Students must learn to organize their time on a long-range and short-range basis. The best tool for long-range planning is a monthly calendar. Start by placing a semester or school year calendar on a wall or bulletin board where it will be convenient and easy to see. Fill in all holidays, vacation days and other special activities on the class calendar, and always refer to it when discussing due dates or announcing a quiz or test. Have students copy this information into the calendars they keep in their notebooks.
While long-range planning organizes the student's time in terms of due dates and broad events, short-range planning is used for the specifics of what has to be done soon. A personal weekly/daily plan book is best. Many adults will admit that without their daily planners their lives would be a mess, so why shouldn't we show students how to use these useful tools? A daily calendar should not be used to list homework assignments; it is a separate tool from the assignment book noted above. An alternative to an actual plan book is to hand out separate daily planning pages or have them printed on the back of each homework assignment page if your school is printing its assignment books.
At the beginning of each week, share the goals for your lessons and announce any quizzes or tests. Have the students take out their calendars when you do this so you can be sure they are noting the information. If you have the opportunity to work individually with students, show them how to leave time for other things, such as sports or family obligations as they plan daily activities. Demonstrate how to set aside some weekend time to study for a test, use the library, or do weekly reviews.
It is often difficult for parents to work with their children to determine when to do homework and other activities that are important to parents (such as chores). A consistent routine and time for homework works better than leaving it up to each day as it comes. A daily after school planning sheet can be used to plan all of the activities that are important to parents and the student. It can be a useful tool when determining if a student will have enough time to join an after-school club or take on the practices required to play on a team sport. To create a planning sheet, divide the afternoon and evening into half-hour segments and make a line to write on for each segment. (Click here for a PDF version.)
Setting a consistent finish time can be as important as establishing a regular time to begin homework. If a homework period is open ended, students may hurry their work. Let them know that if they are done before finish time, they will read or write in a journal until the homework period is over. Setting a finish time encourages them to use the time to complete the work to the best of their ability.
Joan Sedita, M.Ed. is the director of Sedita Learning Strategies in Boxford, Massachusetts, a private consulting and teacher training service. Joan is an experienced educator, nationally recognized speaker and teacher trainer. She has worked for over 30 years in the education field and has presented to thousands of teachers, parents, and related professionals at schools, colleges, clinics, and professional organizations throughout the United States. Joan specializes in developing curriculum, teaching materials, and professional development in the following areas: reading, language arts, writing, study skills, and learning disabilities.
This article is posted on ldworldwide.org by permission from Joan Sedita, www.seditalearning.com.