Alright rare birds, hold on to your feathers because this is a lightning round of inspiration and links I think you’ll find useful and uplifting.
First, is this quick story from one of my clients that is just begging to be told to remind us to keep the faith.
I’ll call him “Owen” and he has had many struggles in school, especially with motivation and significant procrastination. Owen has been starting to experience a shift in his perspective, (which, ahem, coincidentally has been happening at around the same time he started working with me). When reflecting on the impact this new shift was having in his life, he started talking about that weird phenomenon that happens when you start taking care of things earlier and you actually start experiencing the free time you were going for by procrastinating. But that’s not even the exciting part of the story. When we were brainstorming ideas for a routine that would help him more easily get into his homework after taking a break, he mentioned how he has started listening to a study playlist to transition from break mode to homework vibes. And here’s the kicker: he said, “oh, I learned about that once from my health teacher in 5th grade.” Did I tell you he’s in 10th grade? He is now using a strategy he heard about in health class 5 YEARS AGO! So, shout out to that 5th-grade health teacher, but also shout out to all the caring adults lovingly pushing and pointing the way and never knowing how or when it will land. This is sort of a “when the student is ready” story, except with a twist. When the student is ready, the teachers’ lessons were there with them all along. This is not his playlist, but in case you’re looking for ideas, try one of these.
Next: I have been having a lot of fun helping kids “encode in a new way” by making the information they need to learn “chartable.” I’ve been training with master Academic Coach Gretchen Wegner and although I’ve been helping kids reorganize information for years with this technique, I admit that I have always sort of done it for them, maybe even to them at times. Gretchen has shown me how to actually teach it like a study skill. One of my students this week reported that because we had done this with information from her notes, she learned what she needed to for a test that she didn’t realize was happening until she walked into class (oops!) and could even still remember it after the test. She got an 89 which is the highest grade she has received on these tests she has tried “studying” for all year. We’ll continue to work on those planning skills, but you don’t have to spend so much time to get ready if you stay ready, amiright???? For more on this strategy, you can get a sense of it from Wegner’s video here.
Finally, I have searched for years for a tool to help kids with lots of difficulty with handwriting due to dysgraphia or poor fine motor coordination execute complex math problems without overtaxing the mental energy and frustration levels of trying to line up problems neatly and the ability to check back over without confusion. When helping a client follow up on some recommendations in a recent evaluation from a psychologist, we tried out ModMath and I found it to be so much easier to apply than other math-type applications out there. Then, I read here that it was developed by parents of a student with ADHD, dysgraphia, and dyslexia and now I understand why this tool is so student-friendly.
If you liked what you saw above, I have two small asks of you:
1) I am starting to brainstorm summer programs and coaching packages to help students prepare for their upcoming school year. Reply and let me know: What would you like to see in a program to help students build academic skills and habits over the summer?
2) My business thrives on word of mouth and referrals, and I’d love for you to think of someone you can pass my info along to. I opened my inbox in January and found this note recently that affirmed my whole purpose for doing what I do and taking the leap I did to concentrate only on academic coaching.
“There is no doubt that your work with Z is having a big impact. She is thriving and, it seems to me, enjoying life more than ever. That’s in no small part thanks to you. She’s on top of her work like never before and, not unrelated to that, more confident than she’s ever been. It’s exciting to see her work to her fullest potential.”
If you can think of someone who could use my help to go from feeling discouraged to strategic in accessing the education they need to improve their quality of life and well-being, please let them know that I am here to help. I have one more open slot for this semester that I’d love to fill with someone who heard about me personally from one of you!