One Phone-Based Skill Every Student Should Master

How good are you at talking into your cell phone? Probably pretty good, huh?
I beg to differ. 😉
Maybe you’re ok at talking to your friends or parents… but what about talk into your dictation app?
A couple months ago a 7th grade client got into a gnarly accident that has put his arm in a cast. That means writing with his hands is super hard, and sometimes impossible.
I have other clients who have specific learning disabilities that make it super hard for them to write and type essays, but they sure are good at talking their ideas out loud.
In both these situations, there’s a skills these clients NEED that would help them be better able to take advantage of their phones.
Yes, it involves dictation, but it’s a particular skill when dictating that I’d like ever student to build this summer.
Watch the video to find out more:
And if you’re in a hurry, here’s a copy of the white board that will give you a hint:
Even if you don’t think you’ll ever need this skill, I swear you’ll be grateful you spent the summer getting good at it.

Quizlet vs Handwritten Notes. What’s Better?

Do you find yourself using quizlet a lot? Does it feel satisfying to upload a bunch of terms and definitions onto that platform? But here’s the question — does it REALLY help your learning to do that?

Recently I worked with a student who was really behind in Spanish. Over his two-week spring break, we made a study plan for him to catch up. He tried a few different study techniques — first, putting a bunch of terms and grammar into quizlet, and second, taking notes in a specific way I taught him.
 
Which do you think was a more effective use of his time? in this 4-minute video, I give you some more details of his situation and report in to you what he noticed about the quality of his thinking using the different study techniques.

Would you rather just skip to the whiteboard tips? Here’s a close up of it!

When Struggling to Take Action, Try This Nourishing Task First

It’s STILL final exams season! Last week I gave four tips on how to deal with overwhelm.

This time around, I want to share a different kind of tip that’s more related to self-care.

Recently I found myself really dreading a difficult meeting with my coach, which is not unlike the dread students feel when needing to sit down and study. Both are potentially uncomfortable and hard tasks.

To help myself get into the mood, I did the following which I actually show you a picture of in the video:

For those of you in a hurry, here’s my whiteboard summary of the tip:

Are you struggling to take action on anything in particular right now? If so, feel free to “reply” and rant about it to me for a moment. Maybe I can help.

Do These Micro Decisions Cause You to Procrastinate?

Did you know that we make hundreds and hundreds of micro-decisions every day? These decisions can make or break a student!

Recently I was talking to a 16 year old client about the tiny decisions he makes on a daily basis that result in lots of procrastination … and zillions of overdue assignments.

This client brilliantly came up with the phrase “set back decisions” to describe the choices he makes that result in procrastination, and we discussed how he can plan better around his “set back decisions.

Tune in to hear me describe our interaction, and why he decided to move his cell phone to a different bedroom, as a result of the discussion. 🙂

For those of you in a hurry who simply want to check out my whiteboard summary of the tips, here they are:

Overwhelmed with Finals? Try These 4 Tips

Do you have finals coming up? Are you, or a student you love, overwhelmed with everything there is to do between now and the end of the semester?

Recently I was overwhelmed with a big project. I noticed myself starting to stagnate and procrastinate, but then — thank goodness!! — I started doing a series of four things that really helped me sift through the overwhelm and actually take action.

It occurs to me that folks going into finals might appreciate some of these tips, so here you go:

For those of you in a hurry who simply want to check out my whiteboard summary of the tips, here they are:

If you need any quick email coaching, please don’t hesitate to hit reply and ask me a question. If I can answer it in 10 minutes or less via email, I’ll do so. Easy peasy (and yes, for free).

How to Take Notes from a Lecture, Part 2

Do you struggle to take notes during lectures? Last week I shared a quick tip about how to create your own “secret code” so that you can write less while still capturing all the information you need.

This week I provide a different tip, brought to me by my client himself! He actually asked his friend who sits next to him why he’s so chill and doesn’t start writing as soon as the teacher starts talking.

Tune in to hear his answer:

If you want a quick summary of this tip, here is a copy of the whiteboard I made for the video.

How to Take Notes from a Lecture, Part 1

Do you ever struggle to write down everything the teacher is saying during a lecture?

If so, then you’re totally normal! It’s virtually impossible to write down everything!

One of my clients has been working really hard trying to write everything down, and he came to me to get some advice about how to work less hard while still capturing all the important information.

Tune into this video as I explain exactly how I helped him, including his report about whether or not it worked:

If you need it for a quick reference, here is a picture of the whiteboard I made for this video.

How to Stop Constantly Checking Your Teen’s Grades

Parents, are you driven to anxiety whenever you check your students’ grades online? Students, do your parents ambush you with bad news after they’ve checked your grades?

I’ve noticed that one of the biggest sources of frustration between parent and student is the way they talk about grades, especially if the parent has checks up regularly in the online grade books.

Last week I had a video from a 7th grader with his requests for his mom about how to talk to him about his school work.

This week I share the mom’s response to these requests, including a story about how she has actually stopped checking his online grades! I was amazed, and ask her how she did it, as most parents I know are, for better or worse, obsessed with checking.

Listen in to hear how it all shook down:

And if you don’t want to watch the video, but would like to read her words, here are copies of the whiteboards:

Advice for Parents from a 7th Grader

Students, are you annoyed by the way your parents talk to you sometimes (or, who are we kidding, much of the time)? Parents, do you know you can be annoying, but haven’t quite figured out where the line is between begin vigilant and giving your kid responsibility?

I recently had a 7th-grade client make some specific requests for how he’d like his mom to talk to him about his homework. Listen in to hear all the details about what he requests:

If you just want a quick glace at his requests, here’s a close up of the white board:

Can I Type My Notes, Or Must They Be Handwritten?

Have you noticed I’m obsessed with note taking lately? If you haven’t caught the last few videos you might check them out here:

Today I want to talk about whether your notes should be handwritten, or if you can type them up. On the one hand, this is a straightforward answer (handwriting is almost always better!); on the other hand, it’s complex (some students have learning differences that makes handwriting hard).

Listen in hear me lay out all the considerations, and then let me know if you have any follow up questions!

If you want to get right to seeing what tip I wrote on the whiteboard then you can check that out below:

What Do Muddy Feet Have to Do With Smarter Studying?

Do you notice those students in your class who don’t seem to be struggling as much as you do? How do you feel about them — jealous, annoyed, curious?

In today’s video, I tell a story about a client who noticed that one of her study buddies had a very different time management habit than she does when it comes to a class assignment. I was reflecting about this story recently while on a very muddy hike!

Tune in to hear me muse about what muddy feet have in common with smarter studying… You’ll also get a glimpse of my own bare feet playing in the mud!

And just in case you’re hungry for more, here’s a quick close up:

If you’re inspired, please hit “reply” and answer one of these two questions: how do you feel about being barefoot in mud and/or is there anyone in your class that you suspect you could copy a better habit from?

Buy These Supplies to Make Studying More Anti-Boring

It’s almost the end of the school year! For some college students, semesters end next month; high school students have another couple months to go.

Regardless, everyone is exhausted, and likely a lot of your school supplies have been used up by now!

I recommend that you take a little shopping trip to replenish some school supplies so that when final exams come, you have a lot of creative supplies to make your studying anti-boring.

In this video, I list some options for you. Take a look, and then let me know if you have any questions!

If you want to know what the supplies are now here is the whiteboard:

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.