Get the Best Start to a Successful Year by Starting Before it Begins

Get the Best Start to a Successful Year by Starting Before it Begins

Being successful is easy with a little preplanning. The best place to start to guarantee a successful school year is before school begins. Planning For a Successful Year Workbook provides students with a guide to do just that. The following are some of the steps to follow to guarantee a great year. The Planning Workbook is a great way to record the following steps, and it's FREE to new subscribers: 

It’s a new school year and an opportunity for students to get a fresh start. This is the time to decide what they want to accomplish this year. 

The best way to have a good year is to start at the end. Knowing a desired outcome and strong reasons for it will deliver desired results. 

The first of seven steps is to ask students to write what they would like to see on their report cards at the end of the semester. Some of the comments might be, “Susan was an active participant in the class,” or “Jane never gave up and when things got hard, she eagerly asked for support.” I focus on the behaviors they might exhibit rather than on grades.

If students initially focus on the grade, ask them to define the behaviors or actions to demonstrate in order to achieve the desired grade. It is helpful to coach students with some of the following statements:

To get an “A” I will need to:

  1. Listen intently in class.
  2. Pay attention to what the teacher writes on the board.
  3. Remember to ask for material I miss when I am ill or out of class.
  4. Preview chapters and form questions about what I think I will learn.
  5. Read the questions first on all assignments before reading the material and before the concept is being taught. This will allow me to focus better on the things I need to learn.
  6. Read written work aloud several times to both proofread and check that it makes sense.
  7. Ask for clarification to be sure I understand the teacher’s instructions. 
  8. Make note cards to use for studying and review material regularly.
  9. Ask questions when I am unsure of what the teacher is explaining.
  10. Pay attention to homework assignments when I enter the classroom, so I know what I am expected to complete after school. Plan to get started during recess, if I have a lot to do after school. 
  11. Pre-read homework assignments to see what I do not know and ask questions before I leave class. 
  12. Do nightly homework and turn on time.
  13. Check over graded work and find out why I missed problems.
  14. Have someone quiz me before tests, so I am sure I understand the material.
  15. Use only positive comments when thinking or speaking about my abilities.
  16. When I do not do as well as I expect, I immediately make an appointment with the teacher to ask for strategies to improve. 
  17. Write reasons I made mistakes on my corrected work.
  18. Review all tests for information to check to see if there were possibly errors in correction and to find out what I didn’t know.
  19. {Made a separate item.} When studying for a semester or year exam, I will make sure to determine the correct answers and make note cards for review.
  20. Use the teacher’s office hours to discuss my progress.
  21. Keep a running record of my grades so I know where I stand at all times. 

Ask students to visualize themselves opening their report card at the end of the semester and reading all the wonderful comments and seeing the desired grades. This helps them tap into the wonderful feeling they get when they achieve what they had planned. Tapping into that feeling is a crucial step towards insuring they stay on task. 

Typing their goals for daily review and posting it where they will see it each morning is important. If placed on a bathroom mirror, they can review it while brushing their teeth. 

All students can benefit from using the list provided above, however, high school and college students often have to take classes they don’t want to take to meet a school requirement. There has to be a reward in it for them in order to create the desire to make it through the class. Ask them to list three reasons they are taking the class and three ways it will benefit them.

Examples:

College Student: I am taking counseling in order to get a clearer picture of what I want to do for a career. Then I will know what classes to take, and understand the way I learn, and school will be easier for me.

I am taking photography to learn new skills because I love taking pictures. It will give me personal satisfaction, and I can learn about career options related to photography. 

I am taking anthropology because I need to improve my grade, and taking it again gives me a better chance of getting into a four-year college.

Taking anthropology again will also allow me to try out my new study strategies, because I think they will help to improve my grade.

With an image of the end of the semester clearly in their minds, students will find it much easier to achieve their goals. 

Planning For a Successful Year Workbook will provide more steps to guarantee desired outcomes. 

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