Teach more Effectively With a New Tiny Habit?

Have you been looking for a quick and inspiring way to set a new intention to improve your teaching this spring?

Classroom teachers are such overworked and underappreciated educators that I sometimes hesitate to make suggestions for how they can transform their teaching to be more “study” friendly.

I’ve been challenging myself to come up with a list of short, 30-second habits that are relatively easy for educators to incorporate into their classrooms…and that pack a punch in terms of results with students.

Check out the video below, during which I share the 3 steps to designing a tiny habit that might transform your teaching this semester…with relatively little extra effort!

Don’t have time for the full video? No worries, here’s a short synopsis:

I want to ask you, “What if one 30-second habit could absolutely transform the way you teach and the way your students respond to your teaching in terms of being more self-sufficient and becoming more independent with their learning?” I’ve been playing around lately with lists of habits that if teachers just took one of these habits on, how it could vastly change the dynamics of their classroom. Today I’m going to be talking about what the parts of a tiny habit are, and I’ll be sharing some tiny habits at a later date.

So let’s look at a tiny habit. A tiny habit consists of 3 parts.

Gretchen Wegner, Teach More Effectively with a new tiny habit, teaching, teachers, teacher, academic coach, academic coaches, tutors, tutor

First off, a tiny habit is 30 seconds or less. Then they are attached to something you already do in the classroom or at home when lesson planning and that you’re already doing habitually. The third part is that it completes the sentence “After I [do habitual task] I will [do new habit].” For example, “After I write the task on the board I will ask students how will you prove that you know this information?” This is an example of one tiny habit that I am convinced that teachers can easily incorporate into their curriculum without a lot of added effort. In this case, it’s about asking a certain kind of question that gets students thinking about their learning.

If you are a teacher, tutor, or academic coach, or perhaps even a parent, interesting in learning more about not only tiny habits but about how to help your students become independent learners and test-taking powerhouses, please consider checking out my course, The Art of Inspiring Students to Study Strategically.

College Prep Podcast #191: Strategic Extracurriculars – Make Your Activities Work for You in College Admission

Megan Dorsey, The College Prep Podcast, High School, College Admissions, Extracurricular activities, extracurriculars, school, student, students, kids, Do you worry whether your high school student has the right kind of activities to impress the colleges to which they’re applying?

Megan lays out an easy way to think about extracurriculars to help teens make the most of their time outside of school.

She shares:

  • what it means to “start with the end in mind” with thinking through a teen’s activities
  • choose an activity that makes sense for your kid without forcing them to do something they wouldn’t ordinarily do
  • four ways to find the right activities for your student that will be a) aligned with your kid’s interests and b) show them off in a good light to colleges

Click here to tune in as Megan discusses extracurricular activities and how they can benefit teens.

Why Working Out Helps You Be a Better Student

Do you struggle to get motivated to do your homework? You are not alone! I’ve had lots of videos on motivation in the past, but this one is different.

As you may know, I like to collect data from all my clients in a process I call the Habits Graph. One client, in particular, wanted to track how many times she works out each week. When we first put this on the graph, we had no idea how useful it would be!

We also tracked how motivated she feels each week to do her homework. This past week, when we filled out the Habits Graph together, we noticed some interesting trends. You might be able to guess what they are! Watch the video to see if you’re right.

Hey there, don’t have time for the full video? No worries, here’s a short summary:

So as I was working out today I was thinking about a conversation a client and I had about the link between working out and her level of motivation to do her homework. For the last three weeks we’ve been collecting data, and as any of you who have worked with me before know, I love to collect data with students to help them understand their habits better. So over the last three weeks, we’ve tracked how many times she’s gone to the gym each week and how motivated she’s felt to follow through on her homework.

