Keeping Students Focused

Posted by Mrs. Orr on 1/13/2010 8:00:00 AM

What does it take to improve concentration?  How do you stay focused?  There are several strategies I use with my students or have been thought to improve focus in studies.  Here are just a few.
 
1.  Take movement breaks BEFORE doing homework.  Sometimes it helps if you expend some energy before taking on your homework tasks for the day.
2.  Listen to music while working.  Listening to wordless music such as classical compositions or "soundscapes" may help drown out background noise and improve concentration.  Having a "white noise machine" or setting a metronome to 60 beats per minute have also proven, in some cases, to improve concentration.  Strategies such as these can minimize auditory distractions. 
3.  Take little "mobility breaks" during your work time.  Here are some ideas...After each assignment: do ten push-ups or sit-ups, run up and back down the stairs twice, do 20 jumping jacks, jump on a mini-trampoline while counting to twenty.  
4.  Set a timer.  Being aware of passing time sometimes can help keep you focused. 
5.  Try to minimize visual distractions.  For example, do not have the television on during homework.  Also, sometimes it helps to work AWAY from any windows or movement in the room.  Some students find it easier to focus when their desk faces a blank wall.
6.  Whenever possible, use bright, natural lighting to limit visual fatigue.
7.  If it's very difficult for you to focus, sometimes it helps to sit and wiggle on a ball chair or an in-seat concentration cushion.
8.  Some studies have shown that the scent of certain essential oils such as tangerine, basil, or rosemary may help improve concentration.
9.  Sometimes, if you're really active, it helps to fidget with something while working.  A "stress ball" in your hand or a moving footrest may actually help you focus. 
10.  Create a way to kinesthetically learn the material.  For example, if you are practicing your multiplication tables, twist your body to form the shape of each of the numbers you are multiplying.  Be creative!
 
Blog your ideas right here!  What keeps you (or your child) focused?  Together, we can help others to improve their concentration. 
 

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