Basim Hanoune November 22, 2020 Math Worksheets
We've all had students like Joey. He's a bright little boy with a winning personality, and so active. For Joey, a classroom is a challenge. He just can't sit still and focus on the task at hand. He tries and tries, yet he can't control his impulses to fidget, fiddle, bounce, and interrupt. He's distracted and distracting. Joey's inability to focus on his own work becomes a problem for every other child in the classroom. And it breaks your heart, because you can see how hard he's trying and how much he wants to do well, to please you and his parents. Joey has been diagnosed with ADHD and he's going to need some extra help to succeed.
Then there's Marla-the social butterfly. She's a chatterbox, such a friendly chatterbox. And when it comes time to focus on her spelling test or her math worksheet, she's still talking about her sleepover at her cousin's house. Marla's charm and devotion to "visiting" can be almost as distracting for her and everyone else as Joey's fidgeting. You tell her to stop but she doesn't really get it-she's just being friendly. You move her from table to table, but whoever Marla is next to is her new best friend.
And then there's Alex, who is repeatedly tempted by his neighbor's work. You hate to call any child a cheater, so let's just say that Alex's eyes tend to wander. Alex doesn't quite believe in his own ability to do well. Maybe someone else has a better answer? He can't seem to resist looking around.
Teachers just like you face these problems every day in their classrooms and, just like you, they're looking for solutions. One answer is a simple, low-tech tool that has for years helped people stay focused on their work - the study carrel. You've used a study carrel yourself at the library and in college, so you know the advantage of this simple three-sided barrier that blocks out visual distractions to help you concentrate.
Library and university carrels are usually pieces of furniture and can cost hundreds of dollars apiece. That's not what you need for your classroom, though. You need something lightweight, portable, easy to use, and that can be stored out of the way when you're not using it. What about a cardboard study carrel?
You have some options here:
You could buy large cardboard sheets and a utility knife, and try to make your own. But it's going to take a long time and perfect measurements to get the right size carrel that won't fall over. And then you have to make another one, and another one.
You could try to re-purpose some old cardboard boxes from the grocery store, but they aren't really big enough, and the printing on the outside could be a problem during standardized testing. And there's the time issue again.
What about going to the office-supply store and buying those science fair boards you saw at that conference last year? Those can be very expensive, and they're just not the right size or shape.
Some teachers tape together manila folders, but these tend to fall down because they're too flimsy. You could laminate them, but that's an added expense, not to mention more time.
Some schools have students set their three-ring binders up to make a mini-barricade during testing. Not a great solution-they're too small, they fall over, and who knows what's written inside them?
The simplest solution is to go to the Internet, type in "cardboard study carrels," and see what comes up. You can find desktop and computer carrels in a wide range of shapes and sizes, made of sturdy cardboard, already trimmed with rounded corners for safety, and perfectly measured folding scores so the carrel will stay upright. Use them for testing, reading, or general "quiet times," then store them in the box they came in. The best part, they're quite inexpensive-some go for as little as a couple of dollars apiece. They work for individual students or testing in large groups.
For kids like Alex, Marla, and Joey, what a huge difference a simple carrel could make to their success in your classroom. As a teacher, you know how much that experience of success now will help them to keep finding success throughout their school careers and beyond.
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