me!! Let’s talk one-and-one and figure out whether my course is a good investment. I’ll be super honest with you!!

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What If Every Student Did Test Corrections Like This?

?Last week I did a video about the two biggest mistakes I made last year. Apparently, y’all love hearing about my mistakes because I got a LOT of emails in response.

I’ve been thinking about mistakes a lot over the last few weeks because I’m preparing for my FREE masterclass for educators and parents, all about how to foster mistake-friendly environments in our classrooms and homes. If you’re inspired by this conversation, please join me!


One of the email responses I received last week came from a high school student who has been emailing me her thoughts about my videos for several years now.


In today’s email, she was reflecting on how her physics teacher helps his students embrace their mistakes, and how much MORE physics she’s learning because of this.

In today’s video, I read the student’s email out loud, share her physics teacher’s process for doing test corrections, and share my own thoughts about why this is so successful.

Can you think of any examples in which mistakes have helped YOU learn faster and more effectively? I’d love to hear about them. Please reply!!

P.S. One of the things I love about my masterclasses is that it gives me an opportunity to MEET the people who watch my videos every day. Please do join us live!

My Top Two Failures of 2018

The New Year — a time when we often think about successes and achievements. Instead, I’ve been thinking about failure. Mine in particular.

Last year (like every year) I made a bunch of mistakes! It’s tempting to gloss over all the ways I effed up in 2018 by making the traditional New Year’s list of successes and achievements from the past year.

More and more, lately, I find myself tired of those lists, of reading people’s curated successes without the balance of their difficulties. Maybe you’re tired of those lists too? I thought it might be more fun to talk about my mistakes instead.

Perhaps I’m just selfish and/or too sensitive, but when I see others’ successes I most often think “I guess I don’t measure up.” However, when I read their failures — especially when they also reflect deeply about what they learned from their failures — I feel empowered. Isn’t that odd?

Anyway — because I’m also celebrating mistake-making in my upcoming free masterclass for educators (and parents!) — it seems fun to reflect today on my two biggest mistakes of 2018.

In this video I share:

  • What I mean by “mistake”
  • The two biggest mistakes I made in 2018
  • What the horrific consequences were (one financial, the other health),
  • What I learned from the experiences that will transform my future choices, and
  • Why this kind of mistake-friendly reflecting is IMPERATIVE for teachers and parents to model for students.

Take a watch:

What mistakes did YOU make last year? What were the consequences? What did you learn? Hit reply and practice doing this kind of reflecting now. I’d love to know, and I promise I’ll reply.

To join me in a discussion about how to create mistake-friendly environments in our classrooms, coaching sessions and homes, click here to sign up for next week’s Masterclass.

An Antidote to Students’ Chronic Busyness

Do you sometimes feel that you NEVER get a break? That you’re far too busy to give yourself some time off, even an afternoon off? 

I find that many students feel this way. We are breeding more generations as addicted to busy-ness as we are! 

I have this issue as well, and I’m often catching myself delaying a walk in nature, or even a nap, because I have just one more email I need to write. 

Well, in today’s video I take you on one of those rare moments when I actually succeeded in getting my butt out the door! And share some reflections about why it’s important for students to get out into nature too. ?

Is a Paper To Do List Effective?

Some people — and most teens — think they really love online To Do lists. Other folks — mostly adults — love purchasing the latest, hippest paper planner to try and track their To Do’s that way.

Recently I had a client, a 16-year-old young man, who decided that the online To Do? apps are just not working for him, and he’d like to go with a paper To Do? list instead. He asked me for suggestions for how to organize it.

In this video, I give you the same demo I gave my client. Check it out, and see if you think this might work for you!? 

4 Ways to Connect with Teachers

Do you struggle to connect with your teachers? Does it feel like they are scary strangers to you, rather than friends, mentors and cheerleaders?

In today’s video I tell you about a conversation I had recently with a client who is a junior in high school. Every week in our coaching session I ask him what teachers he has connected with over the past week. In the past he has often blamed his teachers for not being “good” or “organized” and has often had difficult relationships with them because of this judgement. Even if he’s right about some of these judgments, the fact that he felt cold towards the teachers did not help him in getting the support he needs.

This year he is starting fresh by building strong relationships from the start. Here is a list of four ways to connect with teachers that we came up with during our session today. Can you think of additional ones?

7 Small Tasks to Do Over the Holidays

We’re smack dab in the middle of our winter holidays right now! I know you want to simply relax, and I want you to, too.

I ALSO want to encourage you to consider doing one or more of these small tasks. This is a great time to organize your life, so that you can hit the ground running when you go back to school in January.

Check out my detailed thoughts in this video:

Or simply read through the list on my whiteboard:

Are there other small tasks that are useful to do over a holiday from school? Please tell me! 

