Great Graduation Gifts and Gadgets


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Graduation season is winding down, but gift giving time is still in full swing. It is time to say “Job, well done!” to graduates. As the graduations wrap up, and summer begins, here are some ideas of gifts that will propel your graduate into greatness or at least support the journey.Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 2.23.36 PMMake sure graduates stay in charge. Tylt’s Energi Backpack is great for carrying al of your graduate’s gadgets while keeping them charged and ready for use. It has various compartments that give the organized graduate optimum storing options.

  1. For the literature lover or author this literary scarf can serve as a great muse or Screen Shot 2016-06-19 at 11.33.45 AMconversation starter. I found this scarf on the Uncommon Goods website.


  1. Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 12.36.53 AMAlso found on the Uncommon Goods site, which is a great site to visit for unique gifts for any occasion, this bedside pouch makes burning the midnight oil more convenient.



  1. For the fashionable chic these thermal tumblers by Kate Spade can be found on the See Jane Work website.Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 12.09.16 PM




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    J Crew Abingdon Weekender Bag

    All work and no play is a sure fire way to burn out, so the recent graduate deserves a get away with a new weekend tote. These totes are chic and practical.

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    Lipault Weekend Tote found at See Jane Work


  1. When the day has a packed schedule, a cup of Joe needs to be hot, convenient and dependable. Mr. Coffee’s Smart Optimal Brew is smart phone activated. Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 12.51.47 PM

Summer brain boosters


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Summertime, Summertime, filled with beach blankets, ice cream, water activities, and long days of sunlight and recreation. Wait. Students, what about your brain? “NVM” may be the answer of choice to that question. But summer time is crucial to maintaining and prepping brainpower for the school year.

There is a great deal of scientific explanation that the brain is a muscle and should be exercised as such. Three months without intellectual stimulation might seem like the right of passage after a whirlwind school year, but so you don’t experience even the smallest amount of brain muscle atrophy, consider these summer learning activities.

  1. Extra, Extra, Read All About It!

When you find yourself visiting the nearest beach, hiking trail, or amusement park, take a moment to drop into the visitor’s center or gift shop. In there you can find brochures about the history of the attraction. Reading the brief brochure, not only deposits a drop of history and trivial pursuit, but it also increases well being. Reading is said to reduce stress and slow brain cell loss.

What about taking in a novel for the summer? Although research shows that the average amount of time that teens spend reading outside of school days is eights minutes a day, who wants to be average? Check out a book or two from the library. You increase the circulation of local libraries and exercise the brain with a new adventure, romance, or no-fiction. Really want to get a jump on next year’s course readings? Get an online subscription to a journal in your concentration area. And let’s not forget that reading increases your vocabulary.

  1. Seven days without exercise makes one weak.

Aerobic exercise not only benefits your physical strength, but it also improves memory, learning, and according to Harvard Medical School. Researchers have found that aerobic exercise increases the size of the hippocampus, the portion of the brain responsible for memory, along with moods and the autonomic nervous system (breathing, heart beat, digestion). So get up and get going – increase your brain and body power.

  1. Each One Teach One.

The power of one can be a great boost to summer learning. Reach out to someone a few years younger or a few years older and share an article, book, or expertise in an area. According to the work of Psychologist Lev Vygotsky and other educators who have used Vygotsky’s work with Zone of Proximal Development, children greatly benefit from the influence of adults or peers with greater proficiency in areas. When children are in purposeful engagement with higher ability individuals, their abilities also increase. So, volunteer with children in you community or family. These youngsters can improve problem solving, literacy, and social behaviors by reading or playing with you.

Some influential historical figures have words of wisdom to share.

‘We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” – Ronal Reagan

“ Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are doing for others?” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

So get out there this summer and boost your brain. Your grades will reflect it next year.


Back to school conversations  


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   speech-bubbles-1391721784TTXAs schools across the country reopen their doors to students, students and parents should consider the most important conversations to have at the start of the year. Starting the school year with open communication is a great way to create a pathway to academic success.

Give the following information:

  1. Make availability for meet and greet events, such as open house, back to school night, or departmental socials. As a student, introduce yourself and let the teacher or professor know that you are looking forward to a great school year and are excited about the subject matter ahead. As a high school or college student a firm handshake and a formal introduction at the start of the semester sends a message to professors that you are engaged and ready for the journey ahead.

If you are a parent of a younger student, it is important to show that you are an interactive and supportive parent to the class and teacher along with being an active advocate for your child.

2. Give accurate contact information at the start of the year. The information should always include address, home, cell, and work numbers along with email addresses. It is important that teachers, administration, or professors know how to reach you with easily accessible information from the start of the school year. This information allows faculty and staff to keep you informed of regular occurrences or notify you in case of emergency.

3.Ensure that teachers are aware of any identified needs and the accompanying medical or instructional plans.

Get the following information:

  1. Hours of availability

Make sure you are aware of the days, times, and modes of access that your teacher has for extra assistance or meeting to discuss class concerns.

