Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Bravo Amelia Bedelia

A couple of weeks ago Smarty brought home her first book report assignment. The second graders were asked to choose a silly story to read, find 5 objects or draw 5 pictures to represent this book, to write a short explanation of why they chose these objects and then put everything in a decorated lunch bag and return to school on a due date. They were given about 3 weeks to do this project. We brainstormed together, and Smarty said that she wants to do a project on Bravo, Amelia Bedelia (Amazon affiliate link). We went to the library and got the book. Then the progress stopped despite my mild reminders about book report due now 2 weeks from now.

IMG_1695

One night I sat Smarty down and told her that I will show her how I manage complex projects at work. I explained to her that I have a big board at work called a task board, and there are a lot of post-it notes on the board representing tasks. Task can be only in one place on the board – “to do”, “work in progress” (WIP) and “done”. One person is expected to work on one task at a time and complete it before proceeding to the next task. IMG_1572I suggested that we try a similar approach with her book report. She was not thrilled at first and told me that a book report has just one task – to write it. I helped her by writing initial tasks on notes:

  • 1. Pick a book
  • 2. Read a book
  • 3. Decide on objects

The light dawned then, and she reluctantly added more tasks – find objects or make them, write the text about objects, decorate the bag, write her name on it. Once these tasks were on the board, she was able to knock them out mostly independently (she wanted me to help her find a couple of images online and print them), and she was very proud to be able to move items from WIP to “done”. Something that seemed like a big “blob of work” was done in two sittings, about 30 minutes each, and completed way ahead of schedule. Sadly, I forgot to take a picture of her completed book bag, but she had every right to be proud of her work – it was not pulled together in the last minute, and I am hoping that she will apply the same trick to her next project on her own or with minimal help.

Your turn: If you have older learners in the house, how do you help them learn organizational skills? Please share your tricks in the comments.

  • 12 comments:

    Ticia said...

    I was so busy going, "This is a great idea," I almost forgot to comment. Our do/done folders seem to be working fairly well for the kids, but I like the idea of this task board. I could probably use one myself.

    crayonboxchronicles.com said...

    This is fantastic! I love how you broke down the tasks - to do, WIP, and done! Simple, yet effective! Thank you for sharing today!

    Erica MomandKiddo said...

    I'm afraid I have a long way to go when it comes to organizing my kid's tasks!

    Christy Killoran said...

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this!!! I'll definitely try a task board with my kids (I should make one for myself!)in the future!

    Christy Killoran said...

    Oh, and I cracked up at Smarty's line about only one task!!

    maryanne @ mama smiles said...

    I love this approach! We are doing something similar with chores in our home right now, and I will have to keep this in mind for when Emma brings home her first school project.

    Joyful Learner said...

    Great idea! I have a task board myself but it only lists the things I need to do and then I erase them as I complete them.

    K has the binder which I showed you with project ideas, WIP, and completed projects. I like the white board idea better because it's easier to see but the binder helps keep everything organized.

    K has a chores list which she checks off when she remembers to. We also use a wall calendar to keep track of appointments, birthdays, etc.

    Then there's the Bucket Lists. We love making lists in our house. :)

    Anna said...

    Very smart! I know my daughter will be bringing home some big projects in first grade this year. This idea will help both of us!

    Anna said...

    I'll be featuring this on Monday!

    Jackie Higgins said...

    I love how you are giving her ownership over her tasks. I agree with many of the other comments, I could use one of these for my own projects. Thanks for sharing the tip!

    RockerMom a.k.a. Jennifer said...

    What a great idea!

    Tina at Mommynificent.com said...

    You are giving your kid a valuable life skill. Awesome job. Thanks for linking up at Booknificent Thursday

    Tina