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  • Question for Teachers

    I'm wondering if any teachers have used GTD methods with students--and am looking for specific "success" stories. I'm under contract for a book on student motivation, which is just telling the stories of things teachers do that really work. If you have a story to share, just email me through the board. Thanks in advance! Barb
    Last edited by bcgroup; 05-10-2005, 06:01 PM. Reason: grammatical change

  • #2
    Barb,

    I am an elementary school principal. We have used student planners for several years beginning with 1st grade with great success. We don't really get into the specific concepts that make GtD different from other systems. If we can get students in the habit of using the planner as their central place to capture homework assignments, info on stuff going on in their classroom and throughout the school, and info on their personal appointments, we have done a pretty good job. We also stress to parents that if they only do one thing to help their child, let it be look at the planner. That's going to be the spot the teacher wrote a 2 sentence note to Mom instead of on a scrap of paper that winds up 17 layers down in the bookbag.

    Frank

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    • #3
      teaching kids to use planners

      I know this is not what you are looking for but I had to put my 2cents in as a parent, and advocate for L.D., gifted and L.D.+ gifted, and someone who spent years being a formal student. Some teachers may not realize that kids really need to be taught and coached (and coaxed) into using planners. You can't just given them out. It is helpful to display examples of usefully completed planners. I have also found that once the subjects get departmentalized (middle school) and on, that many teachers do not provide information that is "planner friendly" or "time management friendly". For example, only 2 of 8 teachers has given my 7th grader even a sketchy syllabus, and directions for projects and papers are not given in writing. When a child who is well-trained in time-management starts to ask questions like "You haven't mentioned when the next test will be and what it will cover?", they get booed and hissed by the other students and the teacher may brand them as "anxious".

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      • #4
        school-induced anxiety

        Originally posted by Jamie Elis
        I know this is not what you are looking for but I had to put my 2cents in as a parent, and advocate for L.D., gifted and L.D.+ gifted, and someone who spent years being a formal student. Some teachers may not realize that kids really need to be taught and coached (and coaxed) into using planners. You can't just given them out. It is helpful to display examples of usefully completed planners. I have also found that once the subjects get departmentalized (middle school) and on, that many teachers do not provide information that is "planner friendly" or "time management friendly". For example, only 2 of 8 teachers has given my 7th grader even a sketchy syllabus, and directions for projects and papers are not given in writing. When a child who is well-trained in time-management starts to ask questions like "You haven't mentioned when the next test will be and what it will cover?", they get booed and hissed by the other students and the teacher may brand them as "anxious".

        I couldn't agree more. My middle school son has a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome. To get the help he needs we have an Individualized Education Program (IEP - a legal requirement in the USA school system) IEP for him, and virtually the ONLY thing it contains is the need to communicate IN WRITING what is expected, what is assigned, when it is due, and even when the work will be corrected and handed back.

        The school required all students to purchase a day book, and it was used in a minor way until, oh, late-November, and hasn't been seen since. I am convinced that many kids who don't have IEP's (which is a rather serious thing to have, frankly a bit of a hammer to crack a nut in some cases) could REALLY REALLY benefit from such requirements. I feel that many teachers are simply disorganized and let things slip because there is not the right level of accountability. When there is a teacher who does 'get it', surprise surprise, that teacher is well-respected, seen as special, and liked by the kids!

        These are all things that a well-functioning office or business should do, yet I have only seen our local Montessori elementary school function in this way with processes, expectations, input, output, flow of paperwork all thoroughly documented.

        Perhaps David Allen's company should find a way to work with schools, ie. some tapes or CD's specifically directed at educators.

        Rant over!

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        • #5
          Possible Sources of Problems in Kids' Compliance w/ School GTD

          I've been thinking about GTD for kids. Compliance with planning systems on the part of students AND teachers appears to be an issue in most schools. Parents aren't so great either. Planning is thought of mostly as something special for ADD/LD kids.

          Here's what I've learned:

          In middle and high schools:

          1. The planners used are usually very calendar-oriented, not task and project oriented. See Day-Planner website for what they encourage in a "lesson plan" aimed at middle schoolers.

