“Stationery steps? Do you mean like walking on the spot?” asked Sprite when I suggested that our next step in the process of getting organized would be stationery steps.
“No I mean stationery with an e as in envelope not stationary with an a as in standing still’ I said “You can find out about common mistakes people make in English usage at Common errors in English Usage”
One reason Sprite had problems getting organized in the study area of her life was that she never had the materials she needed for study in the place she needed them – they were at school when she needed them for homework and left at home when she should be handing them in at school.
Imaginational Dabrowski was getting tired of her claiming that the dog had eaten her homework and was sure she should be able to find more original explanations.
The school was making some token moves towards being the Paperless Classroom advocated by Shelly Blake-Plock http://teachpaperless.blogspot.com/ but they still relied on some textbooks and ring binder notebooks.
We implemented advice from Allie Golon http://www.visualspatial.org/Articles/orgskill.pdf about using binders and colour coding for different subjects.
Gathering and storing information ‘in the cloud’ has helped as information can be accessed from anywhere online.
As well as the colour coded ring binders we set Sprite up with online LiveBinders from http://livebinders.com/
Dropbox https://www.dropbox.com/ and Google Docs are useful for storing and accessing documents. Bookmarking sites such as Delicious http://www.delicious.com/ and Diigo http://www.diigo.com/ are also useful.
The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Psalm 37:23
Commit your way to the LORD,Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass. Psalm 37:5
Getting distracted is one of the things preventing Sprite (and me!) from getting organized!
Sprite was supposed to be using the using the new hourglass type egg timer to give herself four minutes to complete a particular homework task but I found her with her alarm clock, a stop watch and the egg timer turning it over and over . She was sitting with first one expression on her face, then another, changing her facial expression each time she turned the egg timer.
“What ARE you doing?” I asked.
“I don’t think I can use the egg timer to do homework because I don’t think it is accurate!” she said. “I’m trying to check whether four minutes on the egg timer is the same as four minutes on the clock and the stopwatch is. And then I have to keep on trying it because I don’t think the sand runs through at the same rate each time. Do you know why I think that?”
“Why do you think that?”
“Well because I wonder whether the grains of sand go through the middle in the same order each time and whether they approach the middle on the same angle and whether they would go faster if they approached on a different angle and if the size of the grains makes any difference in how fast they go (because what if a big one goes first and gets stuck and the others have to jump over it?)
“What experiment could you do to find out?” I asked
“Well I think you would have to film the sand grains under a powerful microscope and analyze the film frame by frame and measure it in microns and millisecs and I don’t think I can really do it with an alarm clock and a stopwatch!”
So I posed Sprite’s question to my friends on Twitter and very speedily received a reply from @ljconrad See http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/25194/
“And why were you putting on a different facial expression each time you turned the egg timer over?”
“Because I don’t think all seconds are the same lengths of time anyway! Time seems to go faster when you are happy and excited and slower when you are unhappy or bored. So I was trying to find out if that made a difference. But then it might not have worked; because even when I was pretending to be bored I really was interested to see whether it made a difference; so I wasn’t really bored and the grains of sand might know!”
Getting Sprite organized (and myself, for that matter) seemed such a huge task that I was not sure what to tackle next!
Lesley Sword’s article Gifted and Vague describes us perfectly! http://giftedservices.com.au/handouts/Gifted%20And%20Vague.doc
It was a great relief to go back to the transcripts of #gtchat at http://www.ingeniosus.net/gtchat-transcripts and find practical advice from parents who had ‘been there- done that’ as well as links to helpful articles from experts around the world
I found great articles on the Davidson Institute for Talent Development website such as Tips for Parents: Executive Functioning at Home and School by Amy Yermish at http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/Articles_id_10523.aspx
Another helpful article was
Help your child get organized
Step 2 in getting Sprite organized was to help her have a more realistic sense of time. She never seemed to be quite sure what day of the week it was or how much time to allow for various activities.
Because she was not sure of which day it was she often forgot to take things to school. She needed to remember to take her guitar on Tuesdays and her P.E. uniform on Thursdays.
So we invested in A Window of Time eco-friendly transparent perpetual monthly calendar for her window http://www.awindowoftime.net/
I also put a whiteboard and cork pin board up for her and as well as her regular alarm clock I gave her an hourglass she could set to keep track of time spent on certain activities.
We discussed finding a balance in the amount of time spent on the various aspects of life and put a laminated Life Balance Wheel on her pin board which she could colour with wipe-off marker pens. There were many to choose from and I found a good example at http://www.avisionofyourown.com/lifewheel.pdf
Step 1 in getting organized was to sort out Sprite’s room.
We started modestly by just clearing a path to her bed!
Taking the protest march signs, the plant and the pogo stick out to the garden and garage helped.
The mobius bagel was well past its eat by date and had to be thrown out and we ate the chocolate as we worked.
Installing a physical bookshelf and an online Shelfari bookshelf from http://www.shelfari.com/ took care of the books, giving a place for the soft toys.
We found the base for the Tower of Hanoi puzzle but the loose jigsaw pieces remained a mystery and were put in the drawer.
We brought in a table for her to use for a homework station and pushed suitcases etc under the bed.
Fly Lady would be proud of us http://www.flylady.net/
Caramel Cat slept through the whole event.