Friday, May 12, 2017

May 15, 2017

Dear LoMA Family,

            For several years my husband Daniel has expressed some interest in getting a dog. While I generally like dogs, I had no interest and lots of reasons why it was a bad idea: our apartment was too small, I didn’t have the patience or time to house-train him, I didn’t want to have to wake up early or come home right after work to feed him, and who wants the expense? Really, they were excuses as the real reason was that I like my lifestyle and did not want to make a change that big. Then, a couple of months ago, we took care of a friend’s dog for several weeks. It wasn’t so bad. He was well-behaved, walking him was kind of fun and I was surprised by how nice it was to come home to him. Best of all, it was heart-warming to see how much Daniel loved the dog.
            Two weeks ago, we made the leap and adopted a Beagle-Whippet rescue dog named Malcolm. He is adorable, affectionate and silly. I now understand why people say dogs provide unconditional love. It is less work than I would have thought, and I can’t believe how quickly I have come to care for him. Instead of being the burden I had feared, he is a joy. I can’t believe how wrong I was, and regret all of the lost years we didn’t have one.
            This all makes me wonder how often I have been wrong about trying new things because I was afraid of change. Could I have been more of a performer or athlete? It is hard to teach an old dog new tricks. I’m a pretty old dog, but LoMA’s students aren’t and they have so many opportunities. Some of the most rewarding moments for school staff is when we see students make big change: a young man who suddenly realizes that with more effort he can go from failing to making honor roll, a nervous student who shines on the stage in a school show or a shy young woman who becomes a student leader in LoMA Cares or Student Council. 
            Youth should be a time for discovery as children discover the kind of adult they will be, and school should be a place for safe experimentation. That is why I have helped to found two arts schools - the arts can be so central in developing one’s creativity while helping to form positive relationships. Likewise, the extracurricular activities and internships that we require provide opportunities to try out various interests as you discover who you want to be. The more you try, the more you can discover.
            Living in New York City and going to a school like LoMA opens up so many possibilities, but only for people who have the temerity to make a change. For too long, I let effort required and fears of change keep me from getting a dog. I regret it. Will you regret not studying harder, joining a club trying out for a team?

Change is good,

John Wenk

May 15            9:00                 Internship showcase
May 17            12:00               Sophomore trip to NYTW
May 17            10:30               Freshmen trip to St. Luke’s Orchestra
May 18            6:00                 Parents’ Association Meeting
May 19            1:00                 Grease for all students
May 20            7:00                 Grease
May 25                                    Junior trip to Philadelphia

Dear LoMA,
            Renowned American and captain of industry Tommy Callahan II once said, “In auto parts, you’re either growin’ or you’re dyin’—there ain’t no third direction.”  This week’s Shaka entry features the thoughts of two different Junior students about risks they took that paid off.  Enjoy.
Risk can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the type of risk.  A risk that I have taken that was very hard at the time but paid off was when I had to cut someone that I really cared about out of my life because I felt like they were endangering me and taking me down a path that could lead to real trouble.  I wanted to stay and help this person, but I knew that the best thing for me would be to leave and start fresh.  Sometimes you just have to do what’s right for you.  I knew at the time that it was the best choice, even when I was doubting my choice.  I started to see a difference in me and who I was becoming as a person.  I stopped being so angry with the world, and I noticed that I started to take big steps to improve myself and focus on myself a bit more instead of focusing on stupid things that would not take me anywhere in life.  People should take risks if they will benefit them, even if there is only a chance of them being beneficial.  Even if they are unsure, even when change is scary, risks should be taken because that’s how you live and learn.  You can’t grow without changing.
I took a risk just coming to this school.  I had never been out of my borough, and I didn’t like Manhattan, plus it was so far away from my home and my friends.  I really thought that I would never find any friends that I would like because Manhattan seemed so bougie and superficial, not real like me and my friends.  How funny is that to think about now?  I never see my old middle school friends, and pretty much life in the Lower East Side, other than sleeping.  It was also a risk to go to an Arts school.  I like the arts, and I am good at dancing, music, and drama, but to go to a school where everyone else was too?  No thanks.  To go to a school where I had to do well in my classes and I would have to make my art skills better?  Uh-uh.  And what if someone was better than me?  Before I came here, I thought every day would be like a competition in all of the arts, but it wasn’t.  If anything, everyone wants everyone to be better, and the teachers don’t make us compete.  They want everyone to get better the same, too.  I’m still too nervous to show my talents to others, but I feel supported, and I want to take that risk next.  So it turns out that I was wrong about the people here, Manhattan, what school would be like, and what my classmates would be like.  But I was right about the most important thing—taking that risk to come here.
Grow…or die,


