Tag Archives: self-management

Top Ten Posts of 2020

Since I actually stayed true to my commitment to blog weekly this year (I only missed a couple of weeks) I thought that I would share out the most popular posts of the year.

10. The Power of Making Thinking Visible Online

Based off from the popular book, this post includes free templates for face-to-face or virtual use of Visible Thinking Routines.

9. When Teachers Choose to Escalate

Too often we blame kids without reflecting on how our approach to a situation has made it worse. This is especially problematic when we teach children of color without reflecting on our internal biases.

8. How PBL Gets All Kids in the Game

An analogy between different kind of students relationship with sports and their relationship with school. PBL is the “game changer” that invites all kids into meaningful learning.

7. The Power of Class Rituals

This might be my personal favorite as it is all about connecting and building culture in the classroom. How have you developed rituals, especially if you are teaching remote?

6. Using PBL Themes for U.S. History

This one is for the history teachers who want to teach thematically, instead of chronologically. Includes a free download of my projects for the year.

5. Why I’ve Been Afraid to be Antiracist

This was the first of the Anti-racist series in which I share a personal story of getting into “good trouble.” The second half of the post was written by my friend Dara Savage, sharing how she dealt with racism that her daughter experienced at school.

4. 5 Social Distancing Group Work Strategies

This post continues to be popular as teachers struggle with remote learning. It is challenging, but here’s some ways that it can be done.

3. 26 Anti-racist PBL Ideas

This was a collaboration of ideas from many friends at PBLWorks. Check out K-12 anti-racist projects across the content areas.

2. 10 SEL Ideas to Launch the Year

Written back in August with Covid in mind, these are great to introduce in January when school starts back up. It’s a great time to renew norms, build culture with some team builders, and reflect on goals.

1. How to Teach Students to Manage themselves

This post was far and away the most popular of the year. Probably due to two downloads: a Google Sheets student scrum board and Group Contract Scenarios. Check them out if you missed them the first time around, they are still free.

Honorable Mention:

The Marriage of SEL and PBL actually comes from 2019, but it was the second most visited post of the year so check out how SEL seamlessly integrates with PBL.

Questions? Interested in SEL and PBL Consulting?  Connect with me at michaelkaechele.com or @mikekaechele onTwitter.

How to Teach Students to Manage Themselves

Scrum Board via Kelly Reseigh

One reason why a large subset of students struggle in school is that they lack organization. These are the kids who do their homework but never turn it in. It is probably “lost” somewhere in their backpack. At the end of the year when these students clean out their lockers, they are full of papers everywhere that may or may not have been graded. Sometimes we forget to have a growth mindset about these kids.

Lack of organization is not a character trait that is permanent. It is a skillset that all students can learn.

In PBL, we use tools from the business world such as scrum boards (also known as kanban boards). They can take on many forms depending on the age of the students and the technology available. The basic format is four columns: To Do, Doing, Need Support, and Done.

Initially, tasks from the Need to Know list are added to the To Do column, assigned to group members, and due dates are negotiated. As students engage in a task, they move it over to the appropriate column to track progress. Scrum boards can be created online in a business tool such as Trello (student template) or on a shared spreadsheet (see below). That way everyone, including the teacher can monitor progress.

Free Download of this Google Sheet Template

For younger students or as a no-tech option, students can use sticky notes on poster paper. Another option is to create a scrum board chart on a bulletin board. No matter which format you choose, scrum boards are a great tool to teach students how to manage both their work and themselves. They give structure to goal setting and help students manage stress by creating a realistic timeline, instead of cramming it all in at the last minute.

Another version from Kent Innovation High

Student roles, group contracts, and scrum boards help students learn how to interact with each other in productive ways and invoke teamwork for successful completion of their goals. Let’s consider how these tools work together. We combine group contracts with scrum boards to make student warnings based off of work completion rather than personality conflicts. Instead of “You are annoying. I can’t stand you so I am giving you a warning,” I teach students that warnings are based off from the scrum board. 

“We’re friends, but you committed to having this task done by today and it isn’t completed. I am sorry, but I am giving you a verbal warning. And just so you know, it is really stressing me out because I care about this project and want to do well.”

The last sentence, where students express the stress and emotion that they are feeling (Self-Awareness) is key. Many times the other student may not care as much about the work personally, but will be motivated by social pressure not to let their teammates down.

Many students are uncomfortable giving a classmate a warning. One strategy I use is sentence stems and roleplaying. Students rehearse how they would handle situations by acting out scenes based on persistent issues in class. This is a safe way for them to practice and feel comfortable using effective communication to share feelings and solve group conflicts.

Free Access to Group Contract Scenarios

I like to use triads where one student takes the role of the challenging behavior and one student is enforcing the contract while the third student observes and gives feedback afterward. Choose three common situations from your class and rotate roles so everyone has a chance to practice using the sentence stems with contracts. Another variation is to have another teacher or two visit your class and the adults role play for students.

This does not have to be focused on behavior. Some colleagues of mine roleplayed how to have a five minute academic discussion so that students could see how to build off from other people’s comments and opinions.

Modeling is just as important for SEL skills as it is for content.

Try launching you class with a daily scrum meetings to teach students to track and assess their progress on their self-selected timeline. The most compelling form of evaluation is self-assessment. When a student honestly and accurately analyzes themselves, it is powerful! They can check in on their group contracts and determine whether or not they are being an effective team member. Scrum boards and contracts enable student growth in goal setting and organization leading to success that builds both their abilities and their confidence.

Questions? Interested in SEL and PBL Consulting?  Connect with me at michaelkaechele.com or @mikekaechele onTwitter.