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Student Planner for School

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The Student Futures planner for students is ready for purchase!

Academic Coach, Melanie Black is dedicated to helping students with time management. she has created a planner with the whole student in mind. The 6 month planner contains a wheel of life as well as a mission statement activity so students can build a foundation for success. It has a standard monthly layout, a customizable weekly layout, and weekly reflection pages that help students stay on track with their goals and keep track of their grades. Other features include list pages, inspire me pages, as well as 25 pages for notes. The 8.5 x 5.5 planner comes in a customizable 3 ring mini binder which has two pockets on the inside as well as two pockets on the outside. The Student Planner is $20

Mission StatementWheel of LifeStudent Sample Weekly LayoutStudent Reflection cropped

Parents, we didn’t forget about you!

We created a planner for you too! The parent planner is filled with great features to help you not lose your mind. This planner is similar to the student planner except the wheel of life is tailored to adults and the weekly reflection pages are designed differently, in a way that helps you evaluate your week and keep track of your goals. Plus, each week this planner contains a meal planner and shopping list. Personally, I have started off the year using this planner and can’t live without it! The Parent Planner is $22. For $20 we also have a Go Getter Planner which is the same as the Parent Planner except it does not contain a meal plan and shopping list.

Monthly Layout 2Weekly LayoutMeal PlanReflection Page Mom

Melanie Black of Student Futures is a certified academic life coach for students and teens. She has a passion to help students succeed. Academic coaching helps develop life skills for students as well as gives them academic strategies, which help to decrease anxiety and stress in students. Contact Melanie Black today for a free consultation at Melanie@studentfutures.org or (904) 487-8269.

 

 

Study Strategies to Help Students Over the Holidays

photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/spree2010/

photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/spree2010/

While the holidays are a time for fun and relaxing with family and friends it can also be stressful for students. It can be hard to manage social obligations with friends and family as well as find time to study. Even when there is a good plan in place there can be distractions or activities that will conflict with their study schedule, causing anxiety.  It is important to cherish and enjoy the special time with family and friends, but it’s important to manage to balance a schedule between fun and studying.

Tips to help students stay focused and stress-free over the break

Plan ahead. – One of the best things you can do is let family and friends know that you’re going to be busy studying and might not be available. Additionally, before you create your study plan, anticipate the distractions that may occur or the obligations you might have. Then, choose what you can realistically do and not do. If you are going out of town be sure and bring all your school stuff with you such as textbooks, laptop, etc. You never know when you will find time to do something.

It’s ok to say NO. – It’s ok to decline an invitation to a party, or outing, and focus on academics. This may mean you may miss out on some fun activities, but the ones you do take part in will be enjoyed guilt-free, knowing that your studies are on the right track.

Manage your time. – Fill out a calendar, starting with the days you know you will be spending with family and friends. Then, decide what days and times will be suitable for studying. Next, fill in what subject you will study on which day. Also, next to the subject write the amount of time you will spend studying that subject.  It might be a good idea to study early in the morning before family wakes up.  It is the quietist time of the day and you may be able to get a lot accomplished and then have the rest of your day to hang out with friends and family.

Study space – With all that is going on it might be hard to find the right study environment. Decide on a good place to study. Make it somewhere where you won’t be distracted and can get your work done.

Accountability and rewards – Share your schedule with a friend or family member or tell them what you need to accomplish by the end of the day. Get them to ask you about it so you can demonstrate that you did what you said you’d do.  Don’t forget to reward yourself! Tell your accountability person about your reward.

Don’t go at it alone! – If you are staying in town and so are some of your classmates then, invite them to study with you. Two heads are better than one! Form a study group to make things les stressful. If you are going out of town then use your family and friends as a resource. Ask them questions! They may be able to help you a lot with your studies.

Breath and remember your goals – It will be hard to focus at times and you may start to feel your blood pressure rise, but remember your why. Remember your goals. Remember your values. Remember why it is important to you to succeed. Take a few deep breaths and move forward.