Friday, May 5, 2017

Teens and drugs

May 8, 2017

Dear LoMA Family,

I think that teenagers get too much of a bad rap from the media. Based on news reports, popular television shows and music, one would think that drug use, sex and alcohol abuse are rampant among self-destructive young people. Yet real research and my own observations over the past twenty years show a very different reality. Today, teens smoke, drink and have unprotected sex far less than they did when their parents and I were in high school. This may be one of the reasons why New York City’s high school graduation rate is at an all time high and teenage pregnancy is at an all-time low. The reasons for these changes may be complex, but the overall trend is indisputable.
The best source for what American teens do is the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future Study (MFS). For thirty-five years, these researchers have been surveying 50,000 American high school students about drug use and health. Students may lie, but there is no reason to believe that they lie any more now than they used to, and its results are generally confirmed by the results of other large surveys. As these researchers have been asking 50,000 students these questions over four decades, they certainly paint a bigger picture than individual anecdotes do. And the picture looks pretty good.
When I was in high school in 1980, the majority of my classmates seemed to get high regularly and nearly everyone I knew had at least tried cigarettes. The MFS confirms this, saying that 60% of seniors reported trying pot and 10% smoked it daily. By last year, 40% reported that they had tried it and less than 6% smoked pot regularly. Abuse of illegal drugs besides pot has likewise dropped off from 43% to 25%. Cigarette use has dropped off even more dramatically nationally, from 32% to 17%. New York City’s teens are doing even better, as only about 12% of them smoke today. As good as the news on cigarettes is, teens are doing even better in moving away from alcohol use. When I attended high school alcohol abuse was so bad, some students would regularly drink before school and the MFS reports that 70% of seniors drank regularly. Today, that percentage is 42.
Despite all of the images of sex in the media, it seems that rates of teenage sex are dropping even more significantly than drug use. In 1980, 50% of males and 35% of females reported having sex. Today, only about a quarter of each gender has reported having sex before they graduate. Even more importantly, the vast majority of teens (80% of boys and up to 92% of girls) are using condoms when they do have sex. The results of this are reflected in the lowest teen pregnancy rate in 30 years - 0.7%.
All of this is not to say that there are not still significant problems with teen drug use, alcohol abuse and teenage sex. I’ve seen far too many LoMA students drop out or underachieve because marijuana smoking has made them lazy and apathetic about their studies. Likewise, I worry about how alcohol makes teens (and adults) do stupid things that can threaten their lives. AIDS and sexually transmitted illnesses may not be killing as many people as they used to, but they are still destroying lives. If we care about young people, we can’t be complacent about self-destructive behavior which is why we will continue to punish dangerous behavior and counsel our students to make better choices.
Thankfully, in the twenty-seven years that I have been teaching, I have been seeing increasing numbers of students make better choices, act more responsibly, and succeed in high school. Despite all of the negativity about teens, we need to remember that the great majority of our kids are making good choices.

Work hard,

John Wenk

Dear LoMA,
            This week’s Shaka entry is from the perspective of a Freshman on the topics from Dr. Wenk’s newsletter.
            Drug abuse, drinking, and sex among teens are ruining the kids of tomorrow.  I don’t think any parent brought a child into this world for them to drink alcohol, smoke, and have a child before the age of 20.  I see so many young faces, like Emmett Till and the children killed in the Sandy Hook shooting, who had their idyllic lives taken away in a heartbeat.  And here we are, flushing ours down the drain.  I get that as teens, we want to learn more about our body and find ways to feel mature, but the level of maturity that can handle this stuff is out of our reach.  As we see all the time, this mischief should and will cease.
Keep a clear mind,


May 9              11:00               Academic Achievement Awards
May 9              4:00                 Game/Karaoke Day
May 11                                    College Expo Trip for Juniors
May 15            9:00                 Internship showcase
May 16            12:00               Sophomore trip to NYTW
May 17            10:30               Freshmen trip to St. Luke’s Orchestra
May 19            1:00                 Grease for all students
May 20            7:00                 Grease

