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       By Scott Lutostanski

Keeping students on task and working can be a big challenge during this virtual learning period. For middle school students or those younger, it can be even more challenging. And if both parents are working, the students have to be even more independent on their own.

In previous blogs, I’ve emphasized the importance of having a structured calendar and daily plan so students can follow a well-devised schedule. Below, I will outline 3 considerations that can help students get through their day a little more efficiently.

  1. Plan Fun Stuff First- Students have to include breaks in their day. They can’t go from work to work to work. By allowing students to first plan out their fun activities, they are creating natural rewards to look forward to. Perhaps this means that they will have a “fun” activity at 10 and another at 1. This will make those grueling worksheets, videos, or reading a little more bearable. The student is creating their own positive reinforcement.
  2. Timebound- Make sure that everything has a start and stop time. Not only will this make it more likely for students to get started and be on task, but it will create an easier transition at the end of the work. Just like with young children, when they need to be constantly reminded they’re going to take a nap in 5 minutes, 3 minutes, 1 minute, etc, it is the same for adolescents. The more warning they have, the more successful they will be in wrapping up one thing and moving on to the next. Not to mention, start and stop times with activities can help build time-awareness.
  3. Finite Activities Help Us Transition- Timebound tasks help us to have a clear finish line. A lot of times, this will organically exist because the finish line is completing a worksheet or reading a chapter. However, when students are studying or looking over slides, it helps to create clear objectives for a student to complete. This gives students something to strive for and work towards.

Different strategies connect with different students. If students are struggling to get work done at home, these are some areas to explore and consider tweaking. Sometimes it can be the simplest change that results in more productivity and follow through.