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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in life skills

Posted by on in Teaching Strategies


Listening, not just hearing but really listening is a skill many students need help with. Some are naturals at it. Others might be bad at it. Truth is many were never taught how to listen effectively.

The listening skill affects success in school, work, and relationships.

But the question is: How many of us teachers explicitly teach listening?

In his recent Kwik Brain Podcast on listening a renowned learning expert Jim Kwik summarized the key to good listening as the ability to listen with more than your ears.

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Posted by on in Leadership


And we do.

Have you ever heard someone say that he or she is not out to change the world? That he or she just wants to contribute in small part; make a difference? I have. I know what people mean when they say that. Such statements come out of modesty and the people making them are commendable. But they are unrealistic. While the person making such claims is humble and honest, he or she does not realize one of the truest laws of the Universe:

Every action we take changes the world.

In more ways than one.

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Posted by on in Education Leadership


The last parent-teacher conference of the year happened last night and while the event I am about to describe did not happen yesterday, seeing the parents reminded me of a father of a student who struggled through my chemistry class 3 years ago, asking me for a method allowing his daughter to quickly "get" chemistry. Unfortunately, I had to tell him that a hack that allows one to instantly become a chemistry genius just does not exist. And though I happen to be a mainly left-brained (and working on my right-brain consciousness) science and engineering teacher, I will venture out of my zone of expertise here and claim that no such hacks exist for any school subject, or life skill, or professional craft.

The truth is that is takes work to become good at something; even more work to become great at it; and a ton more work to become excellent and maintain excellence at any one thing. Therefore, the right approach is needed and it involves problem solving. But, what is the right approach to solving a problem? I believe that becoming an effective problem solver involves asking 3 key questions: What Can I Do?, What Can I Read?, and Who Can I Ask?, seeking answers to these questions, and taking action once you have your answers. 

To Solve a Problem, Ask Yourself: What Can I Do?

A student came up to my desk recently and told me that he does not understand the material we are working on in class at the moment. When I asked what it is he does not get, I received the standard reply: Everything.

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Posted by on in Teaching Strategies

If you are an educator, the topic of note taking has come up in your PLN more than once. Perhaps you are encouraged to use a certain method in your school. My school is an AVID school and I taught at other AVID schools, so the Cornell Note-Taking Method is something I've been exposed to a lot, have much experience with, and use with my students.

I believe that note-taking, regardless of how the notes are taken: on paper or digitally, is a tool that can allow students to become better, self-sufficient, and self-directed learners. Thus, my mission as a teacher is to not only teach chemistry, but to equip my students with learning tools and strategies that help them focus and achieve greater success in the k-12 classroom, college, and beyond. One such tool and strategy is the Cornell Notes On Steroids Template I created and use with my students. Check it out!


Not all of my students choose to use the template. A great majority of the ones that do find the template useful. They especially like the section for objectives and its organization. Summarizing is one of those high ROI activities I have to constantly stress, but guess what? IT'S WORTH IT. You can download the Cornell Notes On Steroids template and the Table of Contents for free.

I hope you find the Brain Hacking infographic above useful. You can access other Brain-Based Learning infographics I created by scrolling down my ED!Blog. Please share it with other educators, parents, and learners. I will feature the 9th Brain-Based Learning Infographic: "Brain Hacking 304" in my next NEWSLETTER, so please SIGN UP if you would like to receive some tips on how to help your students become better learners.

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Posted by on in Education Resources


Procrastination is like chocolate addiction: It offers temporary satisfaction when you are hungry, don't want to eat your vegetables, and need a quick fix. It satisfies the craving, but once the energy leaves, you crash and burn. And, if you keep it up, your teeth rot, you gain weight, and you experience other health problems.

So, help your students stop procrastinating by giving them facts about why they procrastinate and strategies to beat procrastination. Then, teach them to Pomodoro their way to success!

Below lies Infographic #2 in the BRAIN-BASED LEARNING HACKS series I've embarked upon last week with Infographic #1 about the science of sleep and learning. Each one is fact and research-based and intended to be a resource for educators and students. If you are an admin, please SHARE THEM WITH THE OTHER EDUCATORS in your building/district. If you are a teacher, SHARE THEM WITH YOUR STUDENTS.

Much of the information is inspired by what I learned from a Massive Online Open Course or MOOC through Coursera and University of California, San Diego named "Learning How To Learn" developed by Dr. Barbara Oakley. I strongly encourage you to watch her TEDx Oakland University Talk on "Learning How To Learn." In my infographics, I combine what I learn with personal experience as a middle school and high school teacher to make K-12 learning accessible to all students.

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