Friday, April 28, 2017

happiness isn't easy

Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Dear LoMA Family,

            Have you ever noticed how good things just seem to happen more often to people who have a sunny disposition while other people seem constantly live under a cloud of despair? In a New York Times article called “Turning Negative Thinkers into Positive Ones,” Jane Brody explains that part of this may be due to the power of positive thinking. Her focus is on the power of “micro-moments of positivity.” She writes, “More than a sudden bonanza of good fortune, repeated brief moments of positive feelings can provide a buffer against stress and depression and foster both physical and mental health.” These micro-moments of positivity could be as small as giving up your seat for an elderly person, helping someone with homework or making a special breakfast for little brother.
Of course, we all have good reasons to feel down at times. Negative feelings activate the amygdala which triggers feelings of anxiety and fear. This can help prepare oneself to deal with conflict, but when it happens too often it can make it very difficult to succeed in school, plan for the future and sustain positive relationships. Healthier and happier people have resilient amygdales that can snap back from troubles so people don’t overreact. Brody writes that there are ways that you can actually train your amygdala in order to become healthier, more social and happier. The most important thing seems to be to surround yourself with positive people as joy is contagious and unhappy people can be toxic. Actually working, creating and playing with friends and family have been repeatedly shown to increase happiness and improve health as they build self-worth. This is another reason we encourage extracurricular activities at LoMA.  Here are some of her other suggestions:
·       Do good things for other people. In addition to making others happier, it will make you feel better about yourself, always the best source of the most genuine happiness.
·       Appreciate the world around you. I’ve been working at Seward for almost twenty years and I still appreciate the architectural details of our building and am fascinated to see all of the construction work going on around us. More significant are the brilliant sunsets, funny people and good meals we all should take time to appreciate.
·       Establish goals that can be accomplished. Set realistic but challenging goals and work towards meeting them. These can be grades, artistic projects, athletic events or learning something new. It doesn’t matter what the goal is, success will make you feel successful.
·       Learn something new. It can be a sport, a language, an instrument or a game that instills a sense of achievement, self-confidence and resilience. When was the last time you learned something new? How did it make you feel?

One of the ironies of happiness is that it requires effort and work. Sitting around watching television, surfing the Internet or hanging out may feel good for a bit, but they will never bring a sense of accomplishment and real joy. The good life requires that we commit to something and work with others for success.

Work hard…and you’ll be happier,

John Wenk

May 3              4:00-7:00        LoMA Day at the Whitney
May 4              5:45-8:00        Parent Teacher Conferences
May 16            12:00               Sophomore trip to NYTW
May 17            10:30               Freshmen trip to St. Luke’s Orchestra
May 19 and 20                        Grease is the Word

Friday, April 21, 2017

10,000 hours

“There is no glory in practice, but without practice, there is no glory.”

Dear LoMA Family,

Some people believe that success grows effortlessly and automatically out of talent: smart students do well in school, athletic boys succeed on the court and great actors are born, not made. But as David Brooks and Malcolm Gladwell have pointed out in recent books, success comes from effort not talent. In fact, they have found that IQ and natural ability are generally very poor predictors of greatness. Instead, new research says that greatness only comes through guided, rigorous practice – a lot of it. Something that all geniuses like Mozart, Einstein, and Michael Jordan have in common is that they only became great after 10,000 hours of practice. This rings true for me as I remember that none of my students practiced their craft more than Alicia Keys. For hours every afternoon she would do vocal and piano exercises with her teacher who was very strict with her. Even with all of this practice, she still found time to graduate number one in her class.

However, simply practicing for hours and hours is not enough, as the practice must be focused and coached. When someone is really focused on their craft, they become so attentive to every detail that they shut the rest of the world out. You can see this with the Williams sisters playing tennis and Michael Jackson’s dancing. Their focus becomes so strong that they enter into something called a flow. They lose track of time and become incredibly productive as everything else disappears. While I’m no genius, I have felt the flow when writing newsletters or doing carpentry. I have also seen my students in the flow when they are working on essays or completing labs. They shut out all of the distractions around them and lose track of time.

Practice must also be very conscious and deliberate in order to be effective. Many artists and athletes practice incrementally by breaking skills down into tiny parts and repeating them, often with a coach or director guiding them. This is why successful actors rehearse scenes with a director and basketball players run fundamentals drills under the watchful, critical eyes of a coach. In the same way, students need to put the focused effort into studying for tests by breaking information and skills down and practicing them over and over under the guidance of a teacher. The more our students can keep their focus during class, tutoring and homework, the stronger their skills will become. There is no shortcut for rigorous, repeated, guided practice. The more you put into developing a skill, the more you will get out of it.

