The move into Junior High requires students to rely more heavily on their executive functioning and planning skills. There is more homework and more deadlines to keep track of. There is a significant shift from recording the work a student did, after the fact, to planning out the work in advance. Every student has short-term, medium-term and long-term projects happening all at once.
Through paper planners, on-line calendars, classroom schedules, blog postings and Google classroom, we try to make sure students and parents have a clear picture of all of the spinning plates they must keep in the air.
We understand that executive functioning is an important life skill that doesn’t come naturally for all students. It’s something they learn and practice all throughout Junior High. One important habit is for students to always look at their planner at least a week at a time. Looking at only what’s due tomorrow does not work.
It’s also important to think about all of the steps that are involved in one assignment. Identifying the steps and spreading them out over several days makes students more successful. For example, a Current Events assignment might seem simple and straightforward. Upon closer examination, however, a student has to do at least five separate steps:
- Find the article
- Read and highlight the article
- Write the summary
- Edit the summary
- Turn in the summary
By planning for these five individual steps, a student can manage the time more successfully.