What if it doesn’t work out? – It’s important to be optimistic, but don’t be surprised if you are not able to follow your schedule. Just do the best you can and enjoy spending time with family and friends. Sometimes it’s best to just join in the fun. Genuine breaks are necessary after all and if you think you need one, take it. It is better to have a refreshed mind.

Melanie Black of Student Futures is a certified academic life coach for students and teens. She has a passion to help students succeed. Academic coaching helps develop life skills for students as well as gives them academic strategies, which help to decrease anxiety and stress in students. Contact Melanie Black today for a free consultation at Melanie@studentfutures.org or (904) 487-8269.

 

Academic Coaching vs. Tutoring: Helping Students Succeed

photo credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/25/Ashs-teacher-and-students.jpg

photo credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/25/Ashs-teacher-and-students.jpg

This topic comes up a lot. Not many people are familiar with the concept of academic coaching. When I tell people what I do they say, ‘So you’re like a tutor?’

Well, not really. I am not a tutor. An academic coach is different from a tutor and helps students become independent learners who use various strategies when challenges arise.

So what’s the difference?

Generally, students and parents seek out a tutor for help with a specific subject because the student’s grades are poor in that subject. However, an academic coach helps a student with their overall approach to academics and the learning process. The student does not receive help with one subject, but guidance on how to approach school with various tools so that they can be successful and tackle challenges when they arise. A student does not have to have unsatisfactory grades to receive help from an academic coach. In fact, many A and B students have academic coaches to help them with time management and organization so as to reduce stress and anxiety, and improve their overall approach to their school work. In fact, many students choose to utilize both a tutor and academic coach depending on their needs. I know some great tutors that I love recommending to families.

These Examples Should Help Clear Up Misconceptions

Tutor: Helps student with math by teaching them more in depth about solving linear equations.

Academic Coach: Works with student to develop strategies that help the student focus and concentrate in class when the teacher is explaining how to solve linear equations.

Tutor: Helps student improve their punctuation, grammar, and writing though practice activities.

Academic Coach: Works with student to develop their thinking and writing process so they can complete research papers more efficiently.

Melanie Black of Student Futures is a certified academic life coach for students and teens. She has a passion to help students succeed. Academic coaching helps develop life skills for students as well as gives them academic strategies, which help to decrease anxiety and stress in students. Contact Melanie Black today for a free consultation at Melanie@studentfutures.org or (904) 487-8269.

Mindful Monday: Student Posture

photo credit: http://res.freestockphotos.biz/pictures/11/11706-a-beautiful-girl-lying-on-the-floor-with-a-laptop-isolated-on-a-white-b-pv.jpg

photo credit: http://www.freestockphotos.biz/photos.php?c=all&o=popular&s=0&lic=all&a=12&set=all

How does our posture affect us?  How are you sitting or standing right now? The way we hold our posture affects our mind and mood. Being mindful of their posture can greatly help students succeed. Making this small effort will cause big positive results.

Studies have shown that with the right posture one can

  • improve their performance.
  • communicate more effectively.
  • help you gain confidence and be more assertive.
  • be more persistent.

Often times students are tired and bored in class or while studying. They tend to slouch down in their seats, or put their head down, or worse while studying in bed they fall asleep. Students’ posture affects their ability to learn and retain material. It affects their test results and eventually their overall GPA. Using good posture combined with deep breathing can greatly help students succeed in school by helping them focus and better handle overwhelming situations in and out of class.

Let’s do a simple exercise to help us be mindful of our posture.

1. Feet flat
2. Hands flat
3. Back straight
4. Chin up

How do you feel? The key is to be more mindful of our posture and to adjust when we find the need.

Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist, who gave a famous TED Talk titled, Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are suggests two poses to help boost your confidence and put you in a positive mindset.

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lakbay7107/

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lakbay7107/

Victory Stance

1. Stand up straight;
2. Push your shoulders back;
3. Widen your stance;
4. Hold your head high; and
5. Raise your arms up in a “V” shape.