Work hard,

John Wenk

April 28                                  End of fifth marking period
May 3              4:00-7:00        LoMA Day at the Whitney
May 4              5:45-8:00        Parent Teacher Conferences
May 16            12:00               Sophomore trip to NYTW
May 17            10:30               Freshmen trip to St. Luke’s Orchestra
May 19 and 20                        Grease is the Word
John Wenk

Dear LoMA Family,
               This week’s Shaka entry is a compilation of thoughts about practicing from four different students, all of whom play or have played varsity sports.  The first part is from a baseball player, the second part is several softball players’ thoughts that have been combined. Enjoy.


Practice is the most important thing you do to get better at something. The truth is practice sucks, but when you practice you feel yourself slowly getting better. When I think about how much practice it takes to get better, I feel like giving up. It takes hard work to get up, get out there and prove to yourself that you can be the best by improving yourself every day. It pays off in the long run because I know when I practice, baseball just gets easier. It narrows down from game, to innings, to a pitch count, and to just one pitch. Practice helps you even have a better understanding of what it is you need help on and what you are trying to accomplish. Even after all the hard work I put into baseball, I know there are people my age training ten times harder than I am, which means they are only getting better in every aspect of the game. Practice ignites that fire that keeps you going because you know how good you can be, and no one is going to stop you if practice.

*                                           *                                           *

I hate practice.  I really do.  I hate the drills, I hate the repetitiveness, and I hate doing things that I feel like I mastered already.  I hate doing laps when I can already run fast.  I hate fielding ground balls when I already know how to field.  I hate throwing drills when I can already throw from the fence to the cutoff.  I hate hitting off of a tee when I can already hit better than most people.

I’m better than most people on every team I’ve been on.  I’m not trying to brag, but that’s true.  Every team that I have been on, I’ve been one of the two or three best players.  That led to me not practicing as hard.  I jogged through running drills, half-assed it in fielding drills, and mostly just didn’t work very hard.  Now, you’re thinking this will be some story about how I suddenly got benched, or everyone else was suddenly as good as me, or something, but it’s not.  I was still one of the best players on the team, but I found it harder to get focused, to get my mind right on game days.  It’s not a matter of getting worse at the game, but I realized that practice is only useful if you practice in your mind while you’re practicing on the field.

I said at the beginning that I hate practice.  I still do.  On rainy, cold days, I hate dragging myself onto that cold field to do boring practice.  On hot, beautiful days, I would rather do anything else besides have to go out and practice.  But I really hate being embarrassed when I miss an easy grounder because I’m not focused.  I really hate missing a fat pitch because I didn’t work hard in contact drills.  I really hate being a part of a double play because I didn’t run as fast as I could have.

So practice sucks, but being embarrassed because you didn’t practice right sucks much more.

Get your mind right and practice your craft,


Friday, March 31, 2017

“Cell phones are so convenient that they're an inconvenience.” 
                                      Haruki Murakami,                                                                                    

