No doubt, the most successful secondary teachers create opportunities for students to enhance their academic knowledge and behaviors within the classroom each and every day. When we insert moments of learning outside of content we are building the whole person, a person who will be ready for higher education, a career, and life! If done with intention and deliberate planning, it doesn't take time away from the subject content, but enhances readiness to succeed. Any time a teacher helps build skills that will transfer in other parts of a student's life, achievement increases. But where to start? Think about your content, the processes, procedures, and culture in your classroom and let's take a topic, time management, and apply this reasoning. I think everyone would agree that most students need to be better managers of their time. By putting yourself in the "shoes" of your students, ask the following:
If I were a student in your class, where would I find time management skills being taught within the class/class content? (Go ahead and start thinking . . . ) When I asked this question of the faculty at my school, the answers made my heart warm:
*Use a student planner, syllabus, and daily agenda where teachers model how to use them correctly and consistently.
*Post the calendar due dates on board.
*Use timers, signals, and deadlines so that students begin to think in terms of urgency of task.
*Model chunking of projects so that large tasks do not overwhelm.
* Ask students to reflect on the task at hand and how to tackle it with a step-by-step approach.
*Differentiate by supplying tiered lessons.
* Provide intentional class starters and closures to replicate "the beginning and the end."
* Use transition time between activities as precious moments not to be wasted.
*Communicate/signal/express to students each time management skill moment so that they make connections to the action and the goal (being better time managers).
Alison Thetford, M.Ed