Organization plays a vital role in having good study skills . I incorporate study skills through various ways in my school counseling program. I was glad when I came across the book Annie’s Plan. This book helps students take charge of their schoolwork and homework by giving strategies to use at school and home. Annie is a smart girl, but she sometimes is distracted by all the things going on around her at school. I love the examples the author, Jeanne Kraus, uses to show different ways Annie gets off task. I’m sure we’ve all seen students drawing when they should be listening or completing an assignment. How about the student who can’t focus on his or her own work because they are too busy watching what someone else is doing? Of course when Annie gets home, she can’t remember what the homework assignment is. Both her teacher and parents know she is smart enough to do so much better. Therefore, Annie’s plan was born!
Her teacher created a ten step schoolwork plan and a ten step homework plan. The school plan included cleaning her desk, the use of a daily planner and setting daily goals. During my lessons, I discussed with students why each of the items on the lists were important. The students were open to sharing items in which they could improve upon as well. The homework plan included having a scheduled homework time, taking homework breaks when necessary, and preparing for tomorrow. Many students affirmed that they learned at least one new strategy and that they would begin to implement those strategies in order to take charge of their schoolwork and homework.
I gave each student a handout titled “What’s Your System?” from the book Spectacular Guidance Activities for Kids by Diane Senn. This activity tied right in with three of the strategies from the book. The students wrote about their plan for their desk, book bag, and home study area. On the back, they could also write any other strategies from the book they would like to improve upon.
This is a great book! I have used it during a fourth grade lunch bunch as well as classroom guidance with my third grade friends. It can be used for individualized counseling as well for students who, like Annie, are capable but just need a plan in place to keep them on track.
ETA (11-2-13): Last week, I created a new sheet to use with my students. I included specific areas of improvement from Annie’s Plan. My third graders did very well using this sheet and it helped our discussion about the importance of using the book’s strategies for school success. You can download a free copy of the sheet by clicking here: Annie’s Plan Worksheet. You may also click the picture below.
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