April 3, 2017

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how distractions and temptations get in the way of our long-term goals. For too many people, one marshmallow now just tastes better than having to wait for two later. As teens and adults, however, there is another distraction far more tempting than even the fattest, freshest, toastiest marshmallow – the Internet. Checking email, news feeds and Instagram has become a compulsion for too many people.  As Nicholas Carr explained in his book The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. “The net is designed to be an interruption system, a machine geared to dividing attention. We willingly accept the loss of concentration and focus, the division of our attention and the fragmentation of our thoughts, in return for the wealth of compelling or at least diverting information we receive.”
What makes the Internet so fascinating is the ability to surf so quickly, effortlessly and mindlessly through so many different places. Never in history have people had the power to see so much so easily. Sites like Wikipedia, the United States Archives and the New York Public Library put more information at everyone’s fingertips than any single person had access to two decades ago. However, the reality is that this is not what we generally use the Internet for. We are much more likely to spend hours bouncing between social media sites and YouTube videos. I totally get it. Every night I have to check my three news sources, email and maybe check out a short video before I go to sleep, often later than I had wanted. I don’t usually take the time to read the longer articles but instead skim through the headlines feeling like I’m engaged with the world.
But I’m not. If I really want to be engaged, I have to put in the effort to get off the surfboard and dive deep. Read the actual New York Times, actually talk to friends and get out and see real performances. Between text messages, email and social media, people may read as many words as ever, but it is all on the surface. A fully engaged life, meaningful friendships and real learning require effort. Most of LoMA’s students are currently reading Shakespeare, and I know it isn’t always easy to tell what he is saying. It requires multiple readings, discussion and a dictionary. But all that effort opens up new worlds of the imagination to inspire us with the ideal of love or scare us with the tragedy of selfishness. Novels, full-length movies and books can change our lives in a way that make the wittiest memes seem inane.
If I know this, why do I still obsessively check email and the latest in the New York Times? Tony Schwartz wrote about this an article called “Addicted to Distraction.” (in the Times). He defined addiction as “the relentless pull to a substance or an activity that becomes so compulsive it ultimately interferes with everyday life.” He then points out that, “By that definition, nearly everyone I know is addicted in some measure to the Internet.” He says the Internet is so compulsive because it feeds the brain’s craving for novelty, constant stimulation and immediate gratification thereby creating a “compulsion loop.” This need is compounded by our fear of missing out on something important.  Like lab rats and drug addicts, we need more and more to get the same effect. Of course, the first defense of any addiction is denial, so an easy test of this is to simply quit using the Internet in any form for a week and see what happens.
As with all compulsions, they key to controlling it is to put structures in place that can control our desires. Charging the phone outside of the bedroom overnight helps control staying up too late surfing. Deleting time-wasting apps and leaving my phone turned off in my book bag during the school day are other ways to free my time for more worthwhile pursuits.  

Work Hard,

John Wenk
April 5                                                SAT Day and freshmen and senior trips
April 6                        6:00      Talent Show
April 10-18                             Spring Break!

            This week’s Shaka entries are from a Junior and Sophomore, respectively, who have both been working on their phone addictions.
Hey guys,
            Now I know none of you want to be reading this and much rather be on your phone.  Well, guess what!  That’s what this is about.  I also know that none of you want to be told to stop using your phone so much because it ruins your life. Well I’m gonna tell you anyway, because I know from experience.  I recently was in a fight because of something I said in a group chat with friends.  It was meant to be a joke, but my friend didn’t see it that way which caused her to stop talking to me for a while.  I almost ruined a friendship because of something online, where people can’t tell the tone you use.  I also overhear people in my class when they talk, and usually it’s about problems that start on Social Media. 
            Now I also know that none of you think that you pay more attention to your phone than your friends, but how many of you have every single social media?  I only have two of them, so do my friends, and you know what?  Since deleting the others, we spend our time hanging out outside, playing games, or listening to music TOGETHER. 
I’ve also noticed the number of times that I hear my teachers tell my classmates to put their phone away during class.  Now, I’ll admit that I’m one of them—I used to be on my phone all the time in class and that led to me having bad grades.  Not only did I have bad participation grade, but I was also lost in class and would never hear what we had for homework.  Now I’m not on my phone as much, and I notice that the number of times teachers say, “Put your phone away” is crazy.  It’s gotten to the point where even I get annoyed hearing it, and when I look at my classmates, they are still on their phones!  Honestly, what could possibly be so important on your phone that it can’t wait until after class?!  Because I guarantee that if you do (as I learned), you’ll find out that some of the work is actually pretty interesting.  All I’m saying is to take a break from being on your phone and focus on what is actually important,  Instead of caring about how many likes you get, or followers on insta, or how many people have you on snap, or your streaks, maybe care about how many people are actually there for you.  Like, in person!  Then, take it further.  How many people are you actually there for?
Now, you don’t have to listen to me, but look at what being obsessed with our phones has come to—a President who is on Twitter all the time instead of being a president.  Even with our families, my own parents are on their phones a lot, and they complain about me.  It’s gotten to the point where adults are no better.  We need to spend more time with the people we care about and not with our phones.
*                       *                       *
   As you know many teens today are always on their phone. I would say the phone is a very addictive technology because you can do so much on it: games, websites, banking, text, call, etc. Some teens I talk to (even me) have a problem with putting it away; then when a teacher asks to read aloud or pay attention in class, we don't respond as fast as we should ‘cause we are so caught up in our phones, and most of the time we don't even hear people talking to us while we're lost in our phones. So for a fact, technology has taken control of our teen society, and I do agree that it needs to be handled. One thing that technology can overpower is friendship, if you're at lunch with your friends, you expect to talk about what’s happening and how things are going. Let's say three out of four are on their phones.  How is that fair to that one person that's waiting for someone to look up and talk to them? So like I said before this technology it’s so powerful it can ruin friendship and grades.
Look around once in a while,


