Monthly Archives

October 2017

Take Ten!

“Take Ten” is a daily, ten-minute routine that improves on the two key elements of improving grades: organization and learning. 

How It Works

When students sit down to do their homework each evening, they should take the first ten minutes to organize papers and review notes from all their classes:

  • TWO minutes to clean out the book bag and organize papers in folders or a binder.
  • EIGHT minutes to review all the notes and handouts that were distributed throughout the day.

This daily review helps the brain process information much faster, dramatically reduces study time for tests, helps students work through their homework faster, and will ensure that assignments get turned in!

Why Does It Work?

This process is very brain-friendly. It caters to the way the brain works on several levels:

  • Reviewing information within 24 hours helps the brain transfer information from short-term to long-term memory.
  • A review allows the brain to make new connections with information, making long-term recall easier. The brain works best when it has time to let new information “simmer” and be processed by the unconscious mind.
  • Students more easily shift into higher levels of thinkingWhen reviewing new information at a different time and/or in a different setting, the brain develops a new perspective on information. This new perspective allows the brain to channel the information at higher levels, moving beyond rote recall.
  • “Take Ten” makes higher level thinking and organization familiar processes for the brain! Habits get hard-coded into the brain; when neuron pathways are used several times, the brain takes note and coats those neuron pathways with a substance called myelin to preserve them. Take Ten is a simple habit to develop. It won’t take long before high-gear learning and organization become permanent for your students.


Susan Kruger, M.Ed. 
Former Struggling Student


QUICK RE-CAP: How to  Motivate Students for Success

 “Take Ten.” Students save hours of homework and study time by taking ten minutes every day to organize their papers and review notes: 2 minutes to clean out their bags and sort papers in their binder, and 8 minutes to review notes from all classes that day.

How to Organize & Motivate Students for Success

Here are two great benefits from one simple strategy!

Sometimes, simplicity is difficult to comprehend. For some reason, we naturally make things more complicated than necessary. Nowhere is that more evident than in school.

We were raised to believe that learning is “hard work” and that being a good student means hours of labor. We have passed that notion on to our students. As a result we often believe that many of our students would “get it” if they just tried harder.

However, the idea that learning has to be to a lot of dreadful labor does a lot of damage.

First, it causes students to associate learning with negative feelings. With our natural curiosity and ability to learn, we should be celebrating opportunities to learn! Instead, we think of learning as painful and boring. This makes us educators feel as if we are fighting a constant uphill battle. Well, we are!

Second, it is a false premise. No one likes to fail. Nearly every student enters school with a natural desire to succeed and feel good about themselves. They start out wanting to try their best. However, when students who struggle are told that they just need to “try harder,” they get confused; they are already trying hard and it isn’t working. They don’t know how to try harder. Eventually they find it easier to stop trying than to face repeated failures and confusion. This is when they get labeled as “lazy” and are made to feel as if there is something inherently wrong with them.

Finally, it destroys students’ quality of life. Students spend 13+ years of their life in school, believing that it all has to be a chore. I believe in the merits of hard work, but “hard work” shouldn’t be synonymous with “misery.” We accept it as normal, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

It would make our jobs a heck of a lot easier if it weren’t that way!

To be honest, I haven’t discovered 90% of my options for simplifying my life. But I do know how to simplify learning, making school less of a chore for my students, and making my job as a teacher quite a bit easier

I “accidentally” discovered study skills in college and they transformed my life! I started out struggling all the way from kindergarten to 12th grade. Once I learned how to learn, I easily earned a 3.9 GPA in college. Since then, I have spent over 20 years studying the brain and the processes for learning. The following is one of many great “shortcuts” I have discovered.


Country music festival coming to Chester County next year


LUDWIG’S CORNER >> A three-day country music festival featuring some of the biggest names in country music will be coming to Chester County next year, organizers announced Thursday.

The Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show Association Wednesday night accepted an offer to host Country Spirit USA, a major country music concert.

The event will be held Aug. 24-Aug. 26, 2018, at Ludwig’s Corner, a 33-acre site at 1325 Pottstown Pike (Route 100) in Glenmoore.

“It’s a done deal, we’re excited we will be bringing a major festival to Chester County,” said Alan Jacoby, executive producer of Impact Entertainment, which also hosts Country Summer, northern California’s biggest country music festival. “The site process took longer than expected but Ludwig’s Corner was one of the top candidates when we first started looking at sites. This is a beautiful destination.”

The country band Old Dominion plays to the crowd at last year’s country music festival.

The country band Old Dominion plays to the crowd at last year’s country music festival. Submitted photo

Jacoby said it’s too early to name the entertainers, adding that talent negotiations are already underway.

“We will have the best big-name headlines in country music,” Jacoby said. “This is driven by talent.”

Jacoby said a one-day ticket to the event will start at $89, with a discounted rate for a three-day pass. He said once the headliners are locked in, tickets will go on sale.

Jacoby said every aspect of the country music festival will be of the highest quality.

“We will have food vendors, and these are the same ones who handle concessions at Bonnaroo and Country Jam,” Jacoby said. “We are bringing in top-notch people all the way around.”

