How to Take Notes on a Non Fiction Book, Part 3

Have you been following along with my three part series on how to take notes on nonfiction book?

I’m super excited because I finished my notes!!!

Today I probably should have titled the video “How to Fit An Entire Nonfiction Book Onto One Page of Notes”, because that’s exactly what I was able to do.

Sort of.

In today’s video I show you the completed note-taking chart that I created, and discuss the benefits and challenges to using this Charting Method.

Is this a note taking process you could see yourself using from time to time? Why or why not? I’m curious! Please reply and let me know.

Also, stay tuned next week when I start sharing some fun facts with you that I learned from the book Rest: How to Get More Done When You Work Less.

How to Take Notes on a Nonfiction Book, Part 1

Do you have a hard time remembering what you read? I have this trouble all the time — I read a super interesting nonfiction book, but when it’s time to tell a friend about it, I can’t remember a single interesting fact!

Today I want to share a way I have of taking notes that allows me to capture the most important points from the non fiction books that I read. See: it’s not just students that study skills are good for! 🙂

Check out this video in which I walk you through the “book charting” process that I learned from my mom back in the day.

 

In today’s video I show you how to set up the process, and in the next two videos I’ll show you how I fill it out. So tune in the next couple of weeks to get more information!

 

217: Is Your Student Affected by the Rise of Vaping at School?

As a parent, teacher, mentor there are so many things we need to keep up with as we guide students.

One new development at schools in the last year is the rise of vaping amongst teens. Is your student affected by this new trend in tobacco and marijuana consumption?

In this episode Megan and Gretchen discuss:

  •  what vaping is and why it seems to be on the rise
  • how students tend to use it at schools, and how other students are affected even if they don’t vape themselves
  • how parents and teachers might inform themselves about the types of vaping devices that are used by students,
  • And more!

Listen in to see what Megan and Gretchen say about Vaping in Schools.

How to Get Work done While You Travel

?Do you often intend to get school work done when you travel during breaks, but then can’t quite bring yourself to do it?

More and more of my clients these days have at least one, if not more, plane rides during the course of their school year.

These same clients are also the kind of students who often have late work they need to catch up on!

In this video, I talk about how one of my clients came up with a “Plane Plan” in advance of his trip, so that he could make better use of his time on the airplane. This plan was very successful in helping him follow through with his goals. Check out the video to find out how.?

Make sure you come up with your plan in advance so you have a solid idea and can stick to it!

216: Why Learning is Hard and How to Make It Easier

Too many students judge themselves as “stupid” because learning new things feels hard. Understanding this one brain fact goes a long way to helping students feel better about themselves as learners.

 

Tune in as Gretchen explains:

 

  • What a neuron is and how a neural pathway is created in the brain,
  • Why it’s totally normal if learning feels hard,
  • How to stick with a hard task for long enough so that it feels easier,
  • And more!

If you’d like to learn more tools and tricks to make learning easier, check out the  Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying online course; you might also like to book a few sessions with any of these certified Anti-Boring Approach Coaches.

How to Have a Productive and Fun Break

Summer is here for almost everyone! Which means relaxation and rest, right?

Hopefully for most of you that’s the case. But some students need to be productive, even over summer break thanks to classes at community college, rigorous summer assignments, internships and more.

Here’s a tip that might be helpful for those of you who want to maintain a sense of fun while also making sure you are responsible about being productive, too.

Listen in as I share a tip given to me by a 16 year old client who discovered a simple but powerful way to be productive over spring break! He was able to study for his AP tests AND have fun with his friends too.

I hope you all have a great Summer break!

215: How to Choose the Right Calculator for High School

Having the right calculator can effect your math scores on the ACT and SAT, yet too many students have the wrong calculator with them.

Megan walks you through how to get the right calculator ahead of time.

Tune in to explore:

  • Common mistakes students make when choosing calcultors
  • Whether you need to purchase an expensive calculator, or whether cheaper versions will do
  • What the requirements are for ACT and SAT approved calculators
  • Whether to buy or rent your calculators,
  • And more!