Why Working Out Helps You Be a Better Student, Motivation, Physical Activity, Workouts, Gretchen Wegner, Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful STudying,

As you can see there is definitely a pattern here. In the first week, she went to the gym 4 times and felt a 7 out of 10 in motivation.  In the second, she went 0 times and had only a 2 motivation. And in the third week, she went to the gym 3 weeks and felt a 5 in motivation. And while the pattern is pretty noticeable, it really shows when you see it on a graph.

Habit Graph, Physical Activity and Motivation, Working out and Motivation, Body and mind,

Isn’t it fascinating how almost perfectly the shapes match-up? For this student, and for most students in general, being physically active greatly helps with motivation. Our bodies and brains are inexorably linked, so if you aren’t being physically active in a way you enjoy then your probably hurting your ability to do your school work and your motivation.

And if you’d like to learn more about the Habits Graph, or feel you could use some help getting your homework done each week, please consider checking out my course, The Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying.

Get Creative With How You Track Habits

Do you have great intentions for following through on new habits, but then find yourself struggling to keep the momentum?

This happens to me all the time in the transition between summer and the new school year. So this year, I got creative! Check out my new habit tracker, and listen in to why simply TRACKING your habits can be so powerful (even if you don’t actually follow through).

Hey there, don’t have time for the full video? No worries, here’s a short summary:

So this particular school year, 2017, has been so hard for me personally to transition from the wide-open summer to the regimented school year, and I have had to do something I haven’t had to do in a long time. I’ve made myself a star chart, and I’m noticing that a trick like this is the best way for me to rev up my habits in a quick period of time. And the way I use this is I have some double-sided tape (or in my case tape rolled up so it’s sticky on both sides) and I have it placed on my mirror with some stars next to it. That way I’m guaranteed to see it every morning and night!

Get Creative With How You Track Your Habits, Gretchen Wegner, The Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying, Habit Tracking, How to track your habits

Now, let’s discuss how to make this and how it works. As you can see I have it divided into 4 sections, my morning routine, my evening routine, the exercises I want to do every day, and diet/water. Here’s the deal, I don’t expect myself to be perfect. I’m simply tracking, what am I good at vs what am I not good at. The beauty of this though is that let’s say I don’t feel like flossing, but I see the star chart it makes me want to do it just so I can put a star on it.

That said, I don’t recommend that parent’s make these for their students; however, I do recommend to students that you make something like this for yourself to get you revved up for the school year. Because until your about 21 you’re going to be going through the cycle of starting a new semester and trying to build habits, then slowly losing them, and rebuilding them, and slowly losing them.

If you want more tips and tricks for tracking, managing, and forming new habits, please consider checking out my course, The Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying.

The Only Thing You Need to Know to Ace Tests

Hey there, do you have trouble with tests? Do you study by rereading your notes or textbook? Even if you don’t, it’s very likely that you use the same method every time you study right?

Well, I’ve got some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that the way you’ve been studying is most likely being wasted. The good news, I have the solution right here, and I’m going to share it with you.

Hey there, while I HIGHLY recommend watching this particular video in full, here is a summary:

The Study Cycle is composed of 3 steps and is the most effective, efficient, and anti-boring method I know for studying. So before we begin going over the steps, I have a little image here, which we will be referencing.


The Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying | The Art of Inspiring Students to Study Strategically | Gretchen Wegner | Teacher | Teachers | Tutors | Academic Life Coach | Academic Coach | Academic Coaching | Academic Coaches | Tutors | Tutor | Study Skills | School Administrators | Parents | Parent | Student | StudentsWe start with the basket of knowledge and skills at the bottom of the image, this is what we need to learn, and we need to get this into your beautiful brain at the top. So step 1 is encoding the information from the basket into our brains. In this step, we are getting the information into our brains, whether we are teaching it to ourselves or it’s being taught to us.

Step 2 of The Study Cycle, which the majority of students skip, is practice retrieval. This is the process of getting the information out of our brains and assessing what we actually learned. By doing this, we get two very important pieces of information. The first is what we do know, what we actually did learn in step 1. The second is what we didn’t encode in step 1. What we didn’t learn, or encode, we put back into the basket of knowledge.

