Roberta Valentine has taught 5th grade for 20 years. Every year she, like all elementary school teachers, has a few students who can’t concentrate or hold still more than a few moments. An article in The New York Times lists some approaches tried and failed over the years:
… setting a timer for 10 minutes to help children break up their work time into manageable chunks; giving a child a stuffed animal to hold during group discussions (a common strategy for cutting down on fidgeting); and even enlisting other students to help daydreamers stay focused. Still, every year, she felt these efforts were not good enough.
In reading a book by developmental pediatrician Mel Levine, Ms. Valentine encountered the term, “mind trip,” describing children’s flights of fancy.
Ms. Valentine asked six children to describe what they thought about when their minds were wandering, and wrote down everything they said. Then, each child illustrated their sentences. Finally, Ms. Valentine recorded the children saying the sentences.
Together she and the children put the written and spoken sentences onto PowerPoint, along with the illustrations. Each child’s work became a multimedia slide show about his or her daydreaming.
By describing their daydreams, she said, children are “able to figure out not only what went wrong, but what kinds of thoughts and tricks could help them concentrate.”
I imagine this approach would be equally successful (perhaps more so) without PowerPoint, but it is interesting.