Lesson Plan Guide: Habits Worth Forming

By Matt Andrews on July 17, 2014

TITLE: Habits worth forming

GRADE LEVELS: 9-12

CONTENT AREAS: Advisory, Life Skills, Homeroom, English, Social Studies, Math

 

GOALS:

• Students will recognize planning and time management as important keys to school success.

• Students will receive their day planners for the year.

• Students will be encouraged to build planner use into their daily school and out-of-school routines.

• Students will learn about the kinds of items useful to record into their day planners.

• Students will receive an expectation from teacher about periodic Planner Checks to encourage the habit.

OBJECTIVES:

• Students will participate in anticipatory large-group discussion regarding what makes students either successful or unsuccessful in school.

• Students will receive their school-provided day planners.

• Students will learn about useful planner habits to build and record suggestions for the kinds of items to track in their planners.

• Students will familiarize themselves with planner by recording a battery of dates in a brief activity.

• Students will receive an expectation of follow-up by their teacher through a series of Planner Check dates.

STANDARDS ADDRESSED:

This lesson aligns with the following American School Counselor Association Career Development Standards:

• C:A1.7 – Understand the importance of planning

PRIOR KNOWLEDGE:

No specialized prior knowledge is necessary to complete this lesson.

MATERIALS:

• School-provided planner

• Reproducible A, Notes Slide (if desired—may use class board for notes, as well)

LESSON OVERVIEW:

The lesson has three progressive stages:

• Anticipatory informal class discussion (5-10 minutes)

• Large-group planner introduction/instruction (10-12 minutes)

• Planner use activity (10-12 minutes)

 

LESSON PROCEDURE:

Anticipatory informal class discussion (5-10 minutes)

In this stage of the activity, the primary goal is to have students think about the sorts of behaviors/habits associated both with success in school and lack of success in school.

Begin by focusing the class onto yourself as facilitator, and ask students to respond to a very general question like, “What does a student need to do to get good grades in school?” or “What do kids who don’t do well in school do to earn poor grades?” (Write these questions on the board, if desired, and list.)

If students’ answers tend to be more specific in nature (i.e., “Students get bad grades because they don’t do well on tests” or similar), encourage students to answer from a higher level: “Why do they score poorly on those tests?” or “How do they use their time instead of working on required homework assignments?” for example.

Planner introduction/instruction (10-12 minutes)

Use above discussion to segue into this phase of the lesson, explaining the following emphasis points:

• It is a goal of our school to help students build the best habits possible on their way to becoming successful in the classroom, as the habits they form now will likely stay with them well past their school years.

• One skill the school would like to build as a habit within students is more effective time management strategies, as it often translates into increased academic success.

• Toward this end, the school is providing all students with a day planner in hopes that they build it into their daily study routines.

Distribute the planners to students. When all students have a planner, encourage them to flip through and browse. Explain, simply, that it’s a calendar for them to keep track of their various school and non-school commitments—a tool for keeping everything straight, basically.

• OPTIONAL fun tip, according to demeanor/environment of class:

Stress that we’d like this planner to become something they always hold close—like a friend, essentially. With this idea in mind, suggest to students that they consider naming their planners. Though it may seem silly to some, it might be a light, ice-breaking, fun way to build an instant bond between students and their planners. Remind students of the positive psychological effect created by naming something: Doing so gives items an identity, and we’re less likely to neglect something we’ve given a name and identity. (Think of Wilson, the volleyball and companion of Tom Hanks’ character in “Cast Away.”) After all, though it can be very easy to forget your planner in your locker, it’s a lot harder to forget DAVE in your locker!

Have students open to first page of planner and use available blank space to follow along and record a few notes. Project the included Reproducible Notes Slide (or write these items on the board), explaining each and taking questions as necessary.

 

PLANNER INSTRUCTIONS

1. Make your planner a habit

• Follow these rules closely for 7-10 days. After that time, it’ll be automatic.

• If you get into this very positive organizational habit, it’ll be with you for years, maybe forever.

2. What to record—every hour, every day

• Some regular study times (3-6 hours/week) each day over each week

• Assignment due dates (record on actual date in calendar—AS SOON AS YOU HEAR THEM)

• Test dates (AS SOON AS YOU HEAR THEM)

• Dances, parties, other social functions

• Family events/vacations/appointments

• Holidays

• Advisory days, Advisory holidays, and Planner Check days (teacher to provide)

3. Schedule a daily check-in for yourself, a time every day that you will look at your planner and make necessary plans (e.g., things to bring home, work to do before the next day, etc.)

Capping Activity—Crucial Dates (10-12 minutes)

1. Explain that we’re going to get our first practice populating our planners by taking the final 10-12 minutes logging crucial dates for our class period.

Teacher should obtain these dates in advance of the period according to the school’s calendar.

• 4-5 dates over the course of the semester where the planners will be checked*

• Each scheduled advisory or flex period for the entire first semester

• Student-Teacher holidays for first semester

• Student holidays for first semester

• Ending dates for six-week periods

• Report card issue dates

• Fair Days

• Early release days

• Parent Conference days

*

 

Planner checks should be short and informal: ​ Have students open planners to current week, and walk around room to glance at

 

them. Comment on each as necessary, reinforcing exemplary planner use and recognizing negligent use. An option, too, is to offer some kind of incentive for the class if they can achieve certain percentages of quality of use.

2. End class by having all class members record the class key dates or birthdates of their classmates, into their planners. (Also a good exercise for learning one another’s names.) Choose a student (or yourself, if you wish to share) to begin, and have kids go around saying their name (spelling it, if necessary), and their birthdates. All other students should be recording these students’ birthdays into the appropriate places of their planners.

Extension

Lesson can be extended into future Career Development-related ASCA standards, most especially those dealing with the importance of building positive habits and organizational strategies.

Also, planner checks will allow extension of lesson concepts deep into the semester.

ASSESSMENT

Planner checks on teacher-chosen dates. (Grading/credit-for-performance should be based on teacher’s discretion.)

REPRODUCEABLE A: Notes Slide

 

PLANNER INSTRUCTIONS

1. Make your planner a habit

• Follow these rules closely for 7-10 days. After that time, it’ll be automatic.

• If you get into this very positive organizational habit, it’ll be with you for years, maybe forever.

 

2. What to record—every hour, every day

• Some regular study times (3-6 hours/week) each day over each week

• Assignment due dates (record on actual date in calendar—AS SOON AS YOU HEAR THEM)

• Test dates (AS SOON AS YOU HEAR THEM)

• Dances, parties, other social functions

• Family events/vacations/appointments

• Holidays

• Key school days, and Planner Check days (teacher to provide)

 

3. Schedule a daily check-in for yourself: a time every day that you will look at your planner and make necessary plans (e.g., things to bring home, work to do before the next day, etc.)

 

4. Our class’s first Planner Check will be on _________________________.

 


About the Author

Matt Andrews

Matt Andrews

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