College Ready

Sharing strategies for student success, college readiness and academic coaching


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Writing Haiku in the Rain

On Wednesday, it rained in Northern California. This is something that hasn’t been happening very often. (See also: drought.) It was glorious & noteworthy.

And so, my frosh college comp students wrote haikus about the rain. Yes, it had to happen.

And it was good. To stop. To not rush. To listen. Feel. Connect. Discover. To Write. Together.

Here’s some of what they had to say. (All writing by English100 students, each space is a new writer):

RAIN~~

Rain is like wet peace

Cascading down my body
Piercing my very soul

Grey slippery drops
Renewing luscious hillsides
Quenching nature’s thirst

Joy Fills the Gray Sky
Dull Struggles are Dropped

Clouds filled with wet life
Sound of peace with sleep

The earth is renewed
Every time rain falls down
Water creates life.

Photo @ collegereadycoach.com by: lisalu22

~~~

Each line is a complete image in very few words. I compiled this one longer poem from various lines out of the students’ original work. Each one was lovely as a stand alone haiku, but putting it together like this connected writers’ ideas to a collaborative mosaic.

Do you teach poetry in your classes? If so, what do the students think? A few of mine were skeptical at first. They needed time to brainstorm, to think it out, and to really understand that there was no objective, and no assessment. If the haiku turned out well, great. If students weren’t happy with it, then they need not turn it in. Low risk and high reward, especially as students read their poems aloud. I hope you will take some time to notice the rain, or the snow, or whatever else is of interest in your part of the world. Make it noteworthy. Craft some poetry together. Share some writing. Make some connections.

~~

I happen to love the rain. Do you? I love the smell, the way the air feels. I love walking across campus in it. Here in California, we aren’t going to be making our way out of this devastating drought anytime soon, but at least we had a little sliver of silver lining on Wednesday.

Happy Friday,

Lisa (aka, The Happy Teacher)

Need a refresher course on Haiku? It’s a form of Japanese poetry made up of three lines. Lines are 5/7/5 syllables each. The first line consists of 5 syllables, the second line consists of 7 syllables, and the third line consists of 5 syllables. Haiku often focuses on nature. For more on how to write a haiku, click here.

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Light Some Fires: The Top 4 Strategies for Student Success!

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 Learning~~Lisa (aka, The Happy Teacher!)


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Questions are King of the Classroom

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.


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Goodbye Summer. Hello Students.

I love you both. And I love teaching!

It’s a brand new school year. Get ready for:

A Fresh Start.
A new semester.

New Beginnings.
New Challenges.

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.

Have a great start to a great year.

xo, Lisa (aka, The Happy Teacher)


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Super Soul Sunday: Advice on living a happy life.

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?

goethe read a little

Make sure to take that little bit of time out to do some part of Goethe’s recipe for living a happy life.

Have a wonderful Sunday.

xo, Lisa (aka–The Happy Teacher)

 


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The Secret to a Successful Sunday!

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!

xo,

Lisa (aka, The Happy Teacher)

 


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Wise Words: Speak the Truth. Even if Your Voice Shakes.

As educators, we are called on to do this often. We speak up–especially when it is for our students. Shaky voices and all!

speak truth even voice shakes