 

 

 

Photo Credit: https://c1.staticflickr.com/7/6037/6279920726_6eff87fa6c_b.jpg

Photo Credit: https://c1.staticflickr.com/7/6037/6279920726_6eff87fa6c_b.jpg

Power Pose

1. Stand up straight;
2. Push your shoulders back;
3. Widen your stance;
4. Hold your head high; and
5. Put your hands on your waist with elbows out

Next time you feel yourself getting bored or overwhelmed with school work be mindful of your posture. Try the poses above to help give you a boost.

 

 

 

 

Keep your head up and reach for the stars!

Melanie Black of Student Futures is a certified academic life coach for students and teens. She has a passion to help students succeed. Academic coaching helps develop life skills for students as well as gives them academic strategies, which help to decrease anxiety and stress in students. Contact Melanie Black today for a free consultation at Melanie@studentfutures.org or (904) 487-8269.

Helping Students Find Their Passion

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wicker-furniture/

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wicker-furniture/

Recently, I read The Element, by Sir Ken Robinson, whom I respect for his views about education and innovative ideas about how to help students succeed. He defines one’s element as a point “where natural aptitude meets personal passion.” Being in your element is more than just doing something you are good at. People are good at things that they don’t like. To truly be in your element it requires the perfect combo of talent as well as loving what you are doing. Dr. Robinson states, “When people are in their Element, they connect with something fundamental to their sense of identity, purpose, and well-being.”

Reading The Element has made me more self-aware of my own talents and passions and how important it is to my overall well-being to give attention to them. It made me think about my education, my career path thus far, and the advice I received from others along the way. In this talk I reflect on my education, my career path thus far, and the advice I received from others along the way.

Passion: The Compass and the Fuel in your Journey to Success from Melanie Black on Vimeo.

 

As a certified Academic Life Coach, I believe what I have learned in this book will help me better help and guide my students. One of the focuses of the Academic Life Coaching program is to help teens and students discover their passion and find ways to incorporate that passion into their lives through leadership projects. It promotes teens’ and students’ to be creative and gain self-confidence.

From the ALC Workbook

What do you love to do?

If you had two weeks completely free, what would you pursue?

Is there anything odd that you’re interested in that most of your friends aren’t?

What would you love to pursue as a career?

 

Sir Ken Robinson discusses creativity in his book and how it applies to student success. He states, “Creativity is as important as literacy.” YES! He stresses the idea that academic ability is not enough to succeed. “If all you had was academic ability, you wouldn’t have been able to get out of bed this morning. In fact, there wouldn’t have been a bad to get out of. No one could have made one. You could have written about possibility of one, but not have constructed it.” Dr. Robinson explains how when we hear the word, creative, we tend to associate it with the arts. However, he goes on to discuss the importance creativity across ALL subjects, and areas of life. Sir Ken Robinson notes, “Human communities depend upon a diversity of talent not a singular conception of ability.”

If we want to prepare youth for college and university and beyond we must teach them how to find their element and use it to be successful. The job market has become extremely competitive.  More and more people are getting a degree then ever before. It used to be if you got a degree you were almost guaranteed a job. Now, that is not the case. Sir Ken Robinson states, “But now kids with degrees are often heading home to carry on playing video games, because you need an MA where the previous job required a BA, and now you need a PhD for the other. It’s a process of academic inflation. And it indicates the whole structure of education is shifting beneath our feet. We need to radically rethink our view of intelligence. We have to rethink the fundamental principles on which we’re educating our children.” Bottom line: it is important that one finds their element and from it bases choices about their future.

Want to learn more about how to find your element? Click HERE for a FREE workbook by Sir Ken Robinson & Lou Aronica. This workbook will help you find your talents and passions! After you go through the workbook, the next step is to create action steps to pursue your element.

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

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

 Student Futures’s goal is to motivate and help students achieve their dreams through Academic Coaching. Know a teen who needs help getting on the right track to success? Click here to contact Student Futures today to set up an initial academic coaching consultation with Academic Coach, Melanie Black to learn more about how we help teens achieve their dreams and become masters of their own path to success.

