Sunday, 1 May 2011

Tips for Meeting Deadlines!

Setting your own deadline
Be realistic! Give yourself extra time and try to allow time for someone to help proof read your work before it has to be handed in. If you miss a study session try and integrate it later in the week rather than skip the topic. 
Teacher Tip: Break tasks down into sections: 
MUST: work that must be completed by all.
SHOULD:work that you should complete if you have time.
COULD:  work that you could complete if you have time. 

This takes the pressure off students who work at slower speeds than others in the class. An example of a Y5 planning document to demonstrate this strategy is shown below. Double click on the image to enlarge.

Breaking tasks down
Think of a large task in small chunks rather than approaching it as a whole. It is less overwhelming and you can start at any point rather than getting stuck at the first hurdle.
Teacher Tip: Prioritise tasks for the children - a great tip from Learning Support Teacher at Muritai School New Zealand - Sarah Richardson.

Always have four different coloured highlighter pens to hand. When a child who really struggles to follow instructions has information on a worksheet blocked out with different colours it becomes so much clearer.


PINK means - first

GREEN means - next

YELLOW means - then

BLUE means - last

You can also use post-it notes of the above colours with the words first,next, then and last on them, use them on your white board to identify the steps needed to complete a task.

Give yourself a break
It feels counter productive but you will work much better if you include rest and relaxation into your schedule. Especially during revision times, be sure to get enough sleep.

Organisation Tips!


Nowadays people have calendars on their phones, PC’s and I-pods. Whether you choose to have your diary make sure you only have one for all the important information and then back it up! It’s no use having 3 different diaries all with different information. 

To do lists
It can be easy to forget a task if you are busy. Keep a small note pad on your desk or a list in your diary so nothing gets forgotten. It also gives a real feeling of satisfaction to cross tasks off; and yes the first on the list can be  - ‘make a to do list !’

Plan your time! Schedules are invaluable for revision and more. It is worth designating an hour of each week to plan your schedule properly. It may feel like a waste of time when you are busy but you will make back the time through being well organised later.

If you get into a routine it limits the amount of time you need to think actively about what is happening. Things link to one another more easily if you do them the same way (or in the same order) each time.  

Arriving on time                                                                    
If you have an important meeting, be sure you know how long it will take you to get there. A dry run might be a good idea.                                 

Maximise the Power of Your Brain - Tony Buzan MIND MAPPING

Tips for Planning Writing!

Mind mapping
Is a simple and effective way to visually represent information helping to link ideas. Take a look at this video of Tony Buzan talking about the power of mind mapping. 

Make a plan
It is especially crucial for dyslexics to formulate the order of their thoughts before they start an essay. Though, the style and depth of your plan is up to you.

Teacher Tip: This website has some great graphic organisers to help children plan their writing.

Use headings
This helps organise your thoughts as well as breaking down the work into less intimidating chunks. It is also a useful way to ensure you are answering all elements of the question.

Concentration Tips!

Working to your attention span
Time your attention and work to its limits! Sit down and time yourself reading a book. As soon as your mind starts to wander, stop the stopwatch. This is your baseline concentration span (e.g. 5 mins). When working, work non- stop for your designated time (i.e. 5 mins) then take a break equivalent to less than 25% of your working time (i.e. 1 min) get up and walk around – try and leave your desk. Then go back for another stint. Repeat this three times then give yourself a longer break (equivalent to 50% before starting again. 

Tip for teachers: Give the children a 'brain break' it can be as simple as standing up and stretching or try some of these brain gym exercises:
1.OPPOSITE MARCHING: Stand or sit. Put the right hand across the body to the left knee as you raise it, and then do the same thing for the left hand on the right knee just as if you were marching. 
2.LAZY EIGHTS: With one arm extended in front of you and your thumb pointing upwards trace the shape of a figure eight in the air. The eight should be on its side and as you trace it out in large, slow movements focus your eyes on your thumb. Without moving your head trace three eights in successively larger movements.

Limiting distractions
Check that your work area is free from distractions. It could be as simple as turning your desk to face the wall rather than out into a busy office. Try have only one project on your desk at a time to maintain focus.       
Tip for teachers: Make sure work spaces are clear of clutter and ensure they can see the smart board clearly from their desk or table.                      

More Memory Tips!

Webs of 7
People often try and remember long lists of information but capacity is limited. Researchers have found that individuals are capable of remembering 7 items (plus or minus 2; dyslexics may prefer using 5). For therefore it is better to organise information into chunks of seven. These seven items can have seven subgroups and so on. This compartmentalizes the information into memorisable chunks. 

Some tie a piece of string around their finger, others pin things to the fridge. You just need the trigger to help you to remember something, to prompt your memory for the rest of the information.  


Visualise a place you know well (eg. your kitchen), assign a piece of information to each piece of furniture or appliance. Some people actually put post-its around their kitchen. Then to recall the information take a virtual walk around your kitchen to remember the information.