Tag Archives: class

The Student Planner Challenge (free download at end)

Simple, Free Student Planner | StairStories.com
If you are looking for a revolutionary student planner that will transform every student into a star pupil, this is not it. This is about coping with educational expectations.
Learning in Another Language
I remember feeling overwhelmed on my first day of “Civilizations of Spanish-Speaking Countries” during my junior year in college. I discovered the textbook, lectures, assignments, discussions, and tests would all be in Spanish with no English!
Now I am a teaching assistant working with high school students who learned – or are learning – English as a second language (ESL). Most of them seem even more overwhelmed than I was. Can you imagine trying to navigate high school classes and society when almost everything is in an unfamiliar or uncomfortable language?
The Practice
Personal organization is one tool that can help students take ownership of their work and break it into manageable parts. With that in mind, I made a simple, non-distracting planner and am trying to teach students how to use it.
1. Write the date below each day of the week.
2. When you get an assignment, write it on the day that it is due (not the day you get the assignment).
3. When you do homework, check your planner and start with what is due first.
4. When you complete an assignment, check it off on the planner.
I like this practice because it helps students recognize that the order they receive assignments is not necessarily the order in which they need to be completed. It is easy to check the planner and make sure they have everything ready for the next day. Our long-term goal, of course is to give the students tools to help them be self-sufficient in high school, college, or wherever life takes them.
The Challenge
The ESL teacher assistants have been encouraging the students we work with to try the planner pages. To add motivation, if a student updates and uses the planners for four consecutive weeks, he or she will get a prize.


Get my simple, non-distracting planner. 


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31 Days of Random Questions – Day 18

What’s something you would do more often if you had the time?
I would play the piano more. I am definitely not talented at music or rhythm but my mom believed her father’s philosophy that skill at any of the arts can be taught. I took lessons from an excellent and very patient teacher from ages 11-19, only stopping because piano lessons no longer fit into my class schedule. I still play occasionally but would love to practice more often.

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31 Days of Random Questions – Day 17

What is one thing you hope to change?
I am looking forward to changing my job someday. I am currently an accountant but will finish my M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL). I would love to teach English to college students or adults.

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Lows & Highs: March 27-April 2

Last night at Bible study, I may have forgotten to share my low and high from the past week. I was excited about our topic (motivation) and hearing about others’ weeks, so I’ll excuse myself this time.

Low: On Saturday, I took my car to a nearby car wash. As I turned on the power sprayer, the hose began dripping from the very top of the bay and the gentle breeze kept blowing those copious drips of water and detergent right onto my head. It wasn’t a big deal, I washed it off in the shower when I got home.

High: Test week meant no homework assignments for my online class. (Plus I passed the test, which is always a high.)

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