 

 

Soccer Teachers Students Life Skills

 1. Teamwork

Soccer requires teamwork. Each player has a different and important role. Everyone must communicate and work together to play the game. Teammates have to trust each other to do their job. They build confidence in each other. Being on a team helps one relate to, trust and communicate with others. In life there are many instances where we are part of a team or group and must work towards a common goal.

“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” Henry Ford

2. Discipline

Soccer teaches self-discipline. Self-control and self-awareness are key to a player’s success. Not just in the physical sense, but also in the emotional sense.  Players must be able to monitor their behavior in order to be successful. In life we need self-discipline in school, work, and everyday life. People with strong self-discipline skills always do better in life.

3. Hard work

Hard work pays off! To be a good soccer player one must practice consistently. The professional players were not good at soccer when they first set foot on a field. They worked hard to get where they are and practice consistently to maintain their success. Hard work is required to achieve results. However, one of the hardest lessons is hard work does not guarantee success. That’s why it’s important to take pride in one’s effort and always learn from your experiences.

4. Setting Goals

Soccer players are constantly looking for ways to improve their game. Setting measurable goals helps them improve as it does anyone. Morgan Brian of the US Women’s National Soccer Team talks about and shows how her coach had her create SMART goals when she was in high school. She also mentions how she would wake up and write five goals on her bathroom mirror every morning. Check out her video by clicking HERE. Check out Student Futures post on goal setting HERE.

5. Perseverance

Life isn’t always fair. Let go of mistakes. Acknowledge them. Learn from them. Then, move past them. Soccer is challenging physically and mentally. The game demands perseverance. Losing a game or getting injured can affect a player’s confidence and sometimes quitting can be tempting.  It’s inspiring to watch players on the field. So many fall and get right back up. Players make mistakes and continue to play game after game. In life we must deal with situations as they arise and persevere through a variety of circumstances.

6. Risk-Taking

One moment can change everything! We have to be willing to take risks to get ahead in the game. Risk taking commands mental toughness. Soccer players learn how to be brave, tough and aggressive and prepared for games. A player may shoot for a goal from midfield and might fail. They could also make the goal. Dealing with failure is a part of taking risks. If you don’t fail, then how do you know when you’ve succeeded? In life we must take risks to get ahead. Risk taking leads to new ideas and experiences. When we fail it’s important to keep a growth mindset, learn from the experience, and decide what to do differently in the future. Keep learning!

Photo Credit: http://mojpogled.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/na-fuzbal-me-pust1.jpg

Photo Credit: http://mojpogled.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/na-fuzbal-me-pust1.jpg

 Student Futures’s goal is to motivate and help students achieve their dreams through Academic Coaching. Know a teen who needs help getting on the right track to success? Click here to contact Student Futures today to set up an initial academic coaching consultation with Academic Coach, Melanie Black to learn more about how we help teens achieve their dreams and become masters of their own path to success.

 

How to Help Teens Stay Engaged Over Summer Break

Photo Credit: http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2193/3527804859_9fe2ed07d4.jpg

Photo Credit: http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2193/3527804859_9fe2ed07d4.jpg

It is important to teens to have a voice and choice when deciding what to do over summer break. Discuss options and give them ideas, but let them decide what they prefer to do.

There are so many options!

  • Summer learning programs with emphasis on college prep. Check with your local colleges and universities.
  • Setting goals for college, career, and life. Seek out mentors and/ or business professionals in their area of interest. Never be afraid to contact someone!
  • Together, research your teen’s career interest(s)
  • Volunteer!
  • Help your teen understand what’s involved with trying to gain employment: create a resume, cover letter, etc.
  • If taking a vacation ask your teen to take an active role in the planning process such as calculating a budget.
  • Get outdoors! Play a game, go for a walk, etc.
  • Read a book together.
  • For Student Futures workshops please visit our Eventbrite profile and sign up today! There are tons of great summer workshops for families with teens. Click Here to register.
Photo Credit: http://pixabay.com/static/uploads/photo/2012/02/23/08/36/beautiful-15704_640.jpg