Gifts I Sometimes Give Students

It’s gift giving season! I’m actually TERRIBLE at giving gifts at specific times of the year — birthdays, holidays, etc — but I’m GREAT at giving them when the spirit moves me, and I see that one of my clients has a need.

In today’s video, I thought it’d be fun to show you the contents of my “Gifts” basket that I keep on my office bookshelf. I love to purchase fun or useful things when I”m out and about, and then I have them available to pop into the mail when the spirit moves me.

Let’s take a peek in my basket!

Do you know of other gifts that are fun to give students? I’d love to add them to MY basket. Please hit reply and let me know.

P.S. Here is a link to the little Habit Tracker booklets I showed you: https://myclasstracker.com/collections/notebooks

P.P.S. And here is a link to the Memorization Set that I love to give to some students to help them study for tests using old worksheets and quizzes: https://www.amazon.com/Memorization-Green-Sheet-Eraser-Included/dp/B00WEGCR7W

How to Be a Supportive Parent Without Micro Managing?

Do you try to be a supportive parent to your teen? But suspect that you still do a lot of micromanaging?

Well, one of my clients’ parents emailed me the other day asking how to follow up on some advice I’d given her daughter. I LOVED that she asked me this question, because it shows that she’s trying very hard to do the right thing by her teen.

In this video, I share more background on the situation and then tell you the suggestion I made to her about how to remind her daughter about the tips from our session… without micromanaging her.

 

 

Should You Wait for the Study Guide to Start Studying?

Do you usually wait for the teacher to hand out a study guide before you start studying? Are you a frustrated parent who’d really LIKE your student to be studying regularly but they keep on saying, “The teacher hasn’t handed out a study guide yet!”

I just got this question emailed to me, and I’m excited to share some reflections with you all. It’s not a straightforward answer, because it depends on how well you’ve been keeping up with the information you’ve been learning this semester.

However, there ARE some concrete ways you can figure out whether you need to start studying early. So watch the video, and let’s check it out!

How to Schedule Your Studying So You Stay Sane

Do you sometimes feel a little insane trying to schedule all the little and big tasks that go into being a student?

I worked with one client who discovered something really important about how to get herself to follow through with her study and project plans — rather than habitually wait until the last minute.

She realized that if she builds these three things into her schedule, she’s more likely to follow through.

Check it out!

How Buffers Save You From Last Minute Cram Sessions

When you are assigned a long term writing project, do you often stay up late the night before finishing it off?

One of my clients sought me out because this is par for the course with her. She struggles with writing, often procrastinates, and then does a late night push to get it done at the last minute.

We’ve been working on making writing plans, and breaking the project down into doable parts with mini-deadlines.

In this video I describe one thing that she has noticed really helps her when making a project plan — building in buffers!

Tune into the video for more info.

Is Your Teacher As Bad an Explainer As You Think?

“My teacher doesn’t explain things well!” This is a common refrain in my coaching practice when I suggest that students seek their teachers out for extra tutoring outside of class.

Recently, I’d been watching as a client saw her chemistry grades plummeting and plummeting. When I asked her more about it, she kept on telling me how hard chemistry is and how she doesn’t understand the material. When I suggested she talk to the teacher after school, she insisted that there’s no way she’d be able to understand his explanations then, because they felt undecipherable in class.

Surprise! Surprise! This client reported in that she finally got the after school tutoring at the teacher’s insistence, and it went MUCH BETTER than she expected it would.

Listen in for an explanation of what my client discovered.

Tip from the video on how to do better on tests:

How to Talk to a Grumpy Teacher About Grades

?Are you scared to talk to your teacher about your grades? I have a client who really wants to raise her Spanish grade, but she says her teacher is a “grumpy old lady” and fears the exchange will be very unpleasant.

I helped my client think through the possible outcomes of this conversation, and how to do it so that she can feel good about the exchange with her teacher.

Take a listen! I present two different ways of talking to your teacher. Maybe when you hear them both, it’ll be obvious why one way might make a teacher grumpy, and the other might make her grateful. ?

Here are some great ideas that we talked about to help you start a conversation with your teacher:

 

 

Is Potential Enough? Water Aerobics Inspired Tips for Students

I just started taking a water aerobics class at the swimming pool of a local high school. Sometimes there are high school students working behind the front desk, and this particular day we got in a fascinating conversation as I was leaving.

I was so inspired, I couldn’t wait until I’d showered and dried my hair to tell you about it — so please enjoy this “come as you are” video in which I’ve got wet hair, my wrinkles and gray hairs are extra visible… and I tell you this story of this super fun — and tip filled! — interaction.

Listen in as we discuss the idea of potential, why it’s not enough to get you into college, why it doesn’t necessarily matter whether you get into a “good” college, and some easy tips for how to make the most of your education now matter where you go to school.

P.S. If you want more great tips about college and studying check out my College Prep podcast here!