Last week was a bad week. After receiving an angry letter from the library about some admittedly very overdue books, missing the due date of an important assignment in a class I am taking and realizing at 4:50 on Thursday evening that I had forgotten my daughter’s dance class that started at 4:45 I felt as if I might officially be losing my mind! While I do forget things from time to time, I am usually able to manage to keep up with life. What was going on? Luckily, my mom was able to straighten me out. “Do you have a list?” she asked.
I am a notorious list maker. I love the feeling of scratching out finished items as they are completed. I have even been known to write something down on the list I have already completed just to get the immediate gratification of crossing it out. However, things have gotten so busy for me as of late that I didn’t think I had time to make a list. Obviously, I was wrong. I didn’t have time NOT to make a list. After internalizing my mother’s words of wisdom, I sat down and penciled out my first list in a couple of weeks. Instantly, a sense of calm washed over me. The list was (and is) very long, but at least now I knew what I needed to get done. I wasn’t juggling it all upstairs in my very crowded head.
It was during this moment of list-making inner peace that it dawned on me. I should be sharing the power of list-making with my children and the students in my class! I immediately set to work making a cute, kid-friendly to do list template. Check out our YouCan2 store for a free copy.
The next day, during our classroom meeting, I sat down with the kids and shared my bad week: forgotten assignment and all. Then I pulled out my list and showed it to them. I talked about how I was using the list strategy to make sure I remembered what I needed to do. Later, I passed out the new kid-friendly lists. The kids were very willing and eager to give them a try.
Because we are nearing midterms, many students have unfinished work and loose ends to tie up. With this in mind, each student created a list. To facilitate this process I had posted missing work. I also had a new list of a few other things such as a math measurement game, coding on the computer and our poetry partner activity for them to include.
We talked about prioritizing and I admitted my difficultly with this. Sometimes, I shared with them, when I have a moment to work I end up doing the things I want to do instead of the things I need to do. For instance, I made the cute, kid-friendly to do list template for the class instead of paying the garbage bill… tsk tsk. I suggested they put the things they need to do first on the list. Missing work, for example, should come before the measurement game. One student called me to task. He very politely asked if this was something I would be working on! Good for him! My answer was a resounding “Yes!”
The students really loved making and using the lists and the feeling of “in control” that it gave them. They also, like most of us, loved the sense of satisfaction they got when crossing a completed task off of their list. What’s next? Giving this strategy a go with my six year old daughter!
Update: Yesterday, I sat down with my daughter and helped her make her list. Like everyone else, she LOVES THE LIST. As she completed something on the list she would run down the stairs to check it off. Never once did she drag her feet about completing her chores. She was a very happy girl when her list was completed. And… upon completing the list, she asked… “Mom, when can I make another list?” Music to a mom’s ears!