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Each student struggles in a unique way.
Everyone knows that homework is usually a pain, but often you may not be aware of your student's actual struggle. You have to find out your student's real challenge. Here are some ways your student might be struggling.
How do we solve these problems? Here are some solutions.
1. How to combat paper flow.
Instead of starting with your assignments, start with organization! Yes, start organizing your work first. Find what kind of system would work for you. Experiment. Try 3 ring vs accordion style binders. Do a clean sweep of your room and paper once a week. Organize, organize and organize!
2. How to deal with difficult starts.
Make homework so easy that anyone can do it! Or in adult lingo, lower the barrier of entry. Here are two ideas. One, is to make the first step small. Let them move in baby steps. For example, if the assignment is to write an essay, just have them write the title. And then march along in baby steps. Ask what is the theme of the essay and have the student write it down until he has an outline, instead of a whole essay. This is a good way to write an essay, and then the task is to fill in the details to complete the essay following the outline.
Another idea is to use motivation by love. Ask the student what he loves to do. If he loves to go out and play soccer, ask him to write an essay on soccer; or, if it is a specific assigned topic, try to tie the essay to soccer, if possible. Alternatively, show him articles that people have written about soccer. Ask him what he liked and didn't like about the essay, etc.
3. How do deal with distractions.
Trying to tell fidgety children to stop does not work. Instead, give them some fidget toys. You may ask, why do children fidget? Well, even adults fidget! The reason is that our bodies need to move and not just sit in the chair all day long. Both classrooms and offices are designed to have people sit. To solve the fidgeting problem, give your students breaks so they can play around. If they have to stay still, give them a fidgeting toy!
According this article, children are constantly in an upright position these days. It is rare to find children rolling down hills, climbing trees, and spinning in circles just for fun. Children rarely play outdoors due to parental fears, liability issues, and hectic schedules. In short, children are not nearly moving enough. Many children are walking around with an underdeveloped vestibular (balance) system today--due to restricted movement. In order to develop a strong balance system, children need to move their body in all directions, for hours at a time. Children are going to class with bodies that are less prepared to learn than ever before. With sensory systems not quite working right, they are asked to sit and pay attention. Children naturally start fidgeting in order to get the movement their body so desperately needs and is not getting enough of to “turn their brain on.” What happens when we ask children to stop fidgeting and sit? Their brain goes to “sleep.” Fidgeting is a real problem. It is a strong indicator that children are not getting enough movement throughout the day.
To help the "daydreamer", use a reminder system. Ask her how many reminders does she need? Give at least 3 reminders. Also, experiment with a 'stop time'.
Finally, try the "Pomodoro technique" for both the day dreamer as well as the fidgeter. You may be surprised how well it might work for you.
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