          2. The planning exercise is built around school homework only. If there were monitoring, any private actions that a student would have incorporated into the process would no longer be private. DA believes in the desirability of incorporating all of one's activities, goals, projects into the process.

          3. It is not clear how planful most of the kids are. I know that they CAN be very planful from direct experience with one of my nieces, who starts making Christmas gifts in the Summer. The other niece provides the counter-example.

          In college:

          1. Some kids don't do well in college (especially going away to college) because of the relative lack of external structure compared to high school. I take this to mean that they don't have good systems/habits for managing, even in a relatively structured environment like college (much more structured than even entry-level white collar jobs).

          There's an interesting book about 2 ADD/LD kids who went to Brown Univ. called "Learning Outside the Lines" that is about their HS and college experiences. The don't have much to say about time management, calendars, lists, etc. They are advocates of projects for stimulating ADD/LD learning.

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          • #6
            Some top tier colleges have found that planning and time management are among the biggest weaknesses their freshman classes have. For the kids who get into the likes of MIT, high school was often too easy: they didn't have to learn to plan in order to manage the load.

            I'm not sure what the solution is. If the person (adult or student) doesn't believe that they need planning tools, the tools become just another meaningless piece of paperwork.

            Katherine

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            • #7
              I think planners and homework assignments etc are great. If I see one big problem with kids schedules today if that they are way too scheduled. If it isn't scheduled they have no idea of what to do and are bored. I remember everyone in the neighborhood going out to ride their bikes, or build a hut or play shot some umplanned baskets.

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              • #8
                Affluent kids have very planned lives

                Affluent kids have their lives planned for them (for the most part). They don't plan their own. I know that it has a lot to do with making sure that their college applications show that they were engaged in all kinds of productive or socializing activities.

                I wonder when kids can and should learn about planning their own activities to get their OWN work done.

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                • #9
                  At our middle school, our kids get agendas at the beginning of the year. It's for recording homework, notes to/from teachers & parents, as well as a hall pass.

                  I agree (and speak from experience) that the kids need to be taught *how* to use them. I always try to spend a day teaching my students how they should be used properly during the first week they get to school. They really receive no formal training in them.

                  We try to encourage students to use them to keep up with their assignments. Each teacher has an assignment board where all things they need are written out. It's an example for them to follow until they (hopefully) start to record their own. They can be a great help for students but the hard part is teaching them the responsibility for following up with their own agendas.

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                  • #10
                    My son is in 2nd grade and his elementary school uses agendas. Our problem is that he doesn't remember to bring the agenda home. We've tried various carrots and sticks to instill this as a habit, but he hasn't improved much. Some of the remedy for this, I'm sure, is more in the province of parenting techniques, but I think part falls in the province of gtd, specifically: How young is too young to instill these sorts of habits? Do any adjustments need to be made according to age or developmental level? In general. how can someone address the meta problems of implementing gtd; the habit of the weekly review being the prime, but not certainly only example.

                    gtd has helped me dramatically. I'm not naturally a well organized person. My son is like me in ways both good and bad. I'd really like to help him improve in this way.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Unregistered
                      gtd has helped me dramatically. I'm not naturally a well organized person. My son is like me in ways both good and bad. I'd really like to help him improve in this way.
                      IMO, children can learn a lot of GTD concepts at a pretty young age, but they learn more from what we do than from what we say. If you verbalize about and demonstrate your own process in an age-appropriate way, your son will absorb it over time. Also, spend time with your son tackling projects together so you can provide some gentle mentoring...e.g. "let's clear out the basement so that you can use it for play...whoa, that looks like a big job...what's the first thing we could do right now? do we need help from anyone else, let's take it one step at a time, let's write down all our ideas about this, etc.". As you know, internalizing GTD ideas is far more important than the tools. Without internalizing the ideas of organization and self-management, tools like agendas really aren't much use - as your son is demonstrating by his disinterest in using them.

                      HTH!

                      Ksenia

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