Then we have step 3. Step 3 is one of the least practiced steps, but just as important or more important than the other 2. Step 3 is to encode the information we assessed we didn’t learn in step 2 in a NEW way. The important thing is NOT just to try to re-encode it the same way you did in Step 1, but to encode the information in a new way.

My course, The Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying, for students, and The Art of Inspiring Students to Study Strategically, for Educators, both are filled with a wide variety of tools to help students encode information in new ways. So check them out, and I look forward to hearing from you.


5+ Oddly Effective Tools That Build Great Habits with Thomas Frank

Back in July 2015, I presented a webinar, “5+ Oddly Effective Tools That Build Great Habits” with special guest Thomas Frank, from CollegeInfoGeek.com. This webinar was to help introduce high schoolers and college students to some unique and potent tools that they could use, and Thomas was excellent, showing us a wide variety of tools that were unique, creative, and very effective that everyone could add to their toolboxes.

So tune in to see what crazy ideas Thomas shared with us.

The tools demonstrated in this video are quite a few, and a summary wouldn’t do the video justice; however, I do want to give you all the links to the different applications and sites mentioned in the video.

Buffer, Tool, Tools, Habits, Habit, Thomas Frank, Gretchen Wegner, High School, CollegeBuffer is a social media management suite. It allows you to schedule posts, set up a queue of repeatable posts, etc. for Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.

IFTTT is an application that allows you to connect two different websites/applications. In the video, IFTTT is used to connect Beeminder with Buffer, so that when a post from Buffer goes live, a data point gets added to Beeminder.

Beeminder, Tool, Tools, Habits, Habit, Thomas Frank, Gretchen Wegner, High School, College

Beeminder is a website application that allows you to have a system of accountability for your goals. You can set up goals, and if you don’t complete the goals, then you have to pay Beeminder. So, for example, if you don’t send out one post on Facebook a week then you have to pay $5 for each one you miss per week.

Habitica, HabitRPG, Habit RPG, Tool, Tools, Habits, Habit, Thomas Frank, Gretchen Wegner, High School, College

Habitica/HabitRPG is a habit tracking website. Effectively this website is a game based on your habits. The more habits or routines you complete, the stronger you get and the better you do. You can do a wide variety of things here, so here’s an example of what you can do: Let’s say you want to make sure you do your HW every day. You can schedule out your HW that you have in your planner, and then every day you can check it off, and you’ll gain EXP, items, etc.

ToDoist is a great place to keep track of all your tasks that you need to take care of. You can add tasks here to keep track of everything that you need to take care of.

Google Calendar is basically a planner that’s online. You can use it to schedule out all your time in a visual schedule. This offers a wide variety of features, including multiple calendars that can be turned on/off easily, time slots that can be overlapped and color coded, and much more.

As you can see there were a variety of tools listed in the video, and the system surrounding these were even better, not to mention starting at around 39:00 minutes into the video, Gretchen and Thomas answer a wide variety of questions from high school and college students. For a little sample, there’s one discussion about part-time jobs, another question about meta-habits, and so much more!

If you found this useful, I highly suggest you check out Thomas’s site, CollegeInfoGeek.com. He has a regular blog, podcast, and more for college students with tips and advice. And you can get even more tools and tips in my course, The Anti-Boring Approach.

College Prep Podcast #151: 3 Tips to Make Worksheets More Than Just “Busy Work”

3 Tips to Make Worksheets More Than Just "Busy Work" | Gretchen Wegner | Megan Dorsey | College Prep PodcastWorksheets may seem like useless “busy work,” especially to bored students.

But actually, they are great tools to help you score well on tests if you use them in the right way.

Tune in to find out more about how to:

  • Be less bored when filling out worksheets
  • Turn worksheets into quizzable study tools so that you can better prep for tests
  • Make sure you’re answering all the questions correctly so that you can…
  • Use your worksheet as a quizzable study tool,
  • and more!

