I can focus my mind, body, and heart.
Concentration was a challenge to write as I wanted to teach this Habit of Learning over the domains of mind, body, and heart. But, I am really excited about how Habits of Learning: Concentration turned out! I really hope you enjoy!
If you are just joining us, you might want to start at the beginning:
- Habits of Learning: The Ten Skills Needed For Lifelong Learning
- Habits of Learning: The Grid
- Habits of Learning: Responsibility
- Habits of Learning: Respect
- Habits of Learning: Organization
- Habits of Learning: Time Management
- Habits of Learning: Prioritization
- Habits of Learning: Motivation
In this week’s lesson you will, of course, enjoy games and scripture stories, but this week, I have also added in nature study and some mindfulness work. These are both such powerful Concentration tools!
Sounds pretty great! If you are enjoying your Habits of Learning journey…
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Once you have completed the last six weeks of lessons, you are ready to dive into week five Habits of Learning: Concentration. It is really important to have completed the Prioritization and Time Management lessons before you start on these lessons. Here is all you need to do to get ready for this week:
- Download the lesson plan (link below), print it if desired.
- Bookmark this blog post that includes live links to use for each lesson containing a video.
- Print the Blurry picture and focused picture page.
- Gather three identical cups and a few small candies.
- Have each student bring a small stuffed animal on the first day.
- Print the nature study page.
- Consider obtaining (or using the link) to the book The Listening Walk.
- Print the dealing with distraction cards
- Print copy work pages, if desired.
Now you are ready to go!
Remember to Practice
The general instructions for the Habits of Learning stay the same from week to week. This week (and from here on out) you will want to encourage your children to do the exploration activities from the previous week’s lesson.
This may be a copy sheet, hymn study, or memorization. Maybe they might like to read a book from the list or watch one of the video links. It does not matter which activity they do, what does matter is that they are still thinking about and learning about the previously studied habit.
Furthermore, make sure you are always looking for ways to praise your children as they progress in the previously studied habits. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO DO!
This focus on continual practice and praise will help further development and generalization. It reinforces the idea that we are always working to improve ourselves.
Below are some of the special elements that you might want to read about before completing the Habits of Learning: Concentration lessons.
Nine Simple Ways to Improve your Child’s Concentration
1) Play games that involve concentration. Memory, Simon Says, crosswords, puzzles, sudoku, brainteasers, etc.
2) Play outside. Being outside improves planning, organizing, prioritizing, troubleshooting, and burns off extra energy. It is a brain reset that will allow the student to refocus.
3) Encourage unstructured, make-believe play. Educators and play-therapist agree that when children role-play they are more thoughtful, flexible, and creative. They can think ahead and deal with frustration before it happens.
4) Break large tasks into chunks to avoid getting overwhelmed. Eat the frog first and STING anything that is getting in your way. (see the Habit of Time Prioritization)
5) Practice mindfulness. Simply paying attention to your breathing for a minute will reset the brain and improve focus.
6) Set a timer. It is easier to get really focused if you know when you can take a break. To really improve concentration, pair this tip with number four, breaking things into chunks.
7) Use a fidget. Some people need to fidget, just a little bit, to keep their mind focused. For kinesthetic learners, this is key to concentration.
8) Do one thing at a time. The research is clear: multitasking reduces concentration and diminishes performance.
9) Take a break. Plan in breaks. The mind, body, and heart need time to reset.
Mary and Martha
38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
When Distraction is a Problem: Use a Self-Monitoring System!
A self-monitoring system is an easy-to-use behavioral intervention strategy to help students increase a desired behavior across settings with independence.
Self-monitoring can equip students to assume great responsibility and become a more active part of their own learning.
This is an evidence-based strategy that has shown great outcomes, especially with students who have ADHD, emotional disorders, behavioral disorders, and learning disabilities.
How to set up a Self-Monitoring system?
1) Choose a behavior. Make sure it is clearly defined. Often it is best to talk about or role-play examples and non-examples of the behavior.
2) Create a self-monitoring form. (See the example table in the lesson plan.) Make sure it is simple, lists the target behavior, and reminds the student of the reward.
3) Teach the student how to use the self-monitoring form.
4) Begin the intervention and work towards the reward.
Grow Our Community
We are growing rapidly and we are so pleased with your support. Keep tagging your friends, using our hashtag (#habitsoflearing), and sharing your Habits of Learning journey.
Let’s keep the social media ball rolling and share this program with your friends! Take pictures and videos of your Habits of Learning: Concentration lessons. Post these on Facebook or Instagram. Use the hashtag #habitsoflearning and tag @aoneroomshoolhouse. Follow the Schoolhouse and our hashtag to join other Habits of Learning users!