|by Hugh MacLeod at gapingvoid.com|
She's spunky and funny and VERY creative, but her lack of attention during our 80 minute math period was making me crazy. I was constantly redirecting her: sit up, look at the board, pay attention, come sit right here by me, sit up, keep your head up, be a good group member...
I'm not the only one who sometimes has to spin down into the depths of negativity before I remember how powerful POSITIVE can be, am I?
Yesterday, I took her aside at the end of recess and reminded her how smart she is in math -- how well she had done on her algebra test even though she wasn't always paying her best attention in class. Told her how much better I hoped she would do with our new unit on fractions, decimals and percents, and how I wanted to help her pay attention more.
I broke the 80 minutes into four 20 minute sections. I told her that if I only had to remind her to pay attention once every twenty minutes, just four times in the whole math period, I would give her a piece of candy. She agreed enthusiastically. On a whim, as we walked into the classroom, I offered her a double reward if she could make it through math with NO redirection.
Best. Math period. Ever.
Yes, I know I will have to keep this reward a moving target so that it doesn't lose its effectiveness. And there will be times when she will have to work for a hug, or praise, or a positive email home. But for right now, I am thankful for a small change that can make a big difference.
What's a small change that has made a big difference for you recently? (Yes, Franki, wearing lipstick counts!)