Why do I have to learn this?

women run race

 

When I was younger and complained about anything my mother would say, “C’est la vie”, which basically means, that’s life. Often, I hear students complain about how boring school and homework is and how much they don’t like certain subjects, activities, or people. We can’t change the people, we have to take certain subjects to graduate, and we have to complete specific activities to accomplish our academic goals. Sometimes when students complain they say, ‘Why do I have to take so much math if the job I want in the future is not going to require me to understand geometry?’  I also hear, ‘When will I use this stuff in the future?’ Keep in mind that not everything your instructor teaches will be relevant right away. Sometimes we have to trust our instructors that what they are teaching is important for you to learn right now, even if it seems confusing, silly, or unnecessary.

As for when you will use everything you are learning no one knows because no one has a crystal ball to see your future. Take it all in. Learn what you can and try your best because you never know when you might need the knowledge that has been imparted on you. You never know what you will learn about yourself from any challenge whether it be a boring math concept or a history research project that you are having trouble organizing and comprehending. You are not just in a math class or just in a history class. You are in a success class! Learning how to succeed in spite of challenges is what prepares you for a successful future. For now, like Oprah says, “Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do.” Keep the “big picture” in mind as you do the things you have to do to be able to achieve your dreams.

Reach for the stars!

mel professional photo by kateMelanie Black is an Associate Certified Academic Life Coach and mindfulness educator. She is passionate about helping others and learning all she can in the process. With ten years of experience in the field of education, she is determined to help students succeed in school and life. “ One of my goals is to continue to be a humanitarian who helps our local community. I am passionate about my relentless pursuit of knowledge and desire to help others.“

 

What’s Wrong With the Word, Study?

photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/83633410@N07/

photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/83633410@N07/

Teachers will tell students to study or review a particular chapter or section before a test. What does that mean though? Students are not taught strategies for how to study or review material. Most students read over the textbook or their notes again and don’t interact with the material. In order for our brains to truly learn and retain the material we need to do something with what we have read. Knowing how you learn can help you choose the best strategies to help you retain information and get the grade you want on the test. Making a study plan for major tests in advance can help students big time. When I work with students on making a study I do not allow them to write the word, study in their plan. Instead they must be specific as to what they will be doing. For example, create flash cards for science vocabulary words or quiz myself with cues from my notes. With midterms and finals approaching try using specific words to prepare and review for exams.

How does our brain retain information?

First, we encode information by reading. The information goes into our brains and we become familiar with the material. Then, we need to retrieve the information to use it.  We have to get it out. In psychology this is referred to as the “retrieval effect.” “The more things you have it (information) connected to, the easier it is to pull it out, because you have lots of different ideas that can lead you to that particular material,” Mark McDaniel, a Professor of Psychology at Washington University. “And the things you retrieve get more accessible later on, and the things you don’t retrieve get pushed into the background and become harder to retrieve next time.” Hence, the reason why students need various strategies and quizzable tools when preparing for tests. Students need to quiz themselves before the teacher does to see how much they know and reflect on how to retrieve the information in the future.

Preparation and Review Strategies for Students

Preparation

  • Develop study sheets
  • make flash cards
  • make self-tests
  • do problems
  • summarize material
  • predict essay questions

Review

  • Recite study sheet from memory out loud
  • Quiz self with flash cards
  • Take self-tests
  • Recite notes out loud from recall cues
  • Re-create chart from memory
  • Answer essay question

Need help making a study plan for an upcoming exam? Contact me and we can sit down together to create a detailed plan to help you get the grade you want. Wishing you less stress and more success.

mel professional photo by kateMelanie Black is an Associate Certified Academic Life Coach and mindfulness educator. She is passionate about helping others and learning all she can in the process. With ten years of experience in the field of education, she is determined to help students succeed in school and life. “ One of my goals is to continue to be a humanitarian who helps our local community. I am passionate about my relentless pursuit of knowledge and desire to help others.“

If You Were the Bravest Version of You

brave

If you were the bravest version of yourself today, what would you be doing?

