Category Archives: Homework

Distractions & procrastination: can you pass the marshmallow test?

Would you take the one marshmallow now or wait for two later?


Don’t let the marshmallow be a distraction!

Procrastination is all about putting off for later something you don’t want to do in exchange for feeling better now.

In the classic Stanford Marshmallow Experiment, Professor Walter Mischel offered young children a sort of opposite problem: feeling stress now by putting off something you want in order to get more of it later.

He gave children a marshmallow and then told them that if they didn’t eat it now, in fifteen minutes they’d get another one. But if they ate the first one, they wouldn’t get another one at all. (Here for How to give the marshmallow test.)

Seems kinda cruel to me, and if I were a kid in the experiment, I’d have eaten the 1st marshmallow then held the researcher for ransom for five more — and now.

Impulse control v instant gratification

The point is, however, that the ability to withhold the impulse for instant gratification is a powerful life skill. Children in the experiment who were able to hold off for two marshmallows were found, ten and twelve years later, to be “significantly more competent” than other adolescents and scored higher on SAT tests.

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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.

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How do I get better grades? Five easy steps to improve your grades

Lots of advice out there, most of it good but not very practical.

Try these steps for simplifying and acting on your goals one bite at a time:

1.  Lower your expectations

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2. Focus on little steps, not big gains

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3. Be aware of why you procrastinate

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4. You don’t have to do it all at once: just get started!

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5.  Ask your teacher a question

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Notice how each of these five steps are about the same thing: focusing on the little parts of your bigger picture and just getting started on it.

It will all fall into place once you get going.

Good luck, and please let us know if we can help out.

– Michael

Procrastinating on time: is your work as good as it could be? How to will yourself to finishing completely

Phew! So you got it in. Was it as good as it could have been?

Procrastination isn’t just about getting to things late. It’s also about getting them done fully and properly.

Any harm caused by delay or deferment is procrastination. Just because you turned it in on time doesn’t mean that you couldn’t have done better had you given yourself more time, or had you not given up in the middle and just mailed in the rest.

Complete completion, or just kinda done?

As a teacher I all-too frequently received unfinished or sloppily completed last minute work. But, heh, it was in on time! Sorry, return to sender. Continue reading

3rd Quarter blues: beware procrastination payback time

Third quarter is break-down time

It just is. Lost in the middle of a long year, things get tough.  You just got through midterms and the end of the 2nd quarter, you had a nice winter break, then, bam! School is back, and hard.

In Q3 teachers are off their game, too. They’re either panicked for having gotten off track from their pacing and lesson plans, overwhelmed from grading and making new plans, or distressed that students aren’t where they should be. Worse, administrators are having their own panic and are throwing meetings and putting  more demands on teachers, worsening the load for everyone. Continue reading

Why homework matters: top five (5) reasons you probably should do your homework

Sorry, but homework really does matter.

Annoying, yes. Boring, usually. Important for your academic success? Very much so.

See below for some important reasons why you probably should be doing your homework. Continue reading

Feeling like it: how to get your homework done even when you don’t feel like it

late-and-overwhelmed__msclipartSo if you don’t feel like it now, when will you?

Here’s the problem: your mood won’t match your work, and the less work you do, the less your mood will guide you towards doing your work. The only way you’ll get to it now is through Procrastinator’s Panic, which isn’t the best thing.

Research proves that last minute work is less effective, less thorough, and more stressful than work completed on time and with consistent effort. It comes down to control: if you rely on the “cram” or the last-minute surge, you’re letting the work control you, not the other way around. Continue reading

How to stop procrastination: Ten (10) tips for getting your work done

How to avoid procrastination: building self-awareness & specific steps to avoid procrastination.

You really can do something about procrastination.

If you think you “work best under pressure,” or if you think that “getting it done in the last minute” are good strategies, we beg you to think again.  By definition, procrastination is any delay that causes harm. Last-minute work almost always could have been better with planning and earlier start.

These strategies will help: Continue reading

Procrastinator Panic: is your brain rewarding putting it off?

time_watch_msclipartProcrastinators are motivated by deadlines.

Clarity and purpose, hard to find and easy to dismiss, now assemble at the last minute. Focus arrives, hard work ensues, and the job gets done.

That urgency at the last minute invigorates and inspires procrastinators. It’s almost exhilarating — and it is, because you’re getting the same brain-chemical reactions from “procrastinator’s panic” as you do from getting startled. Scientists call it ” CRF,” and it is a brain drug that is released at the panic of a deadline.

So what’s the problem? Well… every procrastinator knows it: you should have gotten that feeling of urgency a little sooner.  Sometimes “last minute” means by the deadline. All too often, it’s after the deadline passed and turned into a “drop dead deadline.”  But you got it done, so what’s the problem? Continue reading

How to Turn a Bad Report Card Into a Learning Experience

arguing-over-homework_titlepageReport cards are a contentious subject in any household,

but a bad report card is something that parents (and kids) need to handle with tact and grace, as hard as that may sometimes be.

Avoid the common missteps like immediately yelling at or punishing your child for a bad report card. Instead, come up with a productive reaction which will have the best long term outcome. The A+ Club from School4Schools.com LLC is a comprehensive online tutoring service that takes a holistic approach to test preparation, remedial tutoring, and process oriented educational engagement. Continue reading