Tuesday, August 30, 2016

3 Steps to Earn an A

Several years ago I decided to leave the country on business. After making this decision, I told my students that I wanted to go out with a bang. I wanted them all to earn an A, and told them how to achieve it. That June, one class had 80% A’s, 15% B’s and 5% C’s. There were no D’s or F’s. Why did this happen in one class and not the others? These students believed me, and did as I suggested. The others didn’t.

Here is what I told them:

1.   Come to class every day well rested and fed.
-If there’s a field trip in another class, and you know you’ll be absent, ask for the work in advance. Do it before you go on the trip. If you had trouble with the work, after you get home from the field trip, call a friend from class and ask for help.
-Figure out what time you need to get up in the morning in order to arrive at school on time. Count back nine hours and go to bed at that time each night.
-Have a healthy breakfast each morning and a nutritious lunch at school, (bring your own food or buy something at school).
-If you’re sick, stay home and get well.

2.   Do every assignment.

-Write down every homework assignment. They’re usually on the board in front of the class. If your homework or class assignments are on the class website, bookmark it on your computer.
-Pay attention and complete every class and homework assignment.
-They do not have to be done perfectly, but they need to be complete.

3.   If you are confused or don’t understand, ask a question.

-Smart people get this way by asking questions when they don’t understand something. Raise your hand if there’s something you don’t get.
-Make sure you have the phone number of three students in each class.
-Make sure at least one of them is a better student than you are.
-Call one of them if you missed class or need help on an assignment. (People are usually happy to help.)

Students who believed me did these things. Those who did them well received an A. Those who didn’t do them as well received a B, and those who messed up from time to time, but otherwise stuck to the plan, received a C. Everyone knew too much to get a D or F. Try this. What have you got to lose?

For more information, you’ll want my book, Free College, CLICK HERE . It teaches families how to help their kids become more successful in school, college and life.

You are reading from the blog: http://www.roadtofreecollege.com

Photo Credit: Morguefile

Practice Creates Success

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Back to School Made Easy

Back to School Night can be a complete waste of time or an effective tool to help students succeed. You choose. The first several years of my teaching career, I did exactly what administration told us all to do at Back to School Night. I repeated everything I had included in the course outline letter I sent home with students the first week of school. It included the class procedures, expectations, rules, grading system, due dates, homework, etc. Then I realized rereading it aloud was a complete waste of time and insulting to parents. They had already read, signed and returned the letter to me.

Instead, I began to use Back to School Night to help students become more successful. I wrote the night’s agenda on the board each year. The first few items were the main topics from the letter, (so any administrator who entered the room would see that they had been covered). But the rest was what I wanted the parents to do to help their children learn.

1. Eat dinner together as a family. (I explain that all studies show students do better in school and in life if they had dinner with their family at least five nights each week while growing up.)  

2. Check homework. (I remind parents that I assign homework Monday through Thursday each week. It's posted on my website each Thursday for the upcoming week. It's never time consuming or “busy work”.)

3. Turn off electronics one hour before bedtime, and be sure students sleep the recommended number of hours for their age group, 8-10 hours for teenagers. (Studies show that electronic use before bed is detrimental to sleep quality. What is learned each day is moved from short term memory to long term memory during sleep.)

4. Make sure students have a nutritious breakfast each morning. (Students eating a full, healthy breakfast have more success in school than those who drink a fruit smoothie or eat a granola or power bar for breakfast. I also give parents ideas for how they can do this without it becoming oppressive.)

5. Give their children the book Seven Habits of Effective Teens by Sean Covey, son of Stephen Covey who wrote Seven Habits of Effective People. The book shows teenagers how they can get what they want in life, makes them happier and easier to get along with at home and at school, CLICK HERE (ad).

After I started using Back to School Night to influence the behavior of parents, to get them to do what would make their children happier, healthier, better rested and ready to learn, student success increased. It also had the side benefit of making me feel like going to Back to School Night was not a complete waste of time. 

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Photo Credit: Morguefile