Being brave means accomplishing your goals and following your dreams even though there is a part of you that is scared out of your mind. There are things that hold us back from reaching our goals. One of those can be fear. Students in middle school, high school, and college, experience fear on a regular basis.

Students’ Top Fears

  • Fear of failure
  • Fear they won’t be liked
  • Fear they will get in trouble
  • Fear of bullies
  • Fear of talking to parents
  • Fear of the future and life after graduation
  • Fear of bad grades
  • Fear of talking to teachers
  • Fear of not being good enough
  • Fear of not having enough money

Benefits of Fear

Fear is an emotion and emotions, whether negative or positive, remind us that we are human. Most fears are not real, but made-up.  They are usually not true threats to your life and success. Being mindful of our fears and recognizing where they come from can help us work through challenges. Analyze why the fear is taunting you before it worsens. Facing our fears helps develop confidence. Confidence derives from achieving what we never thought possible. Listen to your fears and show it who’s boss!

How to be the bravest version of yourself.

Maybe it’s just by showing up to class on time, sitting down and doing the work, and sticking with it even when it feels scary and tough.

Maybe it’s by saying no to the things that will distract you from achieving your dreams and reaching your goals.

Maybe it’s by finally getting started on something new  like a project or something new that you have been wanting to learn or improve upon.

Maybe it’s by reaching out to a friend, coach, or mentor, asking them for help, and giving yourself permission to not have to do this journey on your own anymore. 

Your fears are not going to just vanish. It is human nature to experience fear. It will always be a part of your life. The biggest challenge is to be fearless. It’s to follow our dreams and continue to work towards our goals despite any fear we might have. Be brave.

mel professional photo by kateMelanie Black is an Associate Certified Academic Life Coach and mindfulness educator. She is passionate about helping others and learning all she can in the process. With ten years of experience in the field of education, she is determined to help students succeed in school and life. “ One of my goals is to continue to be a humanitarian who helps our local community. I am passionate about my relentless pursuit of knowledge and desire to help others.“

 

Words of Wisdom: Gordon Hinkley

rope climb

As the middle of the school year approaches students tend to feel overwhelmed by projects, tests, mid term exams, etc. Gordon Hinkley’s quote reminds us not to give up. Keep going. Do your best. If there is a quiz, test, homework assignment, etc. that you did not do well on or you downright flunked no worries. You have many more opportunities to improve. Think about what you can learn from your disappointments and use those experiences to make the future better. The school year is not over yet! Keep your head up and continue to work towards your goals. If you need any help don’t hesitate to contact me. Academic coaching has helped so many students reach their academic goals and achieve success.

mel professional photo by kateMelanie Black is an Associate Certified Academic Life Coach and mindfulness educator. She is passionate about helping others and learning all she can in the process. With ten years of experience in the field of education, she is determined to help students succeed in school and life. “ One of my goals is to continue to be a humanitarian who helps our local community. I am passionate about my relentless pursuit of knowledge and desire to help others.“

Helping Students Track Their Own Progress

student progress

Why should students monitor their own progress?

Often, teachers know how students are doing overall, but students themselves rarely know. Students who track their grades regularly, not just at midterms and finals, take ownership of their learning, and are more likely to persevere in the face of challenges and take steps to proactively meet their goals. Tracking their progress empowers students to be independent and successful, which will not only benefit them in school but in any future endeavor.

Benefits

When students track their own grades:

  • They take ownership of learning
  • They are intrinsically motivated
  • They perform better on high-stake tests
  • They learn how to track goals

What does it mean for students to track their own progress?

A student has to understand how they learn, and have the ability to articulate, create, or ask for the resources necessary to meet their learning needs. Students with these attributes take responsibility for and ownership of their learning by reflecting on successes and failures, and creating action steps to positively progress forward in reaching their goals.

When students track their progress, it means that they have set a goal and know how to measure where they are in the process of achieving it. Students regularly analyze and update their goals using concrete evidence—which can be anything. Students should reflect often on what is working and what’s not and figure out what they need to do to make progress with their goals.

How can parents help?

