Archive for the ‘Schedule’ Category

When you finish X, you may enjoy Y.

As is the case in just about every household I know with kids, no two weekdays look alike. But every day, at some point, I allow my kids to watch one TV show. It is the some point that causes the problem. My first grader, David, has difficulty figuring out when he is going to be allowed his precious TV time. Every day, the minute we walk into the house, whether it is 2 P.M. or 6 P.M., he wants to know “When can I watch TV?” And I can not stand the daily barrage of begging, whining, and pleading that inevitably leads me to say no over and over again.

This is where I instituted the when/then strategy. When all the must do activities are finished, then David can have TV time. Because David’s TV time also depends in part on his siblings’ commitments, I lay out the full schedule for the day for him. “Jenna has gymnastics today, so when we get home from dropping her off, you and Joe need to clean up the playroom, and then yes you can watch a TV show.

Once David has the information for the day, he does not feel insecure about whether TV is going to happen or not. He is no longer constantly checking in with me because he now knows exactly what needs to happen, and I find I am saying yes a lot more often. I am successfully using when/then at other tricky times of the day too. For instance, when you brush your teeth, then we can read a book together and at mealtime when the dinner plates are cleared, then we will serve dessert. Here you can check out part 1 of this series.

Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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tv

Once your child’s initial hurt has subsided a bit, talk about how he got through it so he can cope with it a little better next time. You can ask, “Remember when you felt like this before? What did you do then?” You can also brainstorm together about different ways to avoid repeating the same mistake. This is what I did with my daughter, Jenna. She was in a school play and had forgotten a line. There was an uncomfortable silence and when Jenna had got backstage at the end of the show, she was so upset. Later, we came up with an idea that the audience probably would not even notice a missing line, so it is best to just keep going. She had put this strategy to the test a couple of months later. Jenna was performing in a different show and had some problems with her microphone, but instead of getting flustered, she covered it up beautifully. Making mistakes is part of growing up and how we handle them will help us grow. Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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making-mistakes

Even with the rules of thumbs to follow from our previous posts, there are going to be instances when these approaches will not work. If your child considers these natural consequences to be not a big deal or if allowing them to experience these consequences will hurt someone else. Searching for a logical consequence when you are in a hurry to get somewhere usually will not work. Do not ever search too hard. If the consequence is not glaringly obvious then it is probably not the right strategy anyway. Problem solving, redirecting and family meetings are some good examples of strategies that may work when natural consequences will not. They are just one tool in your discipline toolbox. A hammer is essential to any builder, but he will need many other tools to build a house.

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Reconnecting

 

Most parents have seen an immediate payoff when their child is placed in a slower placed group. The structure and extra support give them a chance to develop their skills. You will also find that they will progress from group to group with more regularity. The challenge is that rearranging a lesson plan for multiple levels requires extra work on the part of the teachers. Most teachers state that all of their prep time is used up planning for these groups. It even take extra time on the weekends to get these groups ready, but the teachers feel that the time is well worth it. The teachers also feel like it has made them a more effective teacher and brings back their motivation. Not everyone is excited about this idea though. Not to mention that grouping students can put extra stress on parents. The parents worry about what the child’s level may suggest about their academic future. The fear is that teachers will reduce their expectations for what a child can achieve. If parents remain patient, most will find that their child will advance to the top groups in a matter of time. The biggest objection has been that the weaker students will not have a chance to learn from the stronger ones. There is also the worry of lowering a child’s self-esteem. When you pull out a kid who may be struggling you risk them losing their spark.

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Groups

If you remember back to our last post, we asked the question, “What is the best way to provide school kids with individual attention?”  The answer is to group them by their ability. While there is no policy written in stone, a majority of teachers divide their classrooms up by reading and math skills. The setup is a happy medium between tracking and teaching the same lesson to every child. Most classes have subgroups only for these two core subjects. For the other subjects the students are taught together. Students who were taught in small groups matched to their reading level made literacy gains that were two months higher per year than kids who were taught using a whole class teaching approach. Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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Groups

 

The newest idea in grade school teaching is to group kids based on ability. It may not sound like it is fair, but many think the approach is working.

It is time for a fourth grade class to work on Language Arts. After a classroom discussion on a book promoting multicultural friendships, the students are assigned to one of five workstations. These groups are organized based on standardized test scores, as well as informal assessments by the teacher and are designed to team up kids working on similar skills. Some scour over novels in the reading nook. Others will use a laptop and headphones to try reading along with a fluent reader. Another group will work on their writing skills.

To keep a teacher from being overwhelmed, the teacher will connect with 3 groups per day, rotating so that every student gets some individual attention. The same technique will be used for math class. The groups are flexible, so a child might be in a slower paced group for decimals and fractions and a faster paced one for multiplication facts, and can switch levels during the school year.

Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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Groups

Vacation is the time to work out the kinks in the daily routine. There were probably many school mornings when there was a frenzied dash to the bus with only a nibble for breakfast, not brushed teeth and trailing shoestrings.

You might prefer to relax the routine just about now, but if some structure to the day is not organized the very first week, you may find yourself like the parent in Phyllis McGinley’s poem Vacation Time:

“Breakfast served from eight till ten,

Lunch from eleven to three.

Dinner is also a staggered affair.

And who does the staggering? Me!”

Hold a family meeting to discuss vacation schedules and rules. Point out the priorities: everyone has responsibilities so everyone can enjoy the summer.

Your child can be responsible for keeping his room clean. There was not time during the year to really show him how and where to take care of his own things. Now is a good time to fully explain your criteria for a clean room and help him master one task at a time. If you teach him to see the whole problem, the messy room and how to identify, separate and deal with the parts on at a time, then by the end of summer, he will not br frustrated and you will not be disappointed when you tell him to clean his room. Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Keep on praising your child.

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Summer Time

Fun Time