Category Archives: Articulation

How to know if your student is really learning: “If you can’t teach it you don’t know it”

We hear it all the time. Students say, “I get it when my teacher shows it to me, but I can’t do it on the test.” Then parents tell us that their child “doesn’t test well.”

When children say, “I get it when my teacher shows me,” what they’re really saying is that they didn’t learn it for themselves.

Turning New Knowledge into Prior Knowledge

The process of turning “New Knowledge” (NK) into “Prior Knowledge” (PK) is what I call “internalization.” When our brain receives new information, it looks to store it somewhere meaningful. If there is no related PK to connect it to, then the NK remains just that, unrelated, unconnected information that has no lasting memory.

However, when the NK finds a comfortable home, it is connected to meaningful PK and can now begin the process of internalization, that is going from NK to PK.

Kids get this. Continue reading

Are you obstacle-minded or a problem solver? Goal setting & fixing mistakes

When we say, “Oh, well,” to a failure, we are more likely to repeat the mistake. Instead, correct forward rather than excusing backwards. Quite literally, this is “problem solving.”

There will always be obstacles and difficulties. Success doesn’t happen by itself. It’s all about learning from problems instead of resigning to them — or worse, using them as an excuse to give up on our goals. Continue reading

Chicken bones & concientiousness: worrying about what you need to do for better grades

Got conscientiousness?

Artemis, Stella, and Puck on the lookout for your garbage

Artemis, Stella, and Puck on the lookout for garbage

Had a nasty walk with the dogs the other night. Let’s say that I’d like to live my life without my dogs finding half-eaten food tossed on the ground. If it weren’t for the dogs, I’d never notice. But they’re dogs, and dogs, you know, see EVERTYTHING. Especially chicken bones.

It’s not a regular problem in my life, but when I have to pull someone else’s greasy dinner out of my dogs’ throats, that’s a problem. And it makes me want to curse the fools who think it okay that someone else has to clean up after them. Continue reading

Teaching it twice: ask your teachers to explain it again & in a different way

Can a teacher really expect you to learn it the first time?

Teachers forget that what they’re teaching they already know and that it’s usually the first time you’ve ever heard it.

This is why when a teacher is making sense to you it’s probably because  you already know it. At the A+ Club we call it, “PK” for”Prior Knowledge.” Learning is the process of turning new information into PK, and it takes explanation, practice, and application.

And you need to build that knowledge in steps, turning each new thing into the Prior Knowledge you need to understand the next.

Some teachers are good at engaging students in this process; others not so good. But don’t depend on good teachers alone: please, please don’t let your teachers get in the way of your learning. It’s your grade, not theirs, so don’t just accept “I don’t get it.”

The Most Important Thing in the World (to a teacher)

Teachers love their subjects and speak its language. To them it’s the most important thing in the entire world, and you’d better know it, too, or else your life will be ruined, or worse.

They forget that you have six other subjects and personal interests that have nothing to do with their subject. And you ought not forget that you don’t pay their salaries. You’re not going to get your teacher fired, and your not going to reduce their pay if they’re not doing a good job.

What you can do is take control of the teacher yourself.

Take control of your teachers!

As Master Teacher Liddy Allee-Coyle, reminds us, teachers need to be reminded that students don’t always follow what they’re saying.

By the time you’re hearing it, the teacher may have taught it three times that day, or if it’s the first, the teacher may not yet have figured out the best way to present it. Either way, teachers are going to do what they always do, and if that isn’t what you need, then you need to speak up.

Here are some things you can do to get in control of your teachers:

  • Insist that  your teacher explain it slowly, clearly, and in different ways. Say,
    • “Please repeat that, only use different words this time.”
    • “Can we practice that together before we move on?
  • Ask your teacher to allow the students to explain it to each other.
    • Maybe your neighbor gets it and can say it in a way you’ll understand.
    • If you can’t explain it to someone else, then you don’t get really it yourself.
  • Insist that your teacher allow you to learn it and not measure you on that learning just once on a quiz or exam.
    • If it’s so important, don’t they want you to really learn it?
    • Remind them.
  • Above all, ask them to explain it again, and differently, this time

Remember, it’s your education, your grades, and your future at stake here. Don’t give in to not knowing.

Just ask your teacher to say it one more time.

– Michael

The A+ Club from School4Schools.com LLC, based in Arlington, VA, is dedicated to helping students across the U.S.A. meet their goals and find the academic success the want and deserve. Contact us here or call now to (703) 271-5334 to see how we can help.