Photo Credit: http://pixabay.com/static/uploads/photo/2012/02/23/08/36/beautiful-15704_640.jpg

Powerful Summer Activity for Teens

Creating a blog can be an extremely exciting, fulfilling, and educational activity. A blog is simply a regular, written record of your thoughts and opinions on anything – it’s just written online. It’s pretty simple to set up. Follow the following link to get great advice from a local successful teen blogger about how to get started. http://teensgotcents.com/5-tips-for-the-teen-blogger/

Developing a personal brand is essential to every teen’s future. Branding is an important concept for teens to think about because more and more employers are using the internet to hire people. Additionally, more and more students are applying to colleges and universities and developing a personal brand that includes a blog can make you stand out to admissions. A blog is a creative display of one’s writing and critical thinking skills. It can have a positive effect on the future. Try it!

Student Futures’s goal is to motivate and help students achieve their dreams through Academic Coaching. Know a teen who needs help getting on the right track to success? Know a teen who is having trouble maintaining balance in their life? Click here to contact Student Futures today to set up an initial academic coaching consultation with Melanie Black to learn more about how we help teens achieve their dreams and become masters of their own path to success.

Why You Should Thank a Teacher

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

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

Google defines a teacher as a person who teaches, especially in school and the term to teach as show or explain to someone how to do something. Therefore, a teacher is a person who teaches someone how to do something. Oh, but they are so much more than this!

“What the teacher is, is more important than what he teaches.” -Karl Menninger

Who was your favorite teacher? Was it a teacher in elementary, middle, or high school who cared when you were having a bad day.? Perhaps there was a professor in college or university that inspired and encouraged you?  What is it that they said or did that made them memorable? Was it their teaching style, the way they cared, or maybe the way they challenged you?

Through academic coaching students set goals and create action steps to achieve those goals. With every goal students must identify at least one mentor. This is someone who they will ask for help in reaching their goal and completing the action steps they made to be successful. In this process a teacher’s name always comes up. Usually, the student names more than one teacher with which they have a good relationship and want to ask for help.  I love hearing about these teachers! One of the key ingredients in the Recipe for Academic Success is communicating with teachers. They make amazing mentors!

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week and today is Teacher Appreciation Day. Why should we thank a teacher? They are the individuals who are helping and inspiring students to succeed and follow their dreams.  Their positive impact on young minds is tremendous. If you are a student, think about who your favorite teacher/ professor is and tell them.  Your words will have such a positive impact on them. I know this because when I worked as a teacher, students expressed their gratitude and appreciation to me, and it meant the world to me and still does. Parents, share your past experiences with teachers or professors with your teen. If you are close to someone who is a student ask them who their favorite teacher/ professor is and why. Start a conversation and brainstorm a few ways you can show appreciation.

A big thanks to my teachers and professors from back in the day!

Lester B. Pearson High School – My accounting and photography teacher both took the time to talk to me and ask me if I was ok. It was obvious that they cared and I will ever forget that.

Florida State College at Jacksonville – Thomas Costa, you challenged me to think critically about so many things. I chose to take three classes from you because your teaching style was phenomenal. Noelle Wynne, you helped me to develop a bigger passion for learning about my family’s culture and who and where I come from.

University of North Florida – Richard Chant, your passion for education is contagious! Your support and encouragement is greatly appreciated. Norman Rothchild, your teaching style instilled a love for learning and a respect for Japanese culture and history.

Jefferson Davis Middle School – ALL teachers, thank you for all your support! You taught me so much about how to be a great educator and good person. You are an inspiration to me!

Melanie Black of Student Futures is an academic coach for teens and has a passion to help students succeed. Academic coaching helps students develop life skills and gives them strategies to increase self-efficacy, self-motivation, and self discipline. Contact us today for a free consultation. Click here to learn more about academic coaching and how we are helping students in Jacksonville, FL and surrounding areas.

Keep smiling and reach for the stars!