Organizers have worked out details on security, traffic and curfew with West Vincent Township officials.

“I know they don’t have big police department, but we will work with them on supplementing their personnel,” Jacoby said. “Nothing will come out of the township’s budget.”

Susan Hamley, executive director of the Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau, said the concert will be a boon to Chester County.

“This will put us on the map in a bigger way,” she said. “This (concert) will draw a lot of attention to the county, and people can see how beautiful it is, and everything there is to see and do. Then they will come back again and again.”

Organizers began planning the country music event two years ago. Chester County was chosen as an ideal location because of its bucolic setting, and because it is in close proximity to Philadelphia, Baltimore and New York City.

They first pitched it to East Marlborough Township in hopes of bringing it to the Willowdale Fair Grounds, but supervisors rejected it due to security, curfew and traffic concerns. The New Garden Flying Field was also eyed as a potential site, but the FAA rejected the idea because it is a non-aeronautical event. The Brandywine Polo Club in New Garden was also considered, but ultimately New Garden supervisors didn’t have enough time to consider the request.

“Ludwig’s Corner is beautiful, grassy, pristine and a perfect setting for a country music concert,” Jacoby said. “There is plenty of land adjacent to the site. There is room for parking and camping, and it’s close to the Pennsylvania Turnpike with some of the highest concentration of hotels in the county.”

Updated information will be posted on, and on Facebook at A limited number of category exclusive sponsorship options are available for a select group of companies that desire to align their brand with Country Spirit USA. For sponsorship information, contact:


article from

Mantis shrimp brain contains memory and learning centers found only in insects



This mantis shrimp (Gonodactylus smithii) might have a much more elaborate brain than previously thought. That’s the conclusion of the first study to peer into the head of more than 200 crustaceans, including crabs, shrimp, and lobsters. Researchers discovered that the brain of mantis shrimp contains memory and learning centers, called mushroom bodies, which so far have been seen only in insects. The team also found similar structures in close relatives of these sea creatures: cleaner shrimp, pistol shrimp, and hermit crabs. This may not be a coincidence, the researchers say, because mantis shrimp and their brethren are the only crustaceans that hunt over long distances and might have to remember where to get food. But the finding, reported in eLife, is likely to stir debate: Scientists agree that mushroom bodies evolved after the insect lineage split off from the crustacean lineage about 480 million years ago; finding these learning centers in mantis shrimp means that either mushroom bodies are much more ancient than scientists realized and were lost in all crustaceans but mantis shrimp, or that these structures are similar to their counterparts in insects but have evolved independently.





article from

Tips ‘n’ Tricks for successful learning: Learn to Love Learning!

Successful Learning


Study after study has shown that “spaced repetition” is the most effective form of learning. That means, we ought to be helping students to continually review and repeat prior concepts…then add new skills on to the previous skills. This not only helps students to completely master learning concepts, but it also helps them to retain their knowledge long-term. No more “in-one-ear-and-out-the-other” learning!


Best of all, repetition of concepts helps students to build confidence. And it makes learning more meaningful and fun in the process.


When it comes to making repetitive learning fun and fast, few things beat flashcards. Students are never too old or too wise to benefit from flashcards! Adding a picture onto a flashcard provides a “visual memory trigger” that’s almost unforgettable. Not an artist? No problem! Google images has pictures for every imaginable subject. The sillier the better!

1st marking period

The 1st marking period is already drawing to a close….


Are your child’s report card grades not as strong as you had hoped? Don’t wait too long to reach out for help!


The first step in helping your child to be successful this year is to accurately identify their skill levels. We can help parents to identify any underlying skill gaps and create a solution to fill them. This is the best way to answer the question: “WHY is my child struggling in a subject.”


We can also help students who are ahead of their game and challenge them to perform above grade level—in other words, we equip all students to reach their fullest potentials.


We’re primarily a group of highly qualified, certified educators. We use the most highly respected diagnostic skill evaluation in the world to identify a student’s skill levels. Just like a dentist wouldn’t treat your tooth without first doing a diagnostic x-ray, we need a diagnostic skill evaluation to accurately determine if a student has underlying issues or skill gaps. The innovative, adaptive technology in our testing yields results that are independently verified and extremely accurate.


How does our skill evaluation work? We simply email your child a link to take this evaluation online, right in your own home. It couldn’t be easier! We’re offering this test to families in our community at no charge and no obligation whatsoever. It’s an invaluable tool for parents to keep in their back pockets!


We can also offer your child homework help and a personally customized, proven curriculum that’s so effective, we guarantee results!


Call us at 484-467-9608 if you have any questions or concerns.

We’re always here to help!

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Downingtown Fall Fest

Downingtown Fall Fest in Downingtown PA


Anticipating the opening of the Downingtown Fall Fest. A wonderful day to meet new friends!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by!






Even the afternoon heat couldn’t stop this guy from conquering our challenging I.Q. Puzzle.



It was a battle of the brightest at Above Grade Level’s booth at the Downingtown Fall Fest. Competition was in the air!

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