Self-advocacy & the missing work trap: why so many zeroes?

So your teacher posted a grade report and you have no idea what those missing assignments are?

Problem or no problem? Well, you have no idea what that work was, anyway, so there’s nothing you can do. Problem solved.

A couple things are going on here:

  1. The teacher is using code for the assignments
  2. The key to the code is in code
  3. The items your teacher posted have nothing to do with the homework assignments your teacher gave you and you can’t figure out which is what.
  4. You’d rather just not deal with it.

Continue reading

Real solutions for procrastination from Dr. Timothy A. Pychyl, part 2

ProcrastinationPuzzle_3Real solutions for procrastination from Dr. Timothy A. Pychyl, part 2

Student Success Podcast No. 14, Jan. 22, 2014, recorded Jan 15, 2014

Today’s Guest: Timothy A. Pychyl, Ph.D.

Dr. Pychyl shares his incredible knowledge, experience, research, and insight into the nature of procrastination and how to overcome it. Dedicated to bettering people’s lives, he uniquely applies academic concepts in a way we can all understand and appreciate.

This is part 2 of 2 segments we are publishing on the Student Success Podcast. Tim has also published his own version of the interview on his “iProcrastinate” podcast. Continue reading

Real solutions for procrastination from Dr. Timothy A. Pychyl, part 1

ProcrastinationPuzzle_3Real solutions for Procrastination from Dr. Timothy A. Pychyl, part 1

Student Success Podcast No. 13, Jan. 15, 2014

Today’s Guest: Timothy A. Pychyl, Ph.D.

Dr. Pychyl shares his incredible knowledge, experience, research, and insight into the nature of procrastination and how to overcome it. Dedicated to bettering people’s lives, he uniquely applies academic concepts in a way we can all understand and appreciate.

This is part 1 of 2 segments we are publishing on the Student Success Podcast. Tim has also published his own version of the interview on his “iProcrastinate” podcast. Continue reading

What do teachers really want?

apple-for-teacher_msclipartBribery?

Maybe, but flattery will work better. Seriously.

The highest and most effective form of teacher flattery is asking a teacher for help. The next highest is actually doing your work. You meet teacher expectations, you get an A. Easy enough.

Well, let’s start from there, anyway.  So what do teachers really want? And how can the student figure that out? Continue reading

Kids Learn to Advocate & Achieve With A+ Club Online Tutoring Services

Rear view of class raising handsDespite developments in cognitive psychology and education reform,

most students are still educated in a system that has remained largely unchanged over the last decade. That’s not to say the system doesn’t work; many kids find success and joy in traditional learning, but countless other intelligent students find it difficult to succeed. Most kids don’t hate learning, but many dislike school. They can’t fathom why they feel intelligent and capable yet continually fail to come up with the grades to reflect that.

Young students struggling with traditional schooling should be taught to set goals and engage with the system in a way that works for them. That’s where School4Schools.com LLC & The A+ Club comes in. The online tutoring service differs from traditional education and tutoring. This service doesn’t compartmentalize learning and focus exclusively on problem areas, but rather the experienced educators teach self-advocacy, processes, awareness, and accountability for those with whom executive function does not come naturally.

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The A+ Club is run by experienced educators, college students, and teachers. They help young learners realign their perception of teachers and the system so that they can use the inalterable process to their benefit. While not everyone in The A+ Club will achieve academic success, they are guaranteed to increase academic awareness through informational interchange, goal setting, honesty, feedback, and a comprehensive reflective process. The online Homework Tracker™ is a list and calendar based system with direct oversight from The A+ Club, designed for students who lack natural executive function skills. Kids and teachers can upload assignments, track progress, set goals, and stay in touch with in-school teachers.

The perspective of The A+ Club’s tutors is different than that of a parent or in-school teacher; kids will have honest conversations during weekly 30 minute check-ins. The A+ Club will help kids to appreciate the fact that they are required to do things they don’t want to do or that they feel don’t have any relevance. Young students need to understand that they can’t change that, but they can alter their perspective and learn to see teachers as a tool to help them get the grades needed to achieve their goals. This is the self-advocacy characteristic of School4Schools.com LLC & The A+ Club.

Let The A+ Club teach your kids to say it, track it, and get it done. Call (703) 271-5334 to set up convenient, flexible, and unique online tutoring, which will help your student find their success.MP900438620[1]