Saturday, August 9, 2014

       Teaching Urgency
         Three Ways that WORK

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The summer I turned 16, I landed my first job as a motel maid. Midway through the season, the owner popped into the room I was cleaning and told me he was going to have to let me go because I was too slow. I was devastated (and incredibly embarrassed)!!! Fortunately, I was able to talk him into giving me a second chance. Here’s the deal: I wasn't purposely trying to avoid work. I was simply day dreaming and got lost in time. Well, I learned a BIG life lesson that day.J

Getting the Year Going
More than anything else, establishing routines and procedures for managing independent learning is a must do for teachers. According to experts, it is imperative we do two things during the first two weeks:
·       Help students think about themselves as learners
·       Establish the context so our students will thrive

Lastweek, I provided a descending table of learning time and also strongly suggested that before student goal setting take place make sure the kids understand what they have control over. For today, my question is: 

How can we get students to sustain a sense of urgency? Is it even possible? 

In most cases, we can get students to work with a sense of urgency for a day, an hour, and/or an activity. Our goal for our soon-to-be students is for them to be good managers of time and self-starters. A genuine sense of urgency is a highly positive and powerful force. (Kotter, 2012). This behavior is part of growth mindset and can be taught

Maintaining a Sense of Urgency

Here are THREE power-packed ways to make this happen:

Build solid relationships- kids won’t take us seriously if we don’t walk the talk. Share your own struggles with time. Don’t forget to share some of the strategies that have/ have NOT worked for you. DID YOU KNOW our brain remembers only the good and bad experiences that occur each day. Apparently, neutral experiences don’t make it into the memory bank. Make sure you have more positive than negative interactions with your students.
Provide Meaningful and Intentional Feedback-Do not praise the obvious. Praise learning attempts and students' struggle. Use phrases like “I can see you are working hard.”  Praise specifically what you want to see repeated and spell it out for kids so they have a clear understanding. Make sure they know what they did that eventually brought them success or to that particular point (think process). We want to be teaching on a strategic level, i.e., by remembering what I did with this problem, it will will help me go through the same steps with a similar one.
Set and Use Time Limits-If students have a set time to complete a task they stand a better chance of getting it done. If Ernie had told me up front, “You need to spend 30 minutes in each room” I would not have had an opening anecdote!J
You probably already use at least one of these timers. Just in case, I've included three super cool suggestions that will help motivate and encourage students.
iPad Countdown timers are a must in every classroom

As always, thanks for stopping by. I really appreciate your time and I hope you found something you can use.  Wishing you a very Happy Saturday.    

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