  1. Syllabus/Course Description

Often students or parents may store a syllabus away for future reference if there are questions or concerns later; however, being aware of the policies and procedures of a teacher and course from the start of the semester provides a student with the idea of how to pace their assignments and studying. Be sure to understand the homework and late work policies. Not that you will have late work, but sometimes illness and emergencies happen, and it best to know before hand how to proceed.

  1. Additional Resources that may assist in the class

Often when asked, teachers and professors have extra resources in mind that they know will specifically assist you in your studies. These resources are not necessities, but it may be a supplemental book, study strategy, community association, or article that could assist in a successful school class experience. A simple question like: “Is there any extra tidbit or suggestion that you can suggest I check into?” This type of question opens the conversation for opportunities that may not normally come up in the syllabus or class discussions. If there is not a readily available answer right then, your teacher is guaranteed to keep you in mind if something arises later.

  1. Determine the teacher’s instructional delivery style.

Successful students learn to determine the delivery style of each teacher. In a perfect, utopic environment all of your instruction would be delivered to you to meet your individual style of learning, but this is not the case. It is important to notice the routines of each of your teachers. Does she tend to give lessons in a lecture style with handouts or power point slides, or does he provide information an expectation of independent chapter reading coupled with group class activities. Once you have determined the style of each teacher, it will assist you in knowing how to prepare for each class, how to study, and how to ask for help or advice when needed.

  1. Find out the best way to gain clarity when confused (i.e. after school, after class, office hours, online forum)

As a mother and teacher, I often reminded my children that it a shared responsibility of the student and teacher to ensure that the student understands the subject matter and is successful in the class. I advised my children, as I am advising you now. Be sure to do your part, and be sure to assist the teacher in meeting your needs in the class also. Do not settle for less from yourself or from the teacher.

Have a splendid school year reaching higher heights.

Counting Sheep: Top Five Reasons You Need Sleep


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Are you…alarm

Irritable but you don’t know why?

Putting on pounds or having acne breakouts?

Impatient with your teachers or parents?

Searching for the energy to get up and go?

A little more accident prone or clumsy than usual?

Your loved ones may attribute this to youthful behavior, which could be true, but it is a very good chance that you could be just plain sleepy. Findings of the National Sleep Foundation explain that teenagers and young adults need eight to ten hours of sleep nightly. Most often parents believe that younger children need several hours of sleep to ensure healthy brain and body development, so your mom or dad were sure to give you a bedtime.

Now that it’s your responsibility to decide when to close the textbook, put down the game control, wrap up a night out, or turn the ringer off on the cell phone, take a look at the consequences of getting too little sleep.

The top 5 reasons you may want to set your bedtime earlier.

  1. Keep an eye out.

Teen and young adult crashes increase by 20% for drivers who have six or less hours of sleep.

  1. Take a chill pill.

Teens and young adults who lack sleep are more likely to have aggressive behaviors.

  1. Watch out for the bulge.

Those who are sleep deprived tend to over eat or over indulge in sugar or unhealthy food choices.

  1. Zombies on campus.

A sleepless night can cause you to be less alert or less aware of your surrounding which may cause falls, clumsy maneuvering, or forgetfulness throughout the day.

  1. What’s the buzz?

Caffeine and nicotine usage increases for some who are in need of an extra energy surge.

In the words of Leonardo da Vinci, “A well spent day brings happy sleep.”

So, during the day work diligently, and at night get your Zs.

Beat Spring Fever: 5 steps to finishing the school year strong


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Okay the title might be corny, but the sentiment is spot on.

Spring is a great time of a school year to both finish strong and to set sights on the horizon of a sure fire successful upcoming school year.

Thus, the reason you need to Spring into Action with these 5 steps.

  1. Measure your growth you hoped to achieve this year. You may just be close enough to check off one more goal.
  2. Write down the strengths and areas for improvement that you experienced this school year. Schedule some time to speak individually with your teacher and ask her to give you some feedback on the quality of your work and suggestions. Most teachers admire student reflection and may even give you a couple of hints on how to perform well on upcoming tasks.Also, you can find evidence of the quality of your performance by looking again at teacher comments written on past assignments. Taking notice of teacher comments gives you the skill of knowing how others perceive your work.
  3. Clean your back pack, binder, locker, and home work area to retrieve late papers or collect papers that might help in an upcoming course. Also keep a few assignments that received a great grade to remind you of what steps you followed to success. Keeping track of the heights and the pitfalls of your work helps o determine your next steps.
  4. Highlight notes and teacher handouts. If you have not already done so, it’s time to highlight and annotate your notes and handouts to make final exam preparation easier.
  5. Set next year’s goals. While the school year is still fresh on your mind. Set your goals for next school year, before the haze of summer fun and relaxation comes. Be honest and exact about what you need to achieve: for example, changing study habits, improving essay writing, raising your g.p.a., or maybe preparing for achievement tests.

These five steps will give you a new outlook on the remaining weeks of the school year, not to mention make the countdown to summer less straining.

photo credit: Working out Homework policy via photopin (license)