Learning how to maximize worksheets as a learning tool is an underutilized habit for both students and teachers alike, which makes this a particularly important episode. Click here to listen to this episode!

A Silly Tool (to Buy this summer) That Keeps Students Motivated

Do you ever have trouble staying motivated to do hard tasks? Whether you’re 7 or 70, I think we all have trouble with this!

Several weeks ago, my 7-year-old nephew was visiting me from Pennsylvania. We had lots of fun trips planned, but he ALSO had some summer homework to do (ugh). He TOTALLY didn’t want to do it.
Luckily, I have the tool that’s in this video laying around my apartment. I’ve seen it work on 17-year-olds, but apparently, it works for younger folks as well. He got his homework done, and when we were skyping after he returned home, he asked, “Auntie Gretchen, can you show Ayla that ‘easy’ button?”

Check out the tool that kept him motivated in the video above!


Don’t have time for the full video? No worries, here’s a summary:

I’m curious, do you tend to notice the good things you do as often as you do the things you think you are doing wrong? I’ve noticed, in my work as an Academic Life Coach, that most students tend to just pay attention to the things they have or are doing wrong.

So as an academic life coach, I try to instill in my clients the idea that they should be paying attention to the things they do right as well, and I have a funny story to share about one of my clients. Whenever he’s done something well, in this week’s case it was finishing up his college applications, we hit the “Easy” Button. It’s a silly little congratulatory tool that we use, and have a lot of fun with. I’ve found it’s a nice little motivational bonus for getting through hard tasks.

What silly tools keep YOU motivated? I’d love to hear.

Are You So Creative You Are Bored At School?

Meet Rina. YouTuber, Suzuki violinist, and soon to be 8th grader. Clearly, Rina is NOT a morning person, which she hilariously demonstrates in this homemade video.

Rina and her mom are signed up to participate in The Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying this summer. I haven’t met Rina yet, but I already know we’ll get along great. After all, she’s got the gumption to create this video and share it with the world!

Rina is exactly the kind of student I’m excited to serve: super creative, filled with ideas, and courageous enough to take action on those ideas.

The problem for these kids often is that there doesn’t seem to be room at school to act on their crazy, quirky ideas. School seems to be about doing what the teacher thinks is interesting and important…not what YOU are on fire to learn.

In my years coaching these creatives, I’ve learned that there is a particular mindset that limits their ability to learn effectively in a school environment.

When we shift this mindset, students’ whole relationship to learning changes as well…as do their test grades and their self-confidence.

The limiting mindset is: “School is about doing what the teachers wants me to do. My creativity doesn’t belong there unless the teacher says so.”

A more freeing mindset is: “I can be in charge of how I bring my creativity into learning. I can learn what the teacher wants me to learn AND be creative.”

Our education system trains kids to follow someone else’s directions at school; it doesn’t train them to think about their learning, and apply their natural skills and abilities to this learning.

I’ve started asking my clients to look at their assignments and think, “Why did your teacher assign this worksheet? What’s the hidden learning purpose?” Once they get good at identifying the learning purpose, I ask, “How can you achieve this learning purpose in your own, creative way?”

Through these questions, kids exercise their skills at meta-cognition (which means “thinking about our thinking”). The better students get at this skill, the more easily they are able to integrate their true, creative, authentic selves in many more areas of their lives.

Their creativity becomes a fluid, dynamic presence in all areas of their lives — rather than a fun thing they squeeze in between school responsibilities.

If you are a creative kid who feels stifled at school — or if you’re the parent of one — I urge you both to join me for the Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying. We’ll dive deeply into this topic and practice ways to be so creative that you are INSPIRED (rather than bored) at school.

P.S. If you’re not convinced that an online learning experience can be both fun & effective, take a free sneak peek!



Artful Systems Make Organizing More Fun


I just finished collaging the cover of a new spiral notebook, and now I can’t wait to write in it! Art makes such a difference in our lives.

