What to Ask Your Student at the End of the School Year

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Can you see the light at the end of the tunnel? Another school year is almost gone. Time flies when you’re having fun and working hard.  Now is a great time to reflect on the 2017-2018 school year and look forward to the 2018-2019 school year. Use the questions below to have a powerful conversation with your teen at the end of the school year.

“What feels like the end is often the beginning.”- Unknown

  1. What subject have you enjoyed the most? Why?
  1. When were you at your best during this school year? Think about improvements you made, achievements, memorable projects, assignments, or goals you reached. (These don’t necessarily have to be big things. Consider the little things too.)
  1. Is everything you have done this year in alignment with your big dream or goal(s)?
  1. Examining your growth this past school year, do you feel as though your grades are an accurate indicator of your academic growth? Why or why not.
  1. Do you feel as though you are where you should be in regards to your personal growth? Explain.
  1. What was most challenging for you this school year? How did you overcome the challenge(s)?
  1. Who has helped you, been influential or impacted your life this year?
  1. What have you learned about yourself this year?
  1. What is your vision for next school year? What do you want to improve or keep doing? How can you prepare?
  1. What advice would you have for a student entering this grade level?

“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

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.“

 

Reducing Test Anxiety

 

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/stevendepolo/

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/stevendepolo/

It’s that time of year. Students are taking state and district tests as well as taking the ACT and/ or SAT. It’s completely overwhelming. It is understandable that teens get stressed. Test anxiety is a common issue for students. There is no class on how to handle everything. Here are some tips to help students survive and information about Student Futures’s ultimate test prep guide to help you reach your academic goals.

  • Breathe! Relax. How many tests have you taken? You have survived them all. This is just another test. “If you’re feeling nervous when you sit down to take the test, take three slow, steady breaths. Remind yourself that you’ve been getting ready for these tests all year long.” – Ted Dorsey
  • Know when to stop studying. Too much studying will not create retention. If you are feeling overwhelmed or exhausted STOP. Take a break. Walk away from your study area.
  • Go night night. Lack of sleep can cause anxiety. Get enough sleep on a daily basis and especially before the test. Do not cram the night before.
  • Eat up. Energize yourself the following morning with a healthy breakfast. Don’t study! Listen to music. Create a power playlist.
  • Get moving. It has been proven that just 20 minutes of exercise each day can improve memory. On your long breaks go for a walk or use the SWORKIT app to do a quick 15 minute workout. It’s FREE!
  • What time is it? Manage you time during the test. Use ALL the given time during the test. Don’t get nervous when students start handing in their exam. It’s not a competition. There are no extra points if you finish first.
  • Need a boost? While studying and during the test eat a peppermint candy for a little pick me up.
  • What?! If you don’t know the answer to a question skip it and come back to it later. If you are completing an essay test and go blank pick a topic from the question or pick a question if given the choice and start writing. The answer may just come to you.
  • Oh the pressure! During the test if you feel tense and overwhelmed put your pen or pencil down. Stretch your legs and arms out. You do not have to stand to do this. It will help you regain focus.
  • Read. As always read the directions carefully. Read them twice if needed.
  • Get a quiet focus toy. Not a fidget spinner! Choose an anchor, something you can fidget with like a bracelet or eraser. Choose something that is not going to distract others but will help you focus.

Create the ultimate study plan with Student Futures easy to use test prep guide. Get the grade you want by following simple steps. Contact us for more information on how to get this guide and reach your academic goals. 

 

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.“

It’s Spring Break!

photo credit: http://www.patrick.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/732972/top-3-mac-honor-junior-enlisted-during-picnic/

photo credit: http://www.patrick.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/732972/top-3-mac-honor-junior-enlisted-during-picnic/

There’s no school for a week! The days every student cherishes. You get to sleep in, catch up on your favorite shows, and hang out with your friends. What else can you do with this time? Let’s face it. You can watch so many shows and sleep only so much before boredom sets in and you feel blah. It’s understandable that opportunities to relax and unwind are rare for students, but this time off provides more opportunities than just time to chill. Students can take advantage of free time to work towards their goals. Learn something new like baking something yummy, or practicing a new sport. Do college and career planning. Volunteer with a local organization related to your future career. Participate in a job shadow of someone who works in the career field you aspire to work in. Create a bucket list for summer break. Get your friends involved! Accomplishing these types of things on off days and long breaks requires planning in advance.

Brainstorm some ideas of what to do on your off days and long breaks. Make your own No School Bucket List! Be specific. Do not write college planning or volunteering. Write: research (school name), or volunteer with Humane Society.

What actions do you need to take in advance to be able to accomplish these things? For example, research a recipe to try or type my resume.

Enjoy your spring break. Use your time wisely. 

 

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.“

Making the Right Decisions for Your Education

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pictoquotes/

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pictoquotes/

This is the time of year when everyone is trying to make so many decisions about their education. It’s incredibly overwhelming for students and parents.

Where should I go for high school?

