There's a look every child has when they've been busted. That look that tells all. They've messed up. They know it. They know the grownups in their world will be disappointed or unhappy with them, so they try to hide the error of their ways. They look at you and watch you, all the while trying to cover up what it is they do not want you to see. In this particular scenario...it is the messy, overly stuffed desk. If you're a classroom teacher, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. If you're not, imagine a student desk so full and papers, books, scrunchies or legos are stuffed in there among books and folders. There's not an inch of clear real estate in that desk. The child has to unload the entire desk to get out their math notebook. They are constantly scrambling for a pencil and an eraser. Books drop out of the desk unexpectedly startling and disrupting students nearby. The child scoots up really close to the opening of the desk, hoping nothing will fall out, hoping the teacher does not see. But the teacher does see. We always see.
So, what's the big deal about a clean desk? Students can perform well in school with their desks in disarray, can't they?
I agree. They can. The issue is not the messy desk. Rather we should ask, is this child messy or disorganized or both.
You see, messy does not equal disorganized. And...organized does not always equal efficient.
A child can be a very messy individual, but they are able to track assignments, manage responsibilities and meet deadlines. They are organized. Their housekeeping might not be something featured in Home Beautiful, but they have systems in place that work for them. A student can appear very organized. Everything is neatly arranged and tidy, but they are still unable to prioritize the most important tasks over the frivolous and they are easily distracted. Time management is an enigma for this child. Other students seem unable to keep track of things both physically in terms of papers, assignments, belongings, and mentally in terms of forgetting to do things, or keep their attention on one task at a time.
My course, "How to Win at Online School" is designed to help students like these become more effective and efficient learners and manage themselves effectively and efficiently. As a classroom teacher with 25 years of experience (and almost 30 of parenting my own four children who are now very organized, capable adults) I know that organization skills aren't something you are born with. They are taught. Successful students are ones who learn these skills early and apply them consistently.
My goal in offering this course is to provide students with the necessary skills they need to be able to manage themselves independently and successfully in an online learning environment. With strategic lessons and hands on activities, I will walk participants through the value of organizing. We will develop routines and habits that will help students successfully plan and complete assignments on time. We will learn how to plan our workflow, use a calendar effectively, set goals, manage our time, take notes, self-evaluate in order to improve and, most of all, students will be focusing on taking responsibility and being proactive in their learning rather than waiting for someone to tell them what to do. We will address learning styles, practice developing perseverance and a growth mindset. In addition, I will meet with parents separately to set expectations and help provide support.
Each week we will learn new skills that students will be expected to apply with their online learning. They will then report back on their progress during the week. (One example of a homework task from my course is that students attend all class Zoom meetings. Another is that they complete all assignments for the week on time. In order to complete the tasks we will talk about schedules, calendar and developing consistent routines.)
If any of this sounds like something your child could benefit from don't let this opportunity slip away. We are enrolling now for fall classes. Classes are one hour a week for eight weeks. Classes will be held on Monday or Tuesday. The total cost of the course is $200 paid in advance.
Classes begin the week of September 14.
For further questions email me here and we can set up a free consultation where I answer all your questions.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Meet The Tutor
Hi, I'm Cat Crenshaw. I have 23 years experience as a public school educator in Oregon. I've seen many changes in schools, teaching, and academic expectations during these years. I also have a large network of education professionals from all over the world that I draw on as a resource and support for the work I do with parents and students. I provide this blog as a resource to parents and others as we work together to prepare the next generations for the work ahead, whatever form it takes.