Friday Focus

January 29, 2016

Don't Be Benedryl

Please take a moment to read this online article from Time:

We have some fantastic speakers in the building. But, nobody wants to listen to anyone for a solid class period. (Imagine having to listen to me for 70 minutes!) I know we feel like we have so much to say and so little time to say it. However, the research cited in this article states that there is only 10-18 minutes of prime focus. How do we make that time valuable and what do we do with the rest of the time?

Here are a few suggestions:

1. Chunk notes - give a few now, give a few later. You don't have to have a "notes" day to get it all covered. Smaller chunks are more digestible.

2. Transition to different activities throughout the period to "restart the attention clock."

3. Make notes more interactive with discussion or a game.

4. Branch out and try something new that you've seen on one of your "Learning Walks."

We know that learning increases with active engagement. As a classroom teacher, I had to reign myself in when it got close to the testing season. I had so much to tell them, and it's a slippery slope when I started talking at them for the sake of "covering it all." You know what it feels like when you're in that professional development where the sands of time seem to have stopped. We're begging our eyelids to stay open and praying the instructor doesn't see us. PowerPoint notes are not the enemy, but the way we use them may cause symptoms such as drowsiness, inattentiveness, or lethargy. Don't be Benedryl!

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