What program is right for me?

Should I apply for AP classes, the AICE program, or the Early College Program?

The deadline is coming and I don’t know what to choose!

What is the best choice for my future?

What do colleges and universities want to see?

What do you do to ensure that the best decision is made and you don’t lose your mind?

Personally, I am a huge fan of using Excel for these types of things. You can also get a blank piece of paper and pencil and start writing. Either way the point is to get your thoughts and options out of your head and onto a visual platform where you can see everything as a whole. This makes it easier to analyze everything. Click HERE for a free helpful spreadsheet to make your decisions. If you are trying to make decisions for college click HERE for a helpful worksheet.

List the schools and programs that interest you. If possible schedule tours of schools so you can see for yourself  where you want to go. When I was younger my dad would tell me to list the pros and cons related to a decision. I am not going to lie. When I was a teenager this sounded tedious, but it is great advice! I highly recommend doing it. What are the pros and cons of taking AP classes versus the Early College program? When you are listing pros and cons take into consideration your mental well being. There is a stress epidemic amongst teenagers. There is so much pressure to succeed. Don’t take on more than you can handle. Consider everything you want to do while going to school. What extracurricular activities do you want to do? Do you want to work or have an internship? Be realistic when analyzing your options and making decisions. Finally, write down any questions you have and take them to your guidance counselor for review. 

Slow Down!

While I know these decisions are overwhelming they are not something to take lightly. I understand your best friend may be going to one school, but that may not be the best suited place for you. It sounds annoying to have to make a list, visit schools, etc., but it’s WORTH IT! These decisions affect a huge part of your life so it’s important to analyze all your options carefully. Be mindful of deadlines and if you have major questions make an appointment with your guidance counselor. Please take the time to do what’s right for you.

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.“

2018 Inspiring Words of Wisdom

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For most adults January 1st, 2018 is the start of a new year. However, for most students it’s the half way point in the school year. During this time some students experience a mid term slump. No matter what it is a great time to reflect on progress thus far.As we approach the end of winter break it is a great time for students to decide how they want the rest of the year to go. What successes did you have in 2017? What do you want to accomplish in 2018?

Carl Bard’s quote is great food for thought with the start of the new year. Whether you are in the the mindset that it is a new year or mid year it is always a good time for a fresh start.  If at any time you feel like things are not going the direction you want reflect on how to create a new beginning and make things better.

Wishing you happiness and success in 2018.

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 will you focus on in the next two weeks?

play in snow

Winter break is here! Yay! High school and college students have been working hard since going back to school in August and there is no doubt that this is a well deserved break. This is an opportunity for students. A time when they can focus on school work if needed, prepare for upcoming exams, completing personal projects, make new goals, volunteer, etc. What will you focus on in the next two weeks? Click HERE for lots of fun ideas. Click HERE for study strategies to help students over the holidays. Make your plan now. You don’t have to follow it exactly but it’s still good to have some sort of plan.

Wishing you and your family a happy holiday surrounded by love and laughter.

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.“

 

The Ultimate Test Prep Guide – Ace Any Exam

This workbook is the best guide to meeting your academic goals for tests, midterm exams, and final exams. Many students have found success with using these strategies! This book contains information that will help you before and during your exams. You will learn how to prepare for any test in a way that suits you as well as combat test anxiety. You will succeed! You can do it!

test prep guide title page

Today’s educational system is becoming increasingly competitive for students, as educational institutions are being required to increase their standards. This is causing a stress epidemic amongst students. They must learn as much as they can, and learn it effectively. As someone who works closely with teens I see this the intense pressure students are under. Unfortunately, in school there is no stress management class and students are forced to “deal” with these overwhelming feelings of anxiety.

I created this book so students can achieve the grades they want on major tests with less stress and more success; thus helping them reach their academic goals. With this book I hope you are able to learn how to manage the stress that comes with exams and effectively study in a way that suits your learning style.

test prep guide table contents

Want this workbook so you can get the grade you want? Contact me at (904) 487-8269 or email me at hello@studentfutures.org for more information. Workbooks are just $15. Need some help preparing for exams? I can walk you through every step of the way. We can set up a session and make a plan for you to achieve your goals.

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 is your ideal future?

teen thinking

Imagine yourself ten years from now. You have accomplished everything you set out to and your dreams have come true. You are happy and successful. Think about how you did it all and how proud you are of your achievements. When you imagine your future self think about:

  • Your fashion
  • Your location what kind of place you are living in
  • What you are doing for a living
  • What a typical day looks like
  • Your favorite things to do
  • Who your friends are
  • Where is your family
  • What you value

What nickname would you give to your future self?

Answering these questions and thinking about your future self will help you realize how unique your personal aspirations are. You may also realize that your ideal future self is within your reach. Is there any action steps you are taking want to start taking to ensure your future is how you pictured? What is one goal you can set to make sure you are working towards the future you imagined?

What message does your future self have for you? 

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.“

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.“