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How to Teach Your Students the “Big” Secret to Time Management

What is Something That Requires a Saw to Cut Through, But Can Be Eroded By Water?

We know that your main goal as a teacher is to set up your students for success, both inside and outside of the classroom.

At Be the Change, we are veteran educators who encourage children to intentionally navigate their world in order to learn and grow as students and as people.

That’s where Big Rocks comes in.

Big Rocks is an exercise that teaches time management tools for kids, as well as prioritization, and personal choices.

You may also pick up a nugget or two of gold that you can apply to your own schedule.

Time Management for Kids: Valuable Inside and Outside the Classroom

What valuable resource is finite to everyone, regardless of race, class, or gender? Time.

Teaching your students important time management tools will not only ensure that they hand in more of your assignments on time, but they can apply these skills outside of the classroom, too.

As you know, 21st century skills are ubiquitous topics in schools. It’s more important than ever for students to learn these lifelong skills as they move through our ever-changing world.

Big Rocks is one of many time management tools for kids within our Creative, Resourceful & Whole Experiential Exercises to Build Awareness, Transform Perspectives, and Make Choices curriculum that explores, reinforces, and deepens how kids apply values to their lives. It teaches them self-direction and accountability, which help to shape them into independent, thoughtful human beings.

One way we engage students in this activity is to use riddles, which you probably recognize from the opening. The exercise features several riddles about time in order to encourage them to think critically about how time functions and to sear its importance onto their brain.

The activity involves slowly filling up a jar with several items, starting with the big rocks first, then smaller rocks, pebbles, sand, and finally water—in that order.

After adding each item to the jar, you’ll ask the students if the jar is full. They’ll usually respond by saying “yes” each time. But it’s not!

After you add the last item, you’ll explain to them that if you hadn’t added the big rocks first, the rest of the items wouldn’t fit in the jar.

The big rocks represent the most important tasks in a child’s life; the other items are less, but still important activities that they enjoy.

Teaching students the importance of this sequence is key because it helps them to understand the logic of good time management skills: if you tackle the most important tasks on your schedule first, you can still make time for other activities that are important to you.

(This is especially important for students who have extracurricular activities and those with working parents who have to care for their younger siblings after school, or are left to manage their own homework routine.)

Students are then asked to identify what the “big rocks” in their lives are and how they can prioritize and balance these with those that are fun, but less important.

Download our Big Rocks worksheet to try our time management exercise with your class!

An Offline Hack for Online Learning

time management for kids

Teaching students how to master time management skills is especially important today! Remote learning since the pandemic began has made time management challenging, even for students who mastered these skills in a physical classroom.

Virtual classrooms lack the built-in structures that physical schools provide, such as teacher reminders, bells, routines, etc. COVID-19 ripped away that familiar routine from students, compounding that loss with the constant emotional onslaught of a global pandemic, such as depression, loneliness, anxiety.

As students return to school (many for the first time since March 2020), this activity is a great way to kick start a lesson and discussion around re-teaching and adapting these valuable skills to help your students create structure in their lives that can help them to cope with unforeseen crises and succeed inside and outside of the classroom.

Teaching your students time-management will help them to develop logic, balance responsibilities with fun activities, and apply these skills to every facet of their lives today and down the road to succeed.

Are you ready to transform your students into time-management wizards? Click here to learn more: https://www.bethechangeconsulting.com/product/creative-resourceful-whole-experiential-exercises-to-build-awareness-transform-perspectives-and-make-choices

You can also download our worksheet to try the Big Rocks time management exercise with your class.

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