Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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  Workshop 3: Public Policy & the Federal Budget  
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Workshop 3

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Teacher Perspectives: Keeping students on task

Leslie Martin: Probably the most challenging issue [is] keeping students on task, having all members of the group focus on building that budget. They may be distracted by the technology [or other things, e.g.,] last night there was the dance concert. Some of them will get off task from building a budget to solving the issues associated with the budget. One thing that I have done is to ask one group member to be a facilitator. It has worked very well [when] a student says, “Hey, what do you think?” not only getting input from the students but also saying, “Hey, you’re going off, that’s not what we need to do. How does it relate?” Another technique I have used to keep students on task is that I ask each student at the beginning of the group work to jot down [his or her] own notes about what they believe. Sometimes, if they don’t have pencil and paper out in front of them, they rely on the other students and it’s a little bit reactive and that sometimes allows their mind to wonder. If each student takes a minute or two and jots down what they believe is important, then everyone has something to contribute and they look forward to getting to their topic.


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