Having a simple non-judgmental conversation with your student is helpful. Ask them how satisfied they are with their grades. Ask them what’s working and what’s not. Then, discuss a plan on how to deal with what’s not working. Ask them what kind of help they might need to be successful. Making this a regular conversation is helpful.

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR OWN DOWNLOADABLE PROGRESS TRACKER!

mel professional photo by kateMelanie Black is an Associate Certified Academic Life Coach and mindfulness educator. She is passionate about helping others and learning all she can in the process. With ten years of experience in the field of education, she is determined to help students succeed in school and life. “ One of my goals is to continue to be a humanitarian who helps our local community. I am passionate about my relentless pursuit of knowledge and desire to help others.“

What have you learned about yourself from a current challenge?

highschool football

Being a student in middle school, high school, or college comes with many challenges every day. They could be academic, social, emotional, etc. Think about a recent challenge you had and how you dealt with it. What did you learn about yourself? How do you want to deal with similar challenges in the future?

“When you go through life’s challenges, you have the choice to either fall apart and become a victim of the circumstances, or you can rise up high and above others.” — Mo Seetubtim

mel professional photo by kateMelanie Black is an Associate Certified Academic Life Coach and mindfulness educator. She is passionate about helping others and learning all she can in the process. With ten years of experience in the field of education, she is determined to help students succeed in school and life. “ One of my goals is to continue to be a humanitarian who helps our local community. I am passionate about my relentless pursuit of knowledge and desire to help others.“

Gratitude Can Transform Your Life

Gratitude
Gratitude

 William Arthur Ward‘s words of wisdom remind us how gratitude can transform your life.

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” – William Arthur Ward

10 Questions That Lead to a Thankful Attitude by Adam Gragg

  1. What is a unique skill or talent I have?
  2. Who is a person in my life I’m blessed to know and why?
  3. What is a life experience (good or bad) that has made me a better person?
  4. What am I probably taking for granted?
  5. What’s a modern convenience I’m thankful for?
  6. Something positive about my home environment is _______________ .
  7. What is one thing someone has done for me that has improved my life?
  8. Who can I thank today and why?
  9. What is an opportunity, big or small, that I have ahead of me?
  10. Something I have learned recently that has made my life better is _______________ .

Pick one of these questions each week to focus on and transform your life with gratitude.

Benefits of Gratitute

Feeling more satisfied at school

Less stress and anxiety

More resilience

Build stronger relationships

Less materialism

Fewer symptoms of depression

Happier with life in general


mel professional photo by kateMelanie Black is an Associate Certified Academic Life Coach and mindfulness educator. She is passionate about helping others and learning all she can in the process. With ten years of experience in the field of education, she is determined to help students succeed in school and life. “ One of my goals is to continue to be a humanitarian who helps our local community. I am passionate about my relentless pursuit of knowledge and desire to help others.“

Using the 5 Dimensions of Learning to Achieve Your Goals

 

photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/83633410@N07/

photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/83633410@N07/

Everyone learns differently. In schools everyone is taught the same way, so most people think that the ways they learned in school are the only ways to learn! Actually, there are many, many different ways a person can learn. For example, some people need to move in order to learn and others need to doodle. When a student is able to understand how they learn best they can be successful in middle school, high school, college, and beyond. At Student Futures I help students analyze the 5 dimensions of learning and how they can use each to achieve their goals. The student completes a small online assessment, which we use to look at how they can use their strengths to their advantage and how they can improve their weaknesses.

5 dimensions of learning

POWER TRAITS

The ways you learn and work best make up your Power Traits for Life! There are 5 Power Traits or dispositions: Performing, Producing, Inventing, Relating/ Inspiring, and Thinking/ Creating. Most people have a Primary and a Secondary Disposition —their two highest scores. However, since everyone is different, the combination of scores is different for everyone. Your power traits can be used to help you: learn, study, memorize, communicate, organize, manage your time, get clearer about your interests, passions, and career possibilities. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to score. There are no scores that are “better” or “worse” than someone else’s scores. Whatever your scores are, they are your scores; they are a picture of you! Knowing your Disposition will help you understand what your overall learning and working strengths are so that you can choose materials and activities that will help you achieve your goals.