If you’d like some extra reading, here are the calculator policies for the ACT and the SAT.

Listen in as Megan walks you through how to get the right calculator ahead of time.

A Simple Way to Study with a Friend

Do you like to study with your friends, but you’re not sure how effective you are together? Or do you question how well your teen actually learns with studying with a friend?

Recently a client was preparing to study for his AP World History exam with a friend, and asked me how he might study more effectively during their study session.

Here is a super simple format that I taught him, based on the available study guide that their teacher gave him. Check it out and see if it’d work for you too!

Here are the steps involved that I share in the video:

An Overlooked Method for How to Quiz Yourself

I get super suspicious when I hear a student tell me, “There’s no possible way I can quiz myself on this material.” That’s exactly what I heard this morning when my client and I were discussing how he might study for his AP World History exam.

Although it was tempting for me to wag my finger at my client and blame him for being a lazy thinker, instead I realized that he had overlooked a super straightforward way of quizzing himself. He thought quizzing needs to be fancy, with flashcards and quizlet decks and questions with answers. But instead, there’s a simple way to “practice retrieval” (a fancy name for “quizzing”) while you’re reading.

It’s easier for me to tell you about it rather than write about it, so check out this video.

 

 

Here are some tips about how to quiz yourself that I talk about in the video:

213: How AP, IB and Dual Credit Can (And Can’t) Help You in College

Many families assume that AP, IB and Dual Credit Courses will help them get ahead and save money in college. However, this is not always the case.

Listen in as Megan outlines how these higher level higher school classes in high school will — and won’t! — benefit you when you get to college. Specifically, she’ll walk you through:

  1. The limitations of taking AP, IB and Dual Credit courses, including what can transfer where and what scores are needed,
  2. Before taking these classes, how to establish your goals to you’re clear why you are taking them, and whether those reasons are realistic
  3.  How to research the credit by exam policies at the colleges on your list, so you know in advance which courses will count towards college credit and which won’t
  4. When to meet with an academic advisor to help determine which credits you should “cash in”, and
  5. The importance of remember these programs are part of a complete academic plan, and not the “be all and end all” of your college career.

Also note: It’s final exam time! If you need some help with studying for final exams, check out some of these episodes:

Listen in as Megan outlines how these higher level higher school classes in high school will — and won’t! — benefit you when you get to college.

Are You Guilty of Ambushing Your Teen?

Teens often start their coaching sessions with me super emotional. “Do you know what just happened?! My parents just ambushed me!” We then spend the next 5-10 minutes of our session processing anger, resignation, and tears.

An ambush is a surprise attack. For teens, this means that they’re often going about their day, feeling pretty good and with their own sense of a plan for what needs to be done. And then wham!! Suddenly they are faced with an angry parent accusing them of getting a zero on an assignment, or not following up with a task they were supposed to do.

In this video, we look at how to catch yourself when you might be about to ambush your teen, and what to do instead. After all, if a student feels accused, they’re less likely to follow through on the task that you think they should be doing! So you can’t really go wrong if you spend time learning how to communicate in a way a teenager can hear.

Check out the video here:

 

If you are a teacher, tutor, or academic coach, or perhaps even a parent, interested in learning 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.

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.

How to Be More Productive According to a 16 Year Old Boy

Do you ever notice that you are more likely to be more productive at certain times of the day and less productive at other times?

I was just blown away by the self-awareness of one of my clients. Sixteen-year-olds, and especially boys, aren’t always known for their keen self-awareness. But this young man pointed out five things that he’s learned about himself that help him be “way more productive” when he comes home from school. So productive, in fact, that he might be willing to postpone playing video games to get work done.

Check out this video (made five minutes after this young man’s session, so the content is fresh!) where I summarize the brilliance that he shared with me.

