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!

A Thinking Hack to Help You Read More Effectively

Do you ever struggle to read difficult texts? I’ve had a few different videos on this topic lately because it’s such a buggaboo for many of my clients.

In today’s video we explore a way to THINK about reading that might shift your ability to understand what’s in the text.

This tip comes to you courtesy of a client of mine, who made a brilliant observation about her own reading process. I just LOVE IT when my clients try the techniques I give them, but then come back with an even more brilliant observation of what works for them.

Check out the video to learn a small little tweak my client has made in her thinking that has given her the grit to get through a difficult reading.

Remember this one take away from the video:

Where To Study and Why It Matters

Did you know that WHERE you study can make a difference in how well you get prepped for a test? More about that topic in a moment.

But first — wow!! We had over 180 educators (and parents!) sign up for the Study Cycle 101 Masterclass yesterday. I was particularly impressed at the countries that were represented: Peru, Venezuela, Azerbaijan, Beirut-Lebanon, Canada, Australia, Canada, and more!!

It’s not too late to sign up if you’d like to watch the recording, and then participate in tomorrow’s Practice Labs! (Hint: During the masterclass I’m giving out a $100 discount code to my upcoming Art of Inspiring Students course, so if you’d like access to that, make sure to sign up. The discount is good through Friday evening).

But now — given it’s Wednesday! — I bet you’d like my weekly video tip. 🙂

P.S. If you’re curious to read the original article from the New York Times, here it is: https://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/07/health/views/07mind.html?

227: Debunking Misinformation about the ACT’s Science Exam

Are you buying into some faulty information about ACT science?

Megan walks you through what this section of the standardized test is really about — and believe it or not! — it’s not science. Go figure.

Specifically, we discuss:

(1) What the ACT science portion actually tests, if it’s not your knowledge about science, and

(2) What your score on this section of the test does (and doesn’t) tell you about your aptitude for studying science in college and working in science related careers.

Listen in as Megan walks you through what this section of the standardized test is really about!

226: A Simple Checklist for Helping Students Overcome Procrastination

How do you help a teen overcome their procrastination and take action on academic assignments they don’t want to do?

In today’s episode Gretchen walks you through a checklist of four ways to help teens “get in gear” when they are procrastinating.

Tune in to find out more information about how to help students troubleshoot which of the following is  their weakest “time management” link:

  • Tools
  • Team
  • Routines, and
  • Self Talk

To go deeper with this checklist, or for more information about how to help students overcome procrastination, check out Gretchen’s upcoming course for educators The Art of Inspiring Students to Study Strategically.

Click here to listen in as Gretchen walks you through a checklist of four ways to help teens “get in gear” when they are procrastinating.

Why Schools Should Stop Teaching Learning Styles

?Do you teach students learning styles at your school, or in your classroom or coaching sessions? Do you assume — as many educators do — that knowing your learning style can help you study and learn more effectively?

Well, the research shows that this is not necessarily true! In this video I make the case for why we should all stop teaching learning styles — or at the very least, tweak the way we teach them.

If you agree that you’d like to teach a simpler, more research-based and brain-science-infused model for helping students learn to learn — I invite you to sign up for one of these FREE classes:

– Click here to take Study Cycle 101, (if you prefer to read all the lessons at your own pace),
– Click here to attend a live Master Class, if you prefer to learn it live from me, or
– If you watched the video and realize that we need EFFORT and VARIETY in order to learn, sign up for both! 🙂?

225: Save Money on Testing with Fee Waivers

For many families, the costs of taking standardized tests like the ACT, SAT and AP’s are out reach. However, it is possible to receive fee waivers, and Megan breaks down exactly how.

 

Tune in to learn more about topics like:

  • The difference between reduced and waived fees
  • How to use the “free lunch waiver” as the first step in waiving testing fees
  • The costs of regular registration
  • How to use these processes for waiving university application fees as well.

This is a super important episode, and many families don’t realize the college-related reasons they should apply for the “free lunch waiver.”

Please spread the word among friends, local organizations, and those who work with students who may need assistance.

Click here to tune in to learn about waivers and how you can get them if ti applies for you.

Does the idea of keeping a calendar overwhelm you?

Do you, or a student you love, struggle to keep a calendar?

I’d like you to meet Sarah Weidman, one of my star Anti-Boring Approach™ Certified Coaches. It’s August, we’re all revving up for the new school year, AND I’m excited to show off the expertise of the coaches who now use my Anti-Boring Study Cycle model in their coaching (learn it for free here!).

Towards the end of the last school year, Sarah had a client who told her that she didn’t like keeping a calendar. She felt overwhelmed by all of the assignments and activities listed. Sarah totally understood where her client was coming from (that’s the sign of a good coach!) and worked with this young woman’s concerns.

Tune in to discover the steps they took to make calendaring less overhwhelming… and more useful.

Are you in need of expert academic coaching this school year? Sarah is available and you can find out more info here. She’s an awesome academic life coach based in San Francisco but available anywhere thanks to the miracle of the internet.