Categories
SMARTS

Estimating Time with Elementary Students

Can a nine-year-old estimate time accurately? Many teachers and parents will tell you no. But reality, as always, is more complicated than that.

Ask elementary students to estimate how long it would take to make a soufflé or read a novel, and their times will probably be off. But what about something they are more familiar with? Can they estimate how long it will take to play their favorite game or tie their shoes? Even with something students are extremely familiar with, they may struggle to estimate a realistic time.

If we want students to be able to estimate accurately, we need to teach them how. This process involves helping them understand the passing of time, but teachers can go one step further by helping students break down the steps of a given task (such as completing homework, cleaning out their desk, or getting ready for school in the morning). When students are able to talk through the steps that go into successfully completing a task, they will have a better sense of what it takes to do the task and how much time they will need.What if students still don’t estimate accurately, and end up taking more time or less time than they estimated? That’s actually a tremendous learning opportunity. Why did they go over? Did they lose focus or procrastinate? Do they need help understanding the topic more completely? If they overestimated, was it because they thought the task was harder than it turned out to be? These questions will help students internalize the knowledge they need to estimate successfully.
In SMARTS, teachers often start out by modeling how to estimate fun and consequence-free activities(How long does it take to tie your shoes? To do ten jumping jacks?). Students are then ready to apply a strategic approach to academic tasks, reflecting on how accurate they were and using that knowledge to plan and prioritize.

SMARTS Elementary, our newest curriculum, has 30 lessons you can use to teach young students strategies for accessing important executive function processes — including planning their time.

Many teachers don’t expect that their elementary students will be able to estimate time, but in the words of one SMARTS Elementary teacher, “My students surprised me! My expectations for what a fifth grader can do have grown.”

To learn more about our new curriculum for elementary students, check out the SMARTS Elementary curriculum overview page and download the free preview lesson “Prioritizing Time.”

Categories
ADHD

Self-Compassion and Managing ADHD

We all have moments when we experience anxiety, doubt, and frustration. Experiencing stressful emotions is hard enough; managing them, especially if you have ADHD, can be even more challenging. One way to ease the stress is to practice self-compassion.While negative thought patterns are not always harmful, they can become self-destructive when we fixate on them and become paralyzed with self-doubt. This can create a toxic cycle of procrastinating to avoid experiences that trigger negative feelings, which can lead to failure that reinforces those feelings.

There are many brain-based strategies for promoting emotional regulation, but one powerful way to break this harmful cycle is to practice self-compassion. How? One way, described in a recent article from ADDitudemag.com, is to talk to yourself as you would to your best friend.

When a friend is in distress, our first instinct is to comfort them with kind words. However, many of us don’t practice positive self-talk when dealing with our own mistakes, so we can’t learn from our mistakes. If you find yourself thinking, “I am a screw up, I always make mistakes!” offer yourself the advice you would give to a friend. Tell yourself something like, “Everyone makes mistakes. This is not the end of the world. This doesn’t mean you’re a bad person.”

Of course, this is easier said than done. To get started, try this simple mindfulness self-compassion strategy. (As you know, we here at SMARTS are all about systematic strategies!)

Set a timer for several minutes (anywhere from five to 15 minutes will do), and follow these instructions:

  1. Start by sitting or lying down in a comfortable posture.
  2. Take a few deep breaths. Gather your attention… focus on the movement of your body with each full breath.
  3. Next, with each inhalation, observe it all… Then consider, “Everyone has moments like this.”
  4. With each exhalation, set an intention: “May I find strength and kindness for myself right now.”
  5. You will get distracted almost immediately. That’s what our mind does. Treat that distraction in the same way — it happens, no need for frustration, come back to take the next breath.
  6. Continue in this way for a few breaths or until your timer goes off. Do you think this self-compassion strategy would be helpful for your students? What other strategies do you use? Let us know in the comments!

Do you think this self-compassion strategy would be helpful for your students? What other strategies do you use? Let us know in the comments!

Categories
SMARTS

Free SMARTS Webinars on YouTube!

During this time of distance learning, executive function learning strategies are more important than ever. We’ve heard from many teachers (and parents and students) that their executive function is on overload! Never fear, our sister site, SMARTS Online, is here with strategies you can use whether via remote learning or in a classroom.
You can now access all of the free executive function webinars on the SMARTS Webinars playlist. These in-depth webinars cover the basics to understanding executive function, specific strategies for organizing and goal setting, as well as how executive function relates to important skills like reading (shown below) and math.

More webinars will be added to this playlist, so check back for new resources in the future!

If you’ve watched these webinars, did you find them useful? Which webinar was your favorite? Let us know the comments!

Categories
Remote Learning SMARTS

Remote Learning – Parent Perspective: A Moment of Gratitude

The challenge of remote learning can take its toll on students, parents, and teachers alike. From confusing directions, mounting frustration, or even a sense of despair, it can be easy to feel hopeless. Change, however, also brings opportunities.
In this installment of SMARTS Online  Real-Life Experiences with Remote Learning, a parent shares some moments of gratitude for unexpected moments of growth that remote learning has offered her daughter.

Because of the low self-esteem that often goes along with learning differences, my child will not always try new things, especially at school where teachers and students are not supportive and do not understand the struggle. In the safety of home, my child tried something new this week! It was just a quick musical project, but was a meaningful little victory. 

Isn’t that great! For this student, like many others, home is a place of safety. Students with learning differences might be anxious at school, nervous to try new things in front of their peers. Learning at home offers more freedom to explore things they might avoid in school. 

Also, after years of trying to get her interested in yoga, which could help her stress level, finally she has become interested. The remote yoga sessions that her school is offering have somehow sparked an interest. Now, she is doing yoga all the time, which may be reducing the stress of today’s various challenges. 

Many students, and their parents, are struggling with the monotony of being stuck at home. Why not try to adopt some new, healthy habits? Yoga, meditation, and arts and crafts are just some of the habits that students might have rejected before but would provide welcome entertainment and relief now that they are stuck inside.

I hope everyone out there is finding moments to smile and even be grateful during this very trying time.

This post is part of SMARTS Online’s Real-Life Experiences with Remote Learning series.