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Topic Archives: Grades & Achievement

2017: The Year to Bite the Magic Bullet

January 5, 2017

By Nancy Weinstein We remain optimistic that technology has the promise to transform education. Yet we start 2017 with a sobering reminder that technology’s impact has been slow and inconsistent. In every community, students are still struggling or disengaged, parents are anxious, and teachers are stressed. So what do we do next? Keep trying new solutions? Give it another year? We say it’s time to accept that technology is not the magic bullet that will save our educational system. We know technology can help make learning and teaching easier and more enjoyable. But only if we first embrace the three human elements essential to effective learning. Students will need to work hard to learn. There is no solution, technology or otherwise, that will change that. There’s no… Read More

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The Hidden Value in High-Stakes Tests

October 10, 2016

by Mindprint Staff Yes it’s easy to question if there’s any real value to standardized tests, especially if you have a stressed out teen studying for the ACT. High-stakes admissions tests aside, there is plenty of value in standardized tests IF we use them in the right way. The unfortunate reality is they are more often used for inclusion/exclusion or passing judgment rather than identifying how we can help kids succeed. Here’s what we can and should do to change that, one child at a time. The Classic Under-Achiever. Do you have a kid who does well on standardized tests but can’t seem to perform in class? Let’s unlock that potential! Start with the understanding that every kid wants to succeed, no one does well on tests by… Read More

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Happy Student, Happy Life

August 31, 2016

When parents are asked what they desire most for their children’s future, not surprisingly the overwhelming response includes the word happiness. And yet, we grown-ups might be doing just the opposite. Regardless of what we tell our children, they primarily learn by our example. And when our heartfelt efforts to give our children the very best sometimes violate what we believe or know to be right, we understandably forgive ourselves. But our children? Our children model what they see, not what they’re told. And that implies that we might be inadvertently instilling behaviors and beliefs that will make their long-term happiness that much more elusive. But we can, and should, change. Here’s how. Our Top Science-Based Strategies of What Parents Should Stop Saying and Start Doing Stop Saying “You need to work hard… Read More

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Back-to-School Essential Reads

August 16, 2016

Re-engaging after a long summer vacation can be tough. So tough that students often need to spend the first month of school reviewing the last two months of the previous school year. Adults are no different. So, today we share with you the most important things that your summer brain might have missed or forgotten. These reads will get you ready to make this the best school year yet. A Parent’s Guide to the First Six Weeks  A primer for parents to ensure a good transition. How to Crush School  Review of new book for middle and high school students by teacher Oskar Cymermann. Teaches teens to develop study skills for school and life success. The Forgetting Curve Learning is a different skill from remembering,… Read More

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A Parent’s Guide to the First Six Weeks of School

August 2, 2016

Before School Starts:  One or two weeks before the start of school, have some one-on-one time with each child. Discuss the upcoming year. Do a lot more listening than speaking– you want to hear their concerns and allay them. For younger students, parents might need to set expectations for homework time and grades. For teens, it might be time to let your child set realistic expectations about their classes, grades, and extra-curriculars. Then agree on a schedule or routine to make it happen that includes sufficient sleep, full meals, and time for relaxation. Week 1: Focus on a good adjustment. For younger kids, do they have the seat that will enable them to focus? Are they comfortable speaking to their teacher? Do they… Read More

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What’s the Goal? “Top 100” Grad or “Top 100” Career?

April 20, 2016

by Nancy Weinstein For the hundreds of thousands of students that applied to selective colleges this year, the short-term goal was clear: Getting In. And while many of those students are actively rejoicing, many more are lamenting the thin envelope that came in the mail. Now what?! According to personal accounts from concerned parents across the nation, unless your child is a recruited athlete, getting into a top college is a virtual crap-shoot. The perception is that too many qualified, legacy applicants means “safety school” is as anachronistic as the rotary telephone. And while the debate rages as to whether perception is reality in college admissions, the reality that stress levels have risen significantly among teens is indisputable. As many of our nation’s best and brightest… Read More

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Does Your Child Believe You? 5 Pre-requisites for Cultivating a Growth Mindset

March 10, 2016

By Mindprint Staff If you work with children or have children, you are probably aware of Carol Dweck‘s seminal work on the importance of growth mindset. In a nutshell, it’s a belief that your capabilities are not something you are simply born with but which you can develop with effort and commitment. Adults can have a big impact by focusing on a child’s effort not outcomes, and help kids understand that hard work and practice  – not pure innate talent – will enable them to succeed. Unfortunately, as can often happen when solid research hits the mainstream media, Dweck’s excellent work has been grossly over-simplified. It’s not as easy as replacing, “Look how smart you are!” with, “I’m so proud of how hard you worked!” and…. Voila, the next Albert Einstein. Or… Read More

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Beating Test Anxiety

January 11, 2016

by Mindprint Staff Undoubtedly, many bright students struggle with a bad case of test anxiety. When it comes to a big exam or standardized test, these capable students never seem to do their best. Rather than the positive adrenaline a little bit of stress can provide, they end up with a full rush of hormones that interferes with their ability to think clearly, access their memory and demonstrate their full capabilities. Fortunately, understanding and addressing the root cause of a child’s test anxiety can break that cycle– And instead launch the much sought after virtuous cycle of greater self-confidence and improved performance. Our child psychologists tell us that most children’s struggles can be stripped down to a few underlying causes. The trick is to figure out which one is the cause… Read More

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When It’s a Can’t, Not a Won’t

December 17, 2015

In October I attended the Association of Educational Therapists conference and heard Dr. Tina Bryson’s keynote. She had plenty of great advice, best summed up this way: “When a kid’s not behaving, what if it’s a can’t, not a won’t?” How many of us have told a child that he’s simply not trying hard enough, or threatened punishments for a kid who doesn’t listen? No doubt, we parents and teachers are often justified in our exasperation. It is our responsibility to teach children to work hard and respect adults. We certainly are correct in assigning appropriate consequences when they choose not to listen. But when it’s a pattern of behavior, all the discipline rules change. Step back and think. Is your child often apathetic?… Read More

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Who’s In Your Rolodex?

August 13, 2015

By Sarah Maraniss Vander Schaaff I am reading a biography of a woman who traveled to Europe by steamer ship in the early twentieth century. She took with her an address book in which she’d entered the names and addresses of recommended tailors and doctors just in case she needed one. The modern parent doesn’t need an address book of names on hand in the event of emergencies because at the touch of a few buttons, we can search for what we need instantly. Or can we? If what we’re looking for is a highly recommended specialist, we might want to take a cue from our foremothers, and invest a little time in building our lists before we enter foreign… Read More

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