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

Every once in a while I’m just stunned by the self-awareness that the teenagers I work with have. Today, in particular, I was talking to a 16-year-old boy and he brought up, on his own accord that when he first gets home he keeps trying to remind himself to just sit down and start on his homework because he’s way more productive. Specifically, he listed the following reasons why he finds this to be true:

How to be More Productive According to a 16 year old boy, Gretchen Wegner, Academic Coach, Academic Coaching, Academic Life Coach, Academic Life Coaching, Productivity, How to be more productive, Education, educational blog

See, he noticed that when he first gets home he has more energy for doing his homework than later on in the evening. On top of that, he still has his ADHD meds in his system when he gets home, and they help him to remain focused. These are two great insights into his own productivity, but he has a few more. He also noticed that when he first gets home and has the house to himself the peace and quiet of being alone helps him to focus, a very astute observation. Furthermore, when he first gets home he says he can better assess how long his homework assignments will take. He’s fresher and has the energy to actually do his homework at the rate he thinks he can, but if he waits until later he’ll have less energy and be less focused so he underestimates how long homework will take him. The final thing he noticed is that when he first gets home he can better remember what he needs to do for homework; however, I really wish he’d write it down instead, but we’re still working on that.

I hope you found these observations to be as interesting as I did, and if you feel like you could use some more tips and tricks on how to be more productive, please consider checking out my course, The Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying™.

College Prep Podcast #192: Seven Types of Students and Their Study Blind Spots

Seven Types of Students and Their Study Blind Spots, Gretchen Wegner, Megan Dorsey, Academic Coach, Academic CoachingThere are seven different types of students, in Gretchen’s experience, each with different approaches to school and studying.

As final exams approach, it’s a great opportunity to explore each type of student’s weaknesses in regards to studying, and what students, parents, and coaches can do to turn those blind spots around.

Listen in as Gretchen goes into much more detail about these 7 types of students:

  • The Stressed Out Perfectionist
  • The Fade Away Student
  • The Brilliant-But-Bored Student
  • The Meh Student
  • The Disorganized Student
  • The Artist
  • The Athlete
  • BONUS (at Megan’s Suggestion): The Over-Scheduled Student

Click here to listen in as Gretchen reviews the 7 types of students and how to help them.

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.

College Prep Podcast #190: 12 Skills We Assume Students Know (But They Don’t)

Gretchen Wegner, Megan Dorsey, The College Prep Podcast, Students, Skills, Study, Studying, To do lists, calendars, organization, organizing files, reading, visualization, visualizing, take notes, make an outline,There are some basic life and school skills that adults assume teens know how to do — but they really don’t!

Gretchen and Megan break down 12 seemingly simply skills they’ve observed in their practices and urge their adult listeners to support students in learning how to do these things.

Tune in as they tell stories about how they discovered students don’t know how to:

  • set the time in their alarm clock
  • study skillfully for tests
  • work with “to do” lists
  • take decent notes
  • make an outline
  • clean out an email inbox
  • organize files on the computer
  • title computer documents in a way they can be found again
  • use a digital calendar
  • follow the rules of plagiarism
  • approach reading a difficult book without overwhelm
  • visualize what day-to-day life in college is like.

Click here to tune in to Gretchen and Megan as they break down key misconceptions adults have about teens’ skill sets.

One Way to Get Better Help From Your Teacher

Do you ever need to email your teachers because something they did or said is confusing, and you need clarification?

One of the skills I work on with teenagers is how to communicate respectfully with teachers without sounding like you are blaming or accusing them. This is a HARD lesson for many teens to learn and takes some practice.

Listen in as I share a story about a recent young man (sophomore in high school) who caught himself writing some blaming language to his teacher, and figured out — all by himself! — how to correct it.

Hey there, don’t have time for the full video? No worries, I’ve got your back. Here’s a short summary:

One of the skills I end up working on quite often with students, that I hadn’t originally thought I would, is writing emails. And this week I was talking with one of my clients, and he needed to write an email to one of his teachers. He was walking himself through it, and while I usually walk my clients through the email writing process, this young man is a good communicator and his parents work hard with him to help him be a good communicator. Anyways, here’s something that he caught himself doing that I wanted to share with you.

