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teaching to children

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    I volunteer at the middle school to teach a time management class. I love this method because it is tech neutral. I will be teaching this method to the kids along with other information from Julie Morgenstern.

    Does anyone have any tips or experience working on this with kids? I think if they learn this now (6-8th grade) WOW think what they can do. Soon, my own kids will be saying to me -- Mom, my inbox is empty!


    Sue M. from WI

  • #2
    Susie -

    I would try to use as many visuals as possible. Even though you will be teaching a "tween" age level - I think bold visuals are always a good way to go... You might even consider getting a couple of actual metal or plastic "buckets" to represent the "context lists." Take a look in stores like Pacific Sunwear or Hot Topic to get a feel for what they'll resonate with.

    I also wouldn't try to stick to the "orthodox" GTD Labels. It might be like trying to teach teenagers Latin in a Catholic High School (lol) Nice for the historical perspective, but doesn't really help them make the philosophy "their own."

    I might recommend borrowing a bit from Dan Millman ("Way of the Peaceful Warrior"). Millman also wrote a version of the book for children, by the way (Secret of the Peaceful Warrior). His work has an Eastern Philosophical flavor to it. One of his key questions is "Where Are You?" - "Here!" "What Time is It?" - "Now!"

    This might help to teach them the power of the present moment, and that you can only BE in one place at any time. You could then ask them to list all the different "Here's" they have - and voila - they would wind up building their own "context" lists. You could then have them handwrite signs representing each "here" that you would place on each "bucket."

    You might also want to contact Frank Buck (from this board). I believe he is involved in Education professionally.

    Hope this helps!



    • #3
      Youngest appropriate age...

      This has been on my todo list for a while. I'm wondering if the davidco folks have an opinion on the youngest age group to try and teach this too. I guess it all a matter of the individual.

      - Mark


      • #4
        Youngest age...

        You're right, that the youngest age really is individual. When I implemented my HomeGTD, my 6 year old asked so many questions that I got him involved & gave him his own IN basket (an empty box from manila folders that he covered with construction paper he had drawn on- I then protected it w/clear contact paper). Now that school has started, (1st Grade) he puts papers for me into my IN & I return homework & notes to his IN for him to put in his folders or backpack for return to school. He loves this tangible reminder that school is his Job!


        • #5
          Jason Womack, who works with David Allen, used to be a school teacher and would surely have some great ideas on how to present GTD to kids. You might try contacting him directly if he doesn't post here soon.


          • #6
            You know, if I were going to teach this to children (actually, if I were going to teach this to anyone), I would emphasize the importance of realizing the committments that you've made to yourself and to others. The great thing about GTD is that you start to feel really uncomfortable when you've dropped balls and lost committments.


            • #7
              Thanks for the intro!

              Originally posted by Andymeg
              Jason Womack, who works with David Allen, used to be a school teacher and would surely have some great ideas on how to present GTD to kids. You might try contacting him directly if he doesn't post here soon.


              The "youngest" student I taught this to was about 10 years old. Here's the interesting thing...from my point of get this SO MUCH FASTER than adults! I mean it. Simply identifying and writing down the NEXT ACTION is easy for students. The real issue is, are they willing to be honest about what they're thinking/feeling/doing, as far as doing a mind sweep and then writing down the next action.

              The biggest obsticle I faced was that many students knew what they wanted, and knew the next action to get it...but they also "believed" that they were powerless in the execution.

              Whenever I teach this to anyone (and I've worked with people ages 10 - 89), I start with the basics...

              - each thing we think should be different takes our attention
              - deciding a very next action on what we think should be different gets us moving in that direction
              - reviewing ALL the commitments, regardless of context and/or priority, once a week leads to getting more done, and a more complete workflow
              - trusting your intuition on your action choices can only happen when you have ALL the choices out in front of you.

              SO, what does this mean for Junior High students? Create action lists. I would start with:


              Then, coordinate a complete and up-to-date calendar and enter EVERYthing that is date/time specific. (Tests, exams, project due dates, application due dates, ball games, sports practice, music lessons, etc.)

              MODEL a weekly review. Do not skimp on the weekly review. ONE DAY PER WEEK, ask the students to update everything...this will go a long way in them building trust in the system...

              feel free to connect with me directly if you have more specific questions...



              • #8
                I teach the collect and process parts to my 6 and 4 year old. Each night we take our giant in-box (laundry basket) and collect all of their stuff. We then process each item one at a time until the basket is empty. They are so used to this practice that as soon as I say ok girls it's almost bedtime, they grab the laundry basket and get to work.


                • #9
                  teaching children

                  Thanks to Jason and everyone else for the tips. I will keep you all posted over the next 4 weeks of how it is going.


                  • #10
                    I am an elementary school principal. Here are some of the things we have done with our students:
                    1. We issue every student an assignment book at the beginning of the year. Not only do the students use it to write assignments, but teachers will write a note to a parent in it rather than on a loose piece of paper.
                    2. At the beginning of the week, I include as a part of the morning announcements over the intercom events coming up during the week.
                    3. We ask parents to look at the planner every night. Since we do this for every classroom in every grade every year, it's something that has become part of the school culture.
                    4. We encourage the students to empty the bookbag totally when they get home (so things don't sink to the bottom, never to be heard from again). So, I guess we are teaching them to collect in the bookbag, then dump it all out and process at home.
                    5. We encourage the students to decide (along with their parents) on a spot at home where everything that requires Mom or Dad's attention will be put. (We don't use the term "in basket," but that's exactly the concept. When Mom and Dad finish with the material and return it to them, the students take whatever action is needed, and then put it in the bookbag.

                    We have not gone as far as organizing tasks by context. Everything goes on the calendar, but I really think at this age that's the best way. Just as many of us have progressed from the daily to-do list to GtD, I think kids need to go through the same progression. (I have written an article for principals that is pretty much GtD as it relates to the principalship. David has a link to it on the "Press Links" section of the site. It's the very last link.)