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Yes, No, Maybe: A Realistic View of the College Admissions Process

March 17, 2019

All the buzz about college admissions this week is not just about the scandal of rich folks and celebrities. We are in the height of the college admissions season. For regular, non-rolling admissions it started on March 15th and extends through early April. The acceptance and rejection chatter naturally gets many parents of underclassmen (and middle schoolers) anxiously thinking if they should be planning ahead and how. Recognize there is no universal bullet that will guarantee admissions for any student these days, this week’s controversy aside. However, there are some guiding principles that will  increase your student’s chances and help you, and your family, maintain your sanity for what is, increasingly, an insane process. Yes, No, or Maybe? Start by being reasonable about the chances of getting… Read More

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How to Teach Students Creativity

February 18, 2019

  You can’t teach students creativity the same way you can teach algebra or reading. But research shows that creative thinking can be developed and nurtured over time, similar to a growth mindset. The key is to recognize how creativity develops and create environments that foster creative thinking. Mindprint’s FIVE steps to creative transformation 1. FOUNDATION  There is no substitute for a deep foundation of subject-specific content knowledge. The more you know about a topic, the more chances there are to see opportunities. If we want students to be creative thinkers, it is essential that we continuously expand their knowledge base and fill in any gaps that arise along the way in core, subject-specific knowledge. HINT: Students with weaker verbal memory can… Read More

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Would a Study Group Help?

January 16, 2019

Harvard discovered that one of the best predictors of college success was having a study group. Would your students benefit? Study groups can help students stay motivated and organized. In fact, it’s shown that they can be even more effective than classroom discussions in helping students learn and remember. If you have students who struggled first semester, or just lacking motivation or enthusiasm, consider encouraging them to form study groups. Be sure to help guide them, as there is clear evidence of what works, and what doesn’t, in study groups. Rule #1: Manageable Size   Keep a group size of 3 to 5 members so everyone has an opportunity to actively participate while allowing for diversity of opinion. Rule # 2 Shared Goals  Ideally all participants have a similar objective for… Read More

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Want to Ensure College and Career Readiness? Develop Flexible Thinking

December 17, 2018

It’s true that verbal and abstract reasoning are the cognitive skills that predict academic achievement. The ability to make sense of complex information is undeniably essential to learning at every age. But once students leave the K12 classroom, research suggests that flexible thinking might be equally important to college and career readiness. As explained by author Eric Barker, “Schools reward students who consistently do what they are told— and life rewards people who shake things up.” What is flexible thinking? Flexible thinking is the ability to shift gears or change direction to adjust to unexpected circumstances or novel problems. Educators might be acutely aware of students who struggle with flexibility, even if they don’t always realize it. They might view these students as “stubborn” or “challenging”. Inflexible thinkers often resist change, reject redirection, or refuse… Read More

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SPEED: The Standardized Tests Demon

November 17, 2018

  There is no single reason why a student under-performs on standardized tests. But if there’s a pattern of a student’s standardized test scores not living up to grades, SPEED is often the culprit. If the classic fable of the tortoise and the hare were a metaphor for school, standardized tests might be the one occasion that the hare comes out ahead. Standardized tests favor quick thinkers — the kids who finish first with an A, even if they don’t get the highest score in the class. In contrast, students who work more slowly and deliberatively might be capable of answering the most challenging questions, but they run out of time to show it. Speed Challenges Can Worsen Over Time Unfortunately, the… Read More

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