Gretchen Wegner, The Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying, Email, Emailing Teachers, Communication, Teacher and student relationships, student email, teacher, teachers, students, teenagers, high school

As you can see above we have a little image of my client typing up his email and what he noticed was that he was starting to write “You were confusing in class today”, but he stopped himself and rewrote it as “I have confusion about what we were doing in class today.” And this is something he said his mom drilled into him last year ad nauseam, the importance of not blaming the teacher with your language; regardless of whether you think it was the teacher’s fault or not. We want to try and take ownership as much as possible in our email communications, as we will get better help from our teachers if we are generous with our communication.

So I just loved that he caught himself there and the truth is that “I have confusion” was very true, as he is confused, regardless of what the cause of the confusion is. And by checking his language and tweaking it so he took responsibility for his experience, he is much more likely to get help from his teacher now, and in the future.

I hope this tip is helpful, and if you want more tips and advice on communicating with your teacher, please consider checking out my course, The Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying™.

Don’t Wanna Do Your Homework?

Do you ever have the strong, stubborn feeling that you just DON’T wanna do your homework?

In a client session recently, a junior in high school reported in that she just couldn’t motivate herself to get her work done over the past weekend.

When I questioned her about what was in the way of taking action (I have a checklist I use to help students identify what’s going on when motivation flags), she pinpointed her “mindset” as the problem. So, I helped her investigate how she might shift her mindset to take quicker action in the future.

Check out this video, where I summarize our subsequent conversation:

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

In the last week of September, I was talking with one of my clients, she’s a junior in a very rigorous high school, and she said that this was the first weekend she just didn’t want to do her homework. So we did a little investigating about what was going on in her brain that was making it so hard for her to take action on her homework. First, we investigated the idea of “I don’t wanna”, but I put “because” after that in order to see the beliefs behind the strong stubborn feeling of “I don’t wanna”. As a result, we came up with a list of beliefs that she had that were holding her back.

Gretchen Wegner, Homework, Procrastination, Stubborn feelings, mindset, how to shit your mindset, Academic Coach, academic coaching, The Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying

So the first was that there was too much homework, the second that it was too hard, and the third was that she didn’t know what to do. Once we had this list, we asked, a couple of questions of each belief. First, we asked, “is it true?” and as we were discussing it, my client said, “You know, there really wasn’t too much once I looked at it, but I hadn’t looked at it when I had this belief, so I just was convinced in my mind that there’s too much.” So in this case, asking “Is it true?” and then checking to make sure that’s actually the case, can help you overcome this belief. Similarly, the belief “it’s too hard” she couldn’t know if it was true as she hadn’t started yet, so once she started she realized it wasn’t, and if she first checked she’d have seen that it wasn’t too hard. Had the homework actually been too much, or too hard, she could have then asked herself, “What’s the next small action I can take?”.

Now, the reason these questions can help you shift your mindset and allow you to take action is that the statements, the beliefs, on the left of the image are what’s known as fixed mindset thinking. These are items that come from a place in the brain where we think that it’s always this way, this is the truth, the truth doesn’t change, and everything is locked in place. On the other side though, we have growth mindset thinking, which is based on the fact that our brains can be changed over time through practice.

And if you feel like you want more help getting or keeping yourself motivated and on track, please consider checking out my course, The Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying™.

An Unfortunate Side Effect of Hating Your Class

Do you hate one (or more) of your classes? I don’t mean mild annoyance or frustration with difficulty. I mean absolute hatred of the subject you’re learning?

One of my clients truly detested a subject area she was learning, and we worked hard this year to convince the powers that be to take it off her plate. In this video, I describe how this one shift made a world of difference in her motivation at school… and why it might sometimes be appropriate NOT to force kids to suffer through a class just because it is a “requirement.” Especially in the case of this client, who tried HARD to like this class (she stayed in it for two years), it became apparent that a change was necessary.

Tune in to the video to find out what class this was, and how letting it go turned things around for this client.

