Thursday, October 25, 2007

Managing school the easy way—Part II Break big projects down into little parts.

As adults, we remember fondly the English teacher who assigned the term paper (due 2 months hence), and then said, “I want you to turn in your topic this Friday, and outline the next Friday, a dozen note cards the next Friday...” That teacher knew that left to our own devices, we would put off the seemingly overwhelming task until the last minute and then throw something together. She made us break the big job into manageable parts. What are the big projects for our students? Perhaps making the Accelerated Reader “100 Club,” earning the badge in scouting, or making a sports team are a student’s goals. For each one, there is a very next step. When the little steps are defined and handled, the big projects fall into place.

A student planner is the perfect tool for project planning. Begin by turning to the date the big project is due. Put that due date in the planner. Now start working backwards from that date. Assign a date for each step along the way and write in the appropriate square in the planner. Before you know it, you will have working your way to the beginning of the project and have deadline for taking that first step. As the old saying goes, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Therefore, the second step towards managing school the easy way is to break big projects down into little parts.

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