Time Management for Middle School Students
Time management....it can be a challenge for adults, so it's no wonder that students have difficulty!
When middle school students start to find greater demands on their time with (possibly) more classes and more activities, managing everything can get stressful!
And often, the extra activities or responsibilities end up being excuses for not finishing school work.
In my early years of teaching, I didn't always know what to say when my 5th grade students told me they didn't have time to do their homework (other than something like, "You must have had some time between 4:00 and 9:00...").
There were all kinds of reasons for not finishing work
At that time I had one child (she was 2 when I started teaching), so I didn't have the perspective of parents of school-age children - making sure I was getting my kids to their activities, getting all the house-related things done, and also making sure kids were completing their homework.
This made it a little difficult for me to relate to the students' situations, but I tried to help them think about how much time they did have to do their work.
Time for Time Management
Being involved in activities definitely reduces after-school time for schoolwork, but it doesn't mean schoolwork can't get done. Students can learn to manage their time, but they need to be shown how.
There are many of us who, as adults, may not manage our time very well. And if a parent is not great at managing time, how will he or she teach their children to manage theirs? Even when adults are good at managing time, they don't always think to teach their children how to do what they do.
Because parents/guardians might not talk about time management, I've spent many years teaching students (5th and 6th graders) how to find their available work time.
Student Time Management: Create a Week at a Glance
I make these planner-type pages and help students fill in a sample week, so they can see where their available time is.
When they fill in the practices, games, lessons, sibling practices, etc, they can then see what time is left in the day.
If homework is assigned Monday and the student has practice from 5 - 7:00:
One of the fun parts of using the calendar/planner is the color-coding! When I used this for my own planning as our family grew and our children had more commitments, I color-coded according to person (my son was green, oldest daughter orange, youngest purple, I was blue, and husband was red:-).
Student Time Management: No 'Wasted' Time
If students' chunks of time aren't big enough to complete their work, students need to find other ways to get it done.
One of the strategies I share with students is to take backpacks and homework supplies in the car with them.
I also suggest that students try to study while they're driving to an event.
Projects should go on the calendar too, so students can again work backwards to fit in the necessary time to complete them.
The great thing about a week at a glance like this is that students don't have to depend on someone buying them a planner or printing out pages for them. They can write out their own schedule on their own paper and design it any way they'd like. Then they can post in it their room, on the frig, or keep it in a school binder.
As I mentioned, in the early days, I didn't quite know how to respond to students who didn't have time to do their work.
But now, time management is something I teach every year, to help avoid those "I didn't have time because...." statements.
What time management strategies work best for your students (or children)?
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Hey there! I'm Ellie - here to share math fun, best practices, and engaging, challenging, easy-prep activities ideas!