Friday, March 24, 2017

Study Better

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”                                                            -PelĂ©
March 27, 2017

Ulrich Boser of the Center for American Progress has recently published a book called Learning Better. In it, he challenges many of the myths of how people learn by giving people the following quiz. See how you do!
1.      True or false: When it comes to learning, metacognition (i.e., thinking about thinking) can be just as important as intelligence.
2.      What is the best way to learn from some text?
a.      Read and reread the text
b.      Explain the key ideas of the test to yourself while reading
c.      Underline key concepts
d.     Use a highlighter.
3.      You have a test coming up. What’s the best way to review the material?
a.      Circle key points in the readings
b.      Read your notes over and over
c.      Take a practice quiz based on the material
4.      True or false: Learning should be spaced out over time.
5.      True or false: Right-brained people learn differently from left-brained people.
6.      Which should you not connect your learning to?
a.      Your learning style
b.      Your interests
c.      Your previous knowledge.
How did you do?
Number 1 is true. Intelligence is over-rated. How we think about intelligence is actually more important than our IQ score. You can learn almost anything if you are interested enough to care and put in effort. Intelligence is malleable. It’s very rarely about how smart you are, but how smart you want to make yourself.
Number 2 is b, and 3 is c. Yes, rereading and close reading do help, but summarizing what you need to memorize is always the best way improve retention. It relates to the strategy of quizzing yourself. Most of the time, our memory problems have more to do with retrieval than retention. Think about how once your remember a piece of something, it all comes back to you. With trillions of neural connections, our minds are less like empty closets and more like overly crowded closets where we can’t find anything. The more you quiz yourself and summarize data, the more likely you will remember where in the mind you put the information.
Number 4 is true. Cramming for a test the night before is much less efficient than studying just a little bit every day. Quizzing yourself on your notes and homework for five nights for 10 minutes a night will help more than studying for an hour the night before the exam. Of course, doing both will be even better.
Number 5 is false, and Number 6 is A. There has been a lot of hype about learning styles and right-brain and left brain learning. There is some truth to differences in both categories, but no research has found that we should change how we learn based on these differences. What is most important is that we are interested in the topic and connect it to what we already know.
If you did not do well, don’t be upset, the great majority of Boser’s subjects got most of the questions wrong too. The sad part, though, is that 75% of them said they know how to study well. Many people think being smart is what  is important and that they are studying when they simply read over their notes. Being academically successful is possible for everyone who cares and tries.
Work Hard,

John Wenk

This week’s Shaka entry is from a freshman student who has maintained a 90’s average while making the adjustment to High School expectations and freedoms.  Hope you find it enlightening!

You remember what it was like when you were in the fourth grade and the teacher had this whole lesson on…

“AIM: What type of learners are we?”

I always thought I had to physically see you do whatever it is you’re trying to teach me, and sometimes it can be difficult…being a visual learner and all.

Like in dance, if I’m not working off a mirror image of the others then I just want to give up; I feel lost and want to sit out for the rest of the hour.

But then I found I still remember things I hear from a teacher, or see in a video, or read in my packet.

I still get stressed about quizzes and tests, even though I usually do pretty well.

Trust me, I always would try and study, but what is studying?

Like, WHAT IS STUDYING IN GENERAL?!?!  What does that word even mean?

If I learn something and I don’t get it I will go to tutoring to try to figure it out.  But if I don’t know what my questions are—what I don’t understand—before going there, it feels like wasted time.

So is that studying?

Or am I studying when I am able to breeze through my homework, and answer all the questions, even if I don’t feel like I get it?

But wait, now there’s teachers’ favorite line, “Make flashcards!  Review your notes!”

Is that studying?  I don’t get that.  It feels like a waste of paper.  Nobody looks at flashcards after making them, and I never feel like they really make me learn things I don’t remember easily anyway.

So is that studying?

Really, what is studying?  Even the experts’ ideas of what makes effective learning and studying changes constantly.  Our best hope is to try to keep up, and learn from ourselves what works best for ourselves.

Listen to your mind,


April 5                                      SAT Day and freshmen and senior trips
April 6             6:00                  Talent Show
April 10-18                               Spring Break!