MODALITY

Your Modality strengths determine how you best process incoming information whether it be visually, Listening, or hands on. Reading, watching movies, sketching, writing, listening, doing something are examples of how we process information. It is very important to get to know your Modality strengths so you can learn how to use them to your best advantage, you will find that learning new information, memorizing, and even doing assignments will become so much easier. You will learn more, better, and faster, because you will be using materials and techniques that work for you!

ENVIRONMENT

Third dimension is your Environment which is everything that surrounds you and can affect your learning and working time positively or negatively. Some people are more affected by certain aspects of the environment than other people. For example, some people have a really hard time concentrating when it is cold, others have trouble when it is hot, and others are not bothered at all by the temperature. Some people can work in their room on the floor and others feel more comfortable at a desk. Some people like to work with music and some can’t concentrate.

INTERESTS

Your Interests, the fourth dimension of learning, are your greatest motivators! What do you love? You do your best learning when you are interested in and excited about what you are learning. The more you can integrate your interests and passions into your schoolwork, the better you will do!

TALENTS

The last dimension is Your Talents, which are the natural abilities that you were born with. Often, a person’s Talents point to career opportunities. However, you might not be interested in pursuing a Talent as a career. On the other hand, you might have a Talent that you would love to pursue, but people have discouraged you. Whether you are interested in pursuing a Talent or not, you can learn to put it to good use, to make your learning and working easier and more efficient.

Want to take the assessment and learn more about how you learn and can achieve your goals? Send me an email at hello@studentfutures.org

mel professional photo by kateMelanie Black is an Associate Certified Academic Life Coach and mindfulness educator. She is passionate about helping others and learning all she can in the process. With ten years of experience in the field of education, she is determined to help students succeed in school and life. “ One of my goals is to continue to be a humanitarian who helps our local community. I am passionate about my relentless pursuit of knowledge and desire to help others.“

 

 

 

What would you change?

Magic Halloween Sunset Bounce Magic Wand Witch

If you had a magic wand and could change one thing in your life what would it be and why?

There’s always something we want, something we would want to be different in our lives.

I love the magic wand question because it allows for infinite possibilities.

Think about your values. Think about your goals. Think about your senses. What would you like to see, feel, hear, touch? Let your imagination fly.

If you had a magic wand, what life would you create for yourself? What would you do in the next month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 5 years and then 10 years? There’s no limit! Think freely.

Be brave in your thinking and find solutions to what holds you back.

mel professional photo by kateMelanie Black is an Associate Certified Academic Life Coach and mindfulness educator. She is passionate about helping others and learning all she can in the process. With ten years of experience in the field of education, she is determined to help students succeed in school and life. “ One of my goals is to continue to be a humanitarian who helps our local community. I am passionate about my relentless pursuit of knowledge and desire to help others.“

 

Words of Wisdom: Walt Disney

Disney words of wisdom

Disney words of wisdom

Worry means to feel or experience concern or anxiety. Students tend to worry a lot about their grades, appearance, and much more. Parents worry about their children, job, finances, and other things. Too much worry, anxiety, or stress can affect the way you feel and live your life. Have you ever been so worried about how you will do on an exam that you can’t remember all that you have studied and end up not getting the grade you wanted? Don’t worry. Be happy!

Keep things in perspective.

Most things we worry about already happened or are temporary. Most things are solvable. Ask yourself, “How can I solve this problem?” “What can I do about this?” 

Focus on the positive.

Ask yourself: “What did I learn from this?” 

What if?

 Suppose, just for a moment, you live in a world where fear and anxiety do not exist. What could you do now?

mel professional photo by kateMelanie Black is an Associate Certified Academic Life Coach and mindfulness educator. She is passionate about helping others and learning all she can in the process. With ten years of experience in the field of education, she is determined to help students succeed in school and life. “ One of my goals is to continue to be a humanitarian who helps our local community. I am passionate about my relentless pursuit of knowledge and desire to help others.“