Overcoming Procrastination

I have a stack of tri-fold boards to grade and I am just stuck on getting them graded. It isn’t that I don’t want to do them, I am frozen in knowing that there are over 30 to grade this weekend and it is going to take hours.

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So, I just avoid the stack and think of a million more things I can do instead of grading them. Things like answering emails or writing a blog post… 🙂 Have you ever been stuck like I am right now? Here is what I am going to do to stop pushing off this task.

  1. Write down what I have to do. Grade boards, enter grades on the grade book website.
  2. Take the first step. Gather up supplies needed. (timer, grading rubrics, a pencil, a marking pen, computer)
  3. Set the timer for 60 minutes and begin grading the first board. This is the only way for me to stay focused on a task like this one that I know is going to take a long time. Other projects require different ways of tacking things. For instance, house cleaning. I clean all of the bathrooms and then I dust and vacuum, and then I sweep and wash the kitchen floor.
  4. Do the next thing. I will grade the next board and the next… Think of your task broken into smaller pieces. I am estimating that I can grade ____ number of boards in an hour. I have no idea how many that will be as some are easier to grade than others, but I do like to make sure I am aware of time so I don’t dawdle over one particular board since I have previously looked at them.

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This is my helper, Oreo, checking to see if I graded correctly.

5. After the timer goes off I will get up and move! Shake the legs, get a drink of water, put in a load of laundry, etc.

6. Get back to the task at hand! Set the timer for another hour and grade more boards. Enter the grades into the grade book. If you cannot devote hours at a time to a task, then break it into 10-15 minute segments of time. You will feel sooo much better once you have started on your task rather than avoiding it.

Things to consider:

  • Putting on some music to help you focus. ( I sometimes listen to instrumental music if a lot of brain power is not required.)
  • Rewarding yourself once the task is completed.
  • Sit back and look at what you have accomplished. If it was a monumental task, take a picture of what you did. No one needs to see the picture but yourself. 🙂 I sometimes do that as a reminder that I DID accomplish more than what I thought I could do to help me conquer the next task.

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After just an hour I only have 12 more boards to grade! Huzzah!

Guess what? I have more than 30 more boards from my other class to grade this week too! Looks like I will be applying this strategy all over again. 🙂

Have a great week of teaching! ~Lisa ~

 

5 Steps to Organizing Homeschool Paperwork

At this point of the year, you probably have completed several weeks of school and if you are not filing papers, there may be a pile of your scholar’s graded work growing taller each week in a corner of the schoolroom. Believe me, I struggle with this myself! This is currently what I have on my desk. It’s a manageable pile right now, but if I don’t clean it up you know what’s going to be happening. It’s going to look like a mountain in a short time.

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Here are the steps I am going to take so that I can organize those papers and get them off my desk (hopefully).

1. Determine a place for each paper. Use binders and triple hole punch the papers. You can add tabs if you wish that would be according to month quarter, or semester. I find it easier to organize by subject, but you can do it however you wish.

2. Determine the number of papers you are going to keep. Do you have too many papers? After you have checked your daughter’s or son’s work, decide which papers highlight the week. If you are doing a portfolio review/assessment, save the papers that show your student is: learning a concept, or is developing knowledge of the content, and/or papers that show mastery. As I stated previously, keeping the papers in one large binder or separate binders with the subjects labeled will help keep things organized. You do not need to keep every single piece of paper. Now, if your student is working in a workbook, use a bin to hold your workbooks or a shelf on which to keep them.

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As you can see from the picture, my bookshelf has some shelves that are taller than others, so I have a mixture of binders and books. The other thing that I am not showing you is that it is located in a clothes closet so that I can hide my binders. My husband and I share a small office space and he is much neater than I am. I try to keep my things from spilling into his space. 🙂

3.  File papers often. Do not wait until you have a pile that is so high that you just pick it all up and throw it in the recycling bin. Although, that is extremely tempting to do, isn’t it?

4. Make filing and organizing a part of your daily routine. If you do this every day then there won’t be a pile! If you do not have time to do it, then have your daughter or son file those papers. You can show her/ him where you would like the papers to be kept and, “Wa!La!” it is finished. Not only is there not a pile of papers, but you are teaching important household and organization tips that will serve them well for a lifetime.

5. Take pictures! If you have lots of artwork or projects, display them for a time and then let your child know that you are going to take a picture so that you always have a record of what they have done. You can create a photo collage at the end of the year that will be memorable.