I often have my academic coaching clients decorate their planner covers for this very reason. Just yesterday a senior in high school told me that she has already started collecting pictures for next year’s planner, when she is a freshman in college. This from a client who usually has a terrible time planning ahead.

How might you incorporate more artfulness into the mundane systems in your life?

Harvesting Joy Stories (or Why Is The Bad Easier to Remember Than the Good?)

Do you remember the first time you realized that everything is connected to everything else? For me, it was first semester of freshman year at Macalester College. I was shocked to discover that each of my classes, disparate as they were (Theatre With a Global Perspective, The Biology of Conservation) kept on resonating with each other. It became a game each semester to notice what themes were emerging across all my classes.

This weekend the theme of Sacred Stories rose up out of the disparate activities of my weekend. On Saturday I attended The Sacred Story Project: Messages to the World. What a sweet workshop offered by Cynthia Winton-Henry, founder of InterPlay. We spent the day telling stories about experiences infused with love and experiences that suck (thanks, Cynthia, for keeping it real!). We were searching for the stories from our lives that we want to tell over and over.

I was in kind of a bad mood on Saturday, so I had a hard time accessing stories that felt nourishing. I kept on thinking about the stories that I DO tell over and over which I’m TIRED of telling. Stories of pain, abandonment, disconnection, dysfunction. Going to therapy seems all about retelling my pain stories over and over. And even in my academic coaching work, although I often ask my clients, “What went well this week?,” we seem to dwell even more on the question, “What didn’t go well, why, and how can we fix it?”

At the Sacred Stories workshop, it occurred to me that I want to start harvesting all the joy stories from my life. There are so many of them! I want to mine my own life for the joy stories, and I want to hear my friends’ stories as well. You can bet that tomorrow at Tuesday Night InterPlay (which also happens to be my birthday!) we will be playing dancing, singing and telling our joy stories. And I’m so curious about my academic coaching clients as well. When was the last time I asked them about what their most joyful moment last week was? I wonder if any of them will tell stories of experiences in the classroom, with teachers, learning?! I hope so. And if not, I hope to start directing their attention towards those small moments of joy in learning.

As I remember my little “game” that I played each semester back at Macalester, I realize how joyful it felt when I discovered a new theme emerging among my classes. Aha!! I’d feel. Look at this revelation I’ve uncovered!! Through my InterPlay teaching and my academic coaching, I hope to help myself and my companions continue noticing their own joy moments and turning them into stories for safe keeping. (By the way, this doesn’t mean we won’t also keep talking about what sucks. Sometimes that’s soooo necessary and empowering! I’m just looking to create some balance…).

Shoot! This blog entry got so long, I didn’t get to tell you about the OTHER event this weekend that was all about claiming the sacred stories in our lives: I went to the Berkeley Rep to see How To Write a New Book for the Bible. I won’t say more, other than that I highly recommend it!

Take Time Out To Slow Cook

20110826-100823.jpgEvery year I encourage my academic coaching clients to decorate their planners (otherwise, time management can be so uninspiring). Because I practice what I preach, I made a collage too. Can you tell what my intentions for the school year include? The poem (made of found words) sums it up:

True Vitality:

calm minds take time out
to slow cook.
break free!
the pleasure of not being perfect.
double your salary of possibilities
and live lighter
(yes, you can!)

Art Every Day Month: Day 28 — Advent(ure)

I’m on an Advent(ure) right now. A few weeks ago I posted the following ad to the personals section on Craigslist:

I know this is kind of an odd request for Craigslist but…anyone wanna go to church with me this advent season? I haven’t been in years, but I love the advent season and this year I’m ready to investigate my on-again-off-again relationship with Christianity. I thought it’d be fun to have someone date-worthy to join me for one or more Sundays.

Several interesting men replied to my ad, and so voila! The Advent(ure) began today with the first day of Advent. My date and I took BART to the Mission, and then walked a mile to St. Gregory of Nyssa. The service was lovely, the company delightful…plus, I got to make an advent wreath! I figure that counts as art, for sure. And so does mini-Christmas tree. (Look closely at the picture and you’ll see some MuseCubes; they’re my favorite decorations).

