I am happy to say that focusing on proactive versus reactive language and behavior in my class has helped tremendously. In addition, reiterating our SMART (Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, and Timely) goals allows us to stay committed to our ultimate objectives, both inside and outside of the classroom. And these two habits will take constant work with my students and myself until they become second-nature.
I shared the video of the two buckets and the rocks with my students and had them follow up with a Triad-formation Socratic Seminar (normally reserved for critical reading extensions in our class, but this video had so much transference). It was clear to me that we needed to discuss the specific tasks that we could categorize as large rocks and the others that would be deemed smaller. From sports and academics to “me” time and family, we discussed that concept thoroughly.
We followed that Socratic Seminar with a team-building initiative outside that I call “concentration.” We circled up and I assigned each student a person across the circle, and we started to toss a tennis ball across to that person without talking or dropping the ball. I then introduced a second and third ball to scaffold the task upward. Eventually, the task got too hard to successfully complete in the given time constraint, and students debriefed notions of staying proactive and edifying each other when failure occurs; avoiding the chaos around us to stay focused on our prioritized objectives (who we toss the ball to and why that is more important than watching what others do). It was so great to hear the students realize that that small initiative transferred to things like our “big rocks” in the midst of this chaotic world we all live in, where we are constantly faced with obstacles, interruptions of “small rocks,” and even failure.
Prioritizing my own time and tasks takes lots of work for me, especially at this junction in my life. In addition to this cohort, I’m coaching boys cross country, teaching five preps, involved with the Instructional Leadership Team (as WASC coordinator), and balancing my family time (with my wife and two-year old son). I’ve delegated other responsibilities that I’ve considered to be “small rocks” for the time being, such as sponsoring a couple of extracurricular clubs and coaching a second sport (volleyball). Doing that has urged other people to present new opportunities to me that seem enticing, but the space I’ve created in my life-bucket isn’t free; my bucket was just overloaded with too many rocks.
I look forward to learning and living these habits in the coming weeks, as well as committing my AVID students to doing the same. Tying these mini-lessons into our own reading of Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Covey will also make this a scaffolding activity for my students, and that makes me happy.