I’m reblogging this post in honor of Banned Books Week 2014, where that lovable baby in a diaper is once again the most dangerous book in America. Ahh Dav Pilkey. I’m so proud to be one of your biggest fans!
The best way to fight censorship? Read. Read one of the books on this list, or read anything. Just read.
Celebrate Banned Books-read one of these 40 books that have been banned or otherwise challenged.
Biggest surprise? Charlotte’s Web. But maybe an even bigger surprise…the #1 Most Banned Book of 2012. Think you know what it is? Post your guess in the comments and I will let you know on Thursday.
For now, I’ll give you a hint–it *is a children’s book. Ok, I’ll give you two hints–it is not pictured here. Good luck!
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As a college instructor for over fifteen years, I’ve learned the importance of starting off the semester with a framework for student success. Although you may find it hard to schedule it in, taking time for this type of discussion in the early weeks is so valuable and will lead to better student outcomes, more engagement, and higher student retention.
These are the “Top 4” strategies for student success we’ve been discussing in the classroom:
1. Growth Mindset: Intelligence is not “fixed.” You are not programmed at a certain level of “smart” and that’s that. Your brain is like a muscle, and with more use, and practice, you can grow your dendrites. (See also neuroplasticity.) You can improve in a subject area. For example, it isn’t that you “just aren’t good at writing, never have been,” but that you have not yet learned the right combination of skills and techniques for that assignment. Once you have these skills, (in writing or another subject) you will see steady improvement.
2. Personal Survey: Find out how you feel about learning. (See #1 above regarding how self-limited beliefs can shape outcome.) What were your previous experiences like with this subject matter in school, higher education, or in the K-12 school system? Think about your prior knowledge and experience (schema) on the subject. Find a connection, with your courses, & the college. If you’re not already excited for the semester, find some way (student clubs, sports, etc.) to get excited. The brain on positive is 31% more productive than on negative, stressed, or even neutral!
3. Goal Setting: establish “SMART” goals. Goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based. For best results, write or type out your goals and address each of the SMART areas. When you think about and set goals early in the semester, it leads to you taking the small steps to achieve those goals. For example, it’s fantastic to say, “Well my goal is an A in this class.” You have a positive attitude and are setting high expectations for yourself. But, what specific action steps will you take that will lead you to obtaining that grade? How many hours a week will you study? On what days? Where?
4. “The Basics.” Read the syllabus. Go to (every) class. Visit your instructor early and often when you have questions. We welcome, expect, and want you to come to office hours! We don’t bite! I promise! And we’re even kinda funny, in an endearingly nerdy sorta way! Again, I promise! 🙂
If you are a student, let us know in the comments which of these strategies you find most helpful, or most difficult, to put into action. If you’re an instructor, let us know if you spend time during the early weeks of the semester working on these metacognitive strategies, and/or which others you might add to the list.
For more on all of these topics, (including the research that backs it up), check out our blog archives, or leave a comment with any questions. We like–no–LOVE questions here at College Ready Coach! Now go out there and light some fires!
Happy Labor Day. Whether it’s a barbecue with family, a picnic at the park with friends, or a trip to the beach with Fido, I hope you are relaxing on the day set aside to honor American workers and their contributions to making this country strong. We honor all workers, both blue and white collar and we honor teachers, who are most certainly a vital part of our healthy workforce.
Labor Day is also the unofficial end of summer for many around the nation, so for those of you that are on the verge of heading back to school, (both students and teachers) we wish you the best!
Questions are the sign of a healthy classroom. Encourage students to ask all sorts of questions, especially open-ended questions that require process, experimentation, and research. Let them see that the instructor doesn’t “own” all the knowledge or have all the answers. You will be creating a classroom culture of inquiry & critical thinking.
The starting point for a successful semester is to take a look at your mindset and your beliefs about your abilities. Make sure that you are surrounding yourself with positive messages that you can and will get to the finish line (aka the end of the semester).
The first week of college is challenging, but with the right state of mind you can tackle any challenge. Visualize success. That’s what top athletes do, from Michael Jordan to Michael Phelps, and it works!
Remember to reach out to me if you have any questions on how to make this a successful semester. Consider me your virtual college coach. I love teaching and I love helping students reach their goals!
And all the optimism, opportunity and rewards that come along with it.
It’s my first day! Wish me luck! When do you go back to school? Are you excited? Ready? What do you like best about the first day? For me…it’s that sense of starting a brand new adventure. New students. New faces, New dreams. Being in a room filled with dreamers is a wonderful feeling.
Good advice for a successful day & a happy life. Especially for us English professor/writer-types and creative people of all kinds. We need poetry, and song, and art, and connection, in all its forms. It’s good for the soul. It’s even better for fostering creativity.
I try to incorporate a little of each every day. How about you?
Make sure to take that little bit of time out to do some part of Goethe’s recipe for living a happy life.
Sunday is my favorite day of the week. It’s carefree, it’s lazy. It’s coffee at the kitchen table as the sun streams in and it’s walks in the morning with the breeze at my back.
There’s a simple secret to doing Sunday right…
The secret to a successful Sunday is found in the “not-doing.” If done right, the not-doing will set you up for a relaxed week ahead, no matter how busy you are, or how much is on the “to do” list.
And I should know. I start back at teaching in just 2 weeks, and I’m currently juggling & updating like a beast…two class webpages, course syllabi, and a whole bunch of other “first day” type stuff…but for today…
I’ll notice beauty. I’ll notice awesome. I’ll be amazed.
We all need to recharge our batteries occasionally. Take some time today to just breathe…see all the beauty around us…and be amazed. It’s my favorite part of Sunday!
We are all free to fly. Education gives us wings. We each have the power, the ability, and the freedom to fly. What we need is the belief.
This is why I write so much about the power of our beliefs. As educators, we need to closely examine our own beliefs. We need to know that we are showing up each day to do our best for all of our students.
For our students, sometimes, we need to get them to understand that we (teachers) will believe in them, until they believe in themselves. Until they believe that they are free to fly.
A child is not the place he or she was born, the amount of money they have, or the books they have read. The opportunity gap leads to a self-esteem and a belief gap. Often, the biggest obstacle first-generation students face when it comes to college success is not passing a class, or acing a test, but actually believing that they belong. Right here and now. In college.
Mentor a student. Help them believe. Change a life.