 

 

Final Exams: Strategies for Less Stress/ More Success

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Photo Credit: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/e6/75/69/e675697a7d99100ee7f1e7c6e2b6551b.jpg

Final exams are approaching fast. Don’t stress. This is an exciting time! The school year/ semester is winding down. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel. You are so much closer to achieving your goal(s). Finals are a time when you get to show off. Whether it’s an exam or presentation this is your chance to display how far you’ve come in a particular subject, how much you’ve learned.  Show your teachers and professors how awesome you are. What do you want to do with what you’ve learned this year or semester? What will your reward be after final exams are completed? How will you celebrate? The reward is super important to have in mind while studying and completing final exams.

Students:

Create a study schedule at least 2 weeks or more in advance for finals. How much time do you want to put aside each night for studying? For example, if it is 2 hours then, you need to decide what you wan to study in those two hours each night. It could be 1 hour of math and then 1 hour of English.  Depending on how many subjects you have to study for the next night you may spend your two hours studying science and history. The first week you will probably study each subject more than once for about an hour at a time. At the beginning of the second week those hour-long segments should be shortened to 30-45 minutes. Towards the end of the second week the 30-45 min. should be shortened again. When you are a couple of days away from finals there should be NO CRAMMING because you have utilized what’s called the “Curve of Forgetting,” where you study a little bit at a time on a consistent basis. This is the BEST STUDY METHOD!  Write out your plan and post it where you can see it everyday. You might even want to utilize your smart phone to set reminders. Also, see my post about Test Taking: Tips, Strategies, & How to Reduce Anxiety. Lots of helpful stuff!

Parents:

Here’s how you can help your student with the stresses and anxiety brought about by final exams. Be positive and a good listener. Sometimes students don’t need you to tell them what to do. They just need someone to listen and empathize. Put together a “Finals Care Package.” They will be so grateful to you for caring.

Finals Care Package

  1. Chap stick
  2. Chocolate – I like the Dove chocolates because there is a special message under the wrapper.
  3. Mints
  4. Tissues
  5. Granola bar to keep their energy up
  6. Stress ball
  7. Pens
  8. Pencils
  9. Highlighter: Make sure it is their favorite color.
  10. Hoodie
  11. Anything else you know of that would help your student be successful and stay positive

 

Feeling overwhelmed? No worries. Student Futures’s academic coach, Melanie Black has a passion for helping students in addressing all of the above. Click here for more helpful resources. Contact Student Futures today and schedule a free academic coaching consultation and learn more about how we help teens succeed. Student Futures serves middle school, high school, and college freshman students in Jacksonville, FL and surrounding areas.We want to help you succeed!

Keep smiling and reach for the stars!

 

 

Victory is Yours and Here’s How to Get It

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

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

The word, goals is used a lot. Some people cringe at the thought of setting goals because they have been forced to do it a specific way over and over again and then they have an even harder time following through and achieving those goals.  Let’s see if we can change this negative perspective and find intrinsic motivation to help us achieve what we want most.

Merriam Webster defines victory as “achievement of mastery or success in a struggle or endeavor against odds or difficulties.”

Instead of setting goals let’s attempt to strategize our victories. Yes, it will be difficult and there will be struggles along the way that you will have to deal with.  Deal with them as they come. Be fearless and keep your victories in sight.

Take these 5 simple steps to Victory:

Victory: What do you want to achieve?

Why: Why do you want this victory?

Technique: How will you achieve your victory? What steps can you take?

Mentor: Who will help you? Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Nickname: Give your victory a nickname like Super Star so you can refer to it often. It’s easier to be mindful of your victory by utilizing a nickname.

 

Victory is yours!

Feeling overwhelmed? No worries. Student Futures’s academic coach, Melanie Black has a passion for helping students succeed. Click here for more helpful resources. Contact Student Futures today and schedule a free academic coaching consultation and learn more about how we help teens use strategies to be victories and achieve their dreams. Student Futures serves middle school, high school, and college freshman students in Jacksonville, FL and surrounding areas.We want to help you succeed!

 Keep smiling and reach for the stars!

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

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