Hey, don’t have to watch the full video? No worries, here’s a short summary:

I have one client in particular with whom I’ve been talking about motivation in very specific ways lately. This young woman has been with for 3 years, and in the first two years were quite a struggle; however, this last year things have been going extremely well. There are three main reasons for this change. The first reason is that she’s not doing the dance team this year, which has increased her free time; however, this wasn’t as nearly as important as the other two.

Of the two other the first I’d like to discuss was the topic of last week’s video, “Why Working Out Helps You Be a Better Student“. As I discussed last week, this young woman enjoys working out, but more importantly, the cardio she’s doing this year seems to be helping her much more than the dance team did last year. And as we discussed in that video, there has been a marked increase in her motivation to complete her homework when she’s getting regular daily exercise as compared to when she isn’t.

Motivation, Gretchen Wegner, Unfortunate Side Effect of Hating Your Class, Academic Coach, Academic Life Coach,

With that said, the final and most important change from to this young woman’s school life that has drastically increased her performance was the removal of a class she simply detested. For her freshman and sophomore year, she was taking French, and she simply hated it. She hated the way the language sounded, she hated speaking it, etc. She simply didn’t like the language. Finally, the adults helping her, myself included, got the picture and she was able to drop French in exchange for taking Sign Language at her local community college.

You see, there’s something about when you absolutely hate a class and how it ends up tainting everything else. When you hate something heavily, it ends up draining your energy. So if you or a student who you know and love is in a situation where they simply can’t stand a class and it’s affecting their other grades as well, you might want to experiment with removing that course or changing it out.

And if you feel like you need help with motivation or tips for studying in a class you have trouble with, please consider checking out my course, The Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying™.

What To Do When Assignments Seem Pointless

Do you ever struggle to follow through on an assignment because it feels pointless?

A client of mine was recently complaining about the pointlessness of his English class assignments, and you’d better believe this isn’t the first time a student has struggled to find his teacher’s assignments meaningful or relevant to his life.

I helped him explore whether it is true that his class is pointless, and at the end of the investigation, we came up with a fascinating way to make it pointFULL instead. Tune in to find out what we came up with.

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

My client a couple of days ago was complaining that the assignments in his English class felt pointless. He has been finding that the class feels like it’s moving slowly, and the “do now” assignments seemed meaningless. He said that he didn’t feel like he could respect the class, it just felt so meaningless and he noticed he was doing less and less of the work. Then we talked through it a bit and went through some strategies I have for investigating the things that we tell our selves and seeing if they are true or not, and one the things I had him really think about was ” is it really pointless?” Now we went through far too many layers for me to go over, but what we came to at the end of it all was a key question. I asked him, “what would give it a point for him?”

He said, “Oh, maybe with every question the teacher asks I could give a class analysis for it.” Class analysis, not like “school classes” but societal classes. Anyways, I said sure, why not? Maybe not in writing each time, but in his head, he could definitely be thinking about the questions from that point of view, that way it would feel to him more meaningful. So he’s going to be trying that this next week, and I’m super excited to see how it goes for him.

In the meantime, I want to walk you all through these 3 steps that he and I went through.

What To Do When Assignments Seem Pointless, Gretchen WEgner, The Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying,

  1. You are the one responsible for the sense of meaning in your life. Not your teachers or parents. Sure it’s nice if they contribute to the meaning of your life, but you are the one who’s responsible for the meaning.
  2. Be clear on what ideas or activities will give you a sense of meaning. For my client, thinking about class and governments is interesting and thus thinking about questions or assignments in a sense of the effect of the subject matter in different classes gave it meaning. For me, I enjoy making artful creative notes. So as long as I can take fun notes, I can make any subject matter meaningful. It’s all about finding the ideas or activities that will give it meaning for you.
  3. And finally, talk about it with others. My client talked with me, and I love showing others my notes. By sharing it with others we can help keep our interest high.

I hope you all found this to be helpful, and if you want more tips on how to make school and homework less boring, please consider checking out my course, The Anti-Boring Approach.