Proximity is King

In two ways proximity is king. The first is just being present, around, near, or available. When teachers are near, students usually do better. The second is that solutions are found near the problem. In fact good solutions are only one step in the right direction from the problem.

Today during what we call G.I.F.T. Lunch (Get It Finished Today), seven students were seated around the classroom eating their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and  working.

This space is designed to provide work time for missing homework, but during these first few weeks it’s about solving the simple problems.

The first solution was found after discovering a student needed a planner. Not a hard find, but he was planning to remember his homework this year since he didn’t have a school-provided planner. A quick call home from my cell phone to his mom put in motion the purchase of a planner (which the family could afford). How many weeks might this problem have lingered? Simple solutions.

The second solution was found in a backpack. The female student had purchased a spiral notebook for each class. In talking with her about her missing homework, she explained that her homework list would be with her notes in each subject. I asked her to show me where she would put this information. We then talked about how she would find it later. She was unsure.

I turned to the back of one of her spiral notebooks and asked if we could write her assignment “to-do list” here, in the back of each spiral notebook, and then cross it off as she completed it.

In each case the solution was right next to the problem.