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!

Studying Sucks…Now What?

skateboarder I usually come home from my midday walks with major insights.

Today I was strolling along, and suddenly realized a major mistake in the way I have been talking to my clients about studying.

The truth is, studying is hard work. When we study, we are doing something that we usually don’t feel naturally inclined to do.

What Studying is Like When We Feel Passionate

As I was walking I was thinking about the things I’m passionate about. Right now, I’m loving playing with my new iPad! Every day I find two or three new apps that would help me in my business or my work with clients. It’s so much fun to curl up on my couch wrapped in a blanket and explore the apps, figuring out how they work, making mistakes, getting lost, having a little successes, and ultimately creating some cool, Cool stuff. I’m doing a whole lot of learning while I’m playing this way, but it doesn’t feel like studying.

Does a kid who’s going out to practice his skateboarding say to his buddies, “Hey, Let’s go study skateboarding!” Of course not. This young skateboarder is simply passionate about his skateboarding, and curious about how to get himself more and more skilled.

Many adults talk about studying as if

  • a. It’s easy,
  • b. Kids should want to do it, and
  • c. Kids know what to do to study.

That may be true for activities that kids naturally like to do. Our passion and curiosity pull us along through all the hard parts about learning. We’re willing to PRACTICE.

What About When We Don’t Feel Passionate (Which Is, Like, MOST of the Time)?

However, everyone needs strategies for keeping their brains focused on unpleasant tasks.Part of the art of studying is learning strategies to get yourself to do something that is pretty hard.

Over my years coaching middle and high school students, and watching them transition to college life, I’ve been practicing a better and better ways to help students tolerate, and sometimes even enjoy, that pesky task of studying. I’m super excited about a new course that I will be offering starting in January.

Once I’ve written it, I’ll be looking for people to give it a test run, because it’s my first on line class. If you’d like to be informed of the release date of this course, and possibly sign up for to be a free beta tester, please sign up here.  (You’ll also get, as I special gift from me, access to a webinar about 5 major mistakes students make, and 5 secrets about what to do instead).

I’m super, super excited about coming out with this new and powerful way of helping high school students think about how to get themselves to study. Stress free studying, here we come!


Photo Credit: Mark Dalmuder via Flickr

To Rock Your Final Exams, Organization is Key

Organized Desk

This is just a quick blog entry to celebrate one of my academic coaching clients. I’ll call him Oscar.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I walked into his bedroom last Wednesday evening. A transformation had occurred around Oscar’s desk.

Over the holidays, this high school freshman got unbelievably organized! I wish I could take credit for the impressive systems he created, but actually — Oscar did it all himself.

The picture (above) shows his new-and-improved desk space, and I’d like to highlight a few of the lists he’d posted:

  • His high school’s final exam schedule
  • A list of due dates leading up to final exams
  • A list of long term projects that he needs to track
  • A list of writing tips I’d made for him
  • A list of what his current grade is in each class, and what percentage of the overall grade that each final exam will play

Go Oscar!!! This kind of organization, not to mention the clean desk underneath all the lists, is a great way to set yourself up to  rock your finals.

One word of warning: Organization is only half the battle. For some creative types, it’s more fun to create systems than implement them. (Are you like this? I sure am! It’s why I work as an academic coach; I get to dream up all kinds of systems that other people get to implement).

Now that Oscar’s got a clean desk space, it’s time to buckle down and study.

P.S. If you’re a teacher reading this, please take note: it’s most helpful for students if they receive their final exams study sheets at least 2 weeks before finals exams are scheduled to begin! Most of my clients’ teachers don’t seem to be handing out the review sheets until 5 days before the final. If we really want kids to learn how to study for 7 major exams, we need to give them the time to strategize and plan!