Lest you think that an Advent Wreath is not enough art for one day… I also doodled while I was on a long phone call. Circles have become my new favorite shape, so I gave myself three colors and played with different ways of combining them. I’m quite partial to the circle on the bottom left (which was the final one I created).

Art Every Day Month: Days 13-14 (Bed Head)

Today’s Art Every Day piece was inspired by a skype call with my sweet nephew. I’d just woken up, and as I stared at my bed head in the webcam, I thought, “Sheesh! I could make art out of this!”

So… I hauled all my make up into the living room and began transforming myself using PhotoBooth as a mirror. Although it was tempting to smile, I tried hard to catch my natural expressions.

Gotta love that mouth hanging open in most of the pictures. Gorgeous, huh!?

Ack. I just felt really shy. Am I crazy to include this picture on a professional blog designed to reassure parents and teens that I am a reputable academic coach?

Perhaps folks will simply understand that I take my tag line “Play with intention. Learn with abandon” very, very seriously.

Speaking of learning with abandon: this piece taught me that using electronic media to make art can be fun, too. It’s definitely not as tactile as paint and watercolors. But it’s still involves MAKING. I can’t help but think about President Obama’s line in his inaugural address, when he heralded “the risk takers, the doers, the makers of things.” I’m honored to be part of that tribe.


Art Every Day Month: Day 11 (Does a t-shirt count as art?)

OK, if you’re one of my teen coaching clients, don’t read this. My image as Perfect Adult With No Bad Habits will be forever destroyed.

I just frittered away 2 hours on the computer designing a t-shirt on Cafe Press while IM’ing with a friend on Facebook (see, dear clients, you are not the only ones to give in to the Technology Twitch). I just got sucked into the computer. And I was supposed to be creating a piece of art, because it’s Art Every Day Month.

So I guess I’ll just have to consider the t-shirt my art-for-the-day.

The inspiration to design the t-shirt hit me while I was writing an email to my friends and family. It’s kinda long, but since it’s relevant I’ll quote it here:

As some of you know, two weeks from now my Tuesday Night InterPlay class is performing for the first time. This is also MY DEBUT leading an InterPlay performance. I’m getting nervous and excited, and just yesterday I realized what a *special* event this is for me.

See, I’ve always been a theatre person without a vision (or so I thought). I went to a Performing Arts high school (kinda like the TV show Fame!) where my theatre teacher told me I didn’t have the “spark” of a professional actress; I then minored in theatre in college, where I longed to be a director but felt I had “nothing to say.” This led to a stint in India studying Indian performance (if you can’t do it, might as well study it, which depressed me because I felt so disconnected), and a job at a theatre company writing/directing educational mini-dramas (which was actually pretty cool because I loved teaching). When I decided to become a teacher, I left it all behind…

…until InterPlay came along. InterPlay has slowly been giving me back my artist self. During my first untensive, I reclaimed my authority as a storyteller. Then others started calling me a dancer (and I’m slowly embracing that, too). Two years ago I got to go BACK to India with InterPlayers (which felt like a beautiful coming-full-circle). Since I’ve been teaching the performance class, I’ve been feeling like a director again.

And guess what — I have something to SAY now. I get to say to my InterPlay students, “Be your biggest, fullest, most expressive, most luscious selves!! Be you! Be art! Be seen!”

As soon as I hit “send” on this email, I realized: I wanted a Tuesday Night InterPlay T-shirt to wear during my directorial debut. And so I designed the ones pictured above. The small print on the back is a little racy, and I’m a bit shy to wear it. (Interplayers often seem so sweet and pure at first glance; dare I sport a swear word?!).