The Great Outdoors: The Best Classroom Setting

“If a child is to keep his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we love in.” Rachel Carson

Did you know that the more senses you can involve when you are learning something the more likely you are to remember it? For instance: you see a recipe for a meal, yet you have never tried to make it. You can read through the list of ingredients, but it will not help you to know what it tastes like or if it was difficult to make until you actually go through the process yourself. I find that it is much more pleasant and interesting if I can experience things firsthand. The same thing happens to your student.

So, why not apply this concept to learning science, especially life science? There is a certain textbook publisher that studies insects in the winter if you follow their course chapter by chapter. Well, that works well in warmer climates, but not here is the heartland of the United States! The only kinds of bugs that I find moving are either at the zoo or those creepy thousand leggers that I never want to see!

download Yes, this critter! They are actually called house centipede and only have 15 pairs of legs, but they still startle me every time I see one of them. I digress!

Instead of “sticking to the text”, study insects when they are active and your son has the opportunity to observe them in their natural habitat? You can observe ants by taking a piece of banana outside and watch them cart it away to their home. There will be a scout ant (or two) that you can see scurry off to their anthill to announce to the rest of the workers that a treasure has been found and to come and help take it back for all to enjoy. If you have the time, you can watch the process from start to finish, or come back throughout the day. Your daughter can sketch the ants, the anthill, the banana being devoured. She can research the type of ant it is, what each ant’s job is in the hill, etc.  Magic School Bus Gets Ants in Its Pants video that is all about ants. You can either purchase the video or watch it HERE. You can also have your son read the book as a follow up to what you have observed.

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Fall foliage is a fabulous way of seeing the process of seasonal change. How about going for a walk and collecting different leaves? You can take a leaf identification book with you or bring them home and press the leaves between two pieces of wax paper and a stack of books. imom.com has a FREE leaf identification game to take with you.

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Have a great time enjoying and learning!  ~Lisa~

 

 

I’m Bored! 25 Activities for Kids

My mom would never let us utter the words, “I am bored!” If we did, we knew there was a chore waiting for us. Because it was so ingrained in me not to use those words, I did not like my children saying them either. lol

I had a list of things they could do if they could not think of an activity to occupy their time. When they were younger the electronics choice was limited to 30 minutes and only once per day. Between the ages of 13-15 they were allowed to be on the computer for 60 minutes and then for two hours when they were 16 and older. Internet parental control software was worth every penny as I did not have to police the time they spent on it. Here is the download, I’m Bored Activities.

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Apples! Activities for Your School Day

Did you know there are 2,500 varieties of apples are grown in the United States? 7,500 varieties of apples are grown throughout the world? 100 varieties of apples are grown commercially in the United States?* I didn’t either, but that explains why when I go to the store there is another type of apple I haven’t heard of that is available for me to try. Since September will be scurrying away so quickly and apples will soon be past picking, why not take advantage of the varieties that are available and teach an Interest Unit? If you live in Ohio, you can count this for your study of Ohio history. 🙂

Make Applesauce 

Most children love applesauce and it’s such an easy project that your children can help you make it. Start it in your crockpot in the morning and enjoy in the afternoon as a snack.

Materials needed:

8-10 apples- peeled, cored, and cubed

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup brown sugar (If you buy a sweet variety, you don’t even need this!)

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional- add to the apples or wait until after it has cooked)

One large crockpot

Place all ingredients in the crockpot and turn on high. Allow apples to cook for 4-5 hours. Depending upon how chunky you want your applesauce to be, you can either take a wooden spoon or potato masher and break up the cooked apples into smaller pieces, or place in a blender and process until you have the desired consistency. Doesn’t this look good?

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As the delicious smell of applesauce fills your house you can do some apple inspired school activities.

Free Apple Math Pack has a variety of preschool activities in a sampler. If you like, you can purchase the entire packet.

Thanks to John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed, apple orchards were begun across the midwest and were valuable to families who were traveling west during the westward expansion.

Here are some stories of his life to read. With older students, you can pick out the information that is true and that which is fabricated. Create tall tales about Johnny Appleseed.

Johnny Appleseed

Here are some comprehension questions for the story.

What was Johnny Appleseed’s name?

When did he live?

What was his purpose in growing apple trees?  Do you think this was a good idea? Explain why you think it was or was not a good idea.

Write one detail from your reading that is not true.

Why did people make up details about him that were not true?

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A documentary for children to watch about the life of Johnny Appleseed would be great for children to take notes. The Story of Liberty

Watch the Disney version of Johnny Appleseed

Compare and contrast the two videos. You could use a T-Chart or a Venn Diagram (Boy! it was hard to find a printable of this, but I found one. yay!)

Have a great day!  ~Lisa~

* (urbanext.illinois.edu/apples/facts.cfm)