We’ll find out come Tuesday… And if you’re local and want to read the fine print on my t-shirt yourself, come to the performance! Here are the details:

Art Every Day Month: Day 10

Now that my painting is done, I couldn’t wait to mess around with some of the other random art supplies I’ve been collecting. I love how Art Every Day Month is giving me an excuse to explore! Today I pulled out the water soluble crayons. Inspired by Gabriela Masala’s Inner Wealth Deck, I thought I’d mess around inside a circle and see what came. Voila! (The colors in the photo look more drab than the colors in real life. Oh well. I kinda like it nonetheless.)

Art Every Day Month: Day 9

I did it!! I finished the painting! My first one ever. Today I worked with my white, silver and gold paint pens to add some highlights. Despite a small niggling feeling of dissatisfaction, I decided the painting was done. After signing it, I headed over to my altar for a final goodnight meditation.

Thanks to my InterPlay practice, I’ve begun improvising songs, often as a form of meditation. As I kneeled in front of my candle-lit altar, the following chant came to me: “Surrender to the rhythm of the life that I have.” Suddenly the realization hit me: These words belong on my painting!! I rushed over, grabbed the white paint pen, and voila!

Although the words look hastily done, I’m so pleased with the final product. I’d been wondering (sometimes judgementally) WHY I’d been painting — of all things — a fetus!? But these new words make it oh-so-clear. The baby symbolizes me surrendering to the rhythm of my life — this life! — with all its disappointments and regrets and surprising turns of events. I can’t know the future; I can’t change the past. But I can surrender into living the life that I have right NOW.

In this moment, that means surrendering into sleep. Good night!

Art Every Day Month: Days 5 to 8

Days in November are zooming by, and I haven’t quite managed to do one piece of art every day. However, I AM making something every day. And MAKING seems more important to me than actual making ART.

In the above collage I’m playing with images of companionship, working with some of the same images that I used in my last piece of art.

And if you’ve been following the evolution of the baby painting, here’s the latest:

I’m enjoying playing with the texture of the paint, and using highlights and shadows. I even added a strand of fake gray hair (stolen from my Halloween costume), and I’m getting braver with incorporating more colors inside the womb. It’s the first time I’ve ever played with acrylic, and I’m learning a ton.

I think I’ll be done with it soon, but one never knows for sure…

Thanks for checking in!


Art Every Day Month: Days 3 & 4

Over the last couple of days, I used Art Every Day as an excuse to decorate a planner as a gift for my academic coaching mentor, Beth Samuelson. (Note to Beth: Surprise!).

Last week a colleague sent me an email with some amazing National Geographic images. I printed them out in black and white  and then cut out my favorites. This turtle is so jubilant, I couldn’t help but add the quote “I love organizing!” That’s hopefully how our teen clients feel when we’re done working with them.

There were other sweet animal pictures. Here’s what the entire planner page looks like:

For any of you curious about why I made a cover to a planner: I’ve been experimenting with using the Levenger Circa Planner as a basic format for teens to organize themselves. I’m finding that my teen clients are more likely to carry their planner, and to use it, if it looks fun and personalized.

In the weeks to come, I’ll be blogging more about the planner. I’m thrilled with all the different ways that my clients are designing their planners — both the artistic covers and the ingenious organizational systems inside —  and I’ll be sharing some of their personalized systems with you all. Stay tuned…

Art Every Day Month: Days 2 & 3


On Day 2 (yesterday), I felt like playing with the texture of the paint. Hence, the yellow splotches around the baby. I don’t love the effect, but luckily Art Every Day Month lasts for a whole month. I’m sure I’ll find a way to tweak it into something I totally dig.

Today, Day 3, I had a brainstorm while driving home sweaty from my CampYoga class: surround the baby with a warm wall, kinda like a hug. As I watched TV to recuperate from the-most-strenuous-class-I’ve-ever-taken, I cut out triangles and glued them around the baby. I’m quite enthralled with the effect, and grateful to the Ralph Lauren ad from which I stole the blue colors.

To see how the painting has changed, check out it’s original state and what I added on Day One of Art Every Day Month.