Just as Doug, the talking dog in Pixar's "Up!", experiences distractions in his life - so do all of us in our daily lives. According to this study completed by ars technica and published in the New York Times, it can take up to 15 minutes to get your mind back on track after you've been distracted. That's a lot of wasted time! My goal for this lesson was to help third graders identify which daily distractions interrupt their school work and how we can be proactive in eliminating them.
I began by reading the hilarious book, This Morning Sam Went to Mars written by Nancy Carlson. This is a fun real aloud that visually grabs students and puts them in the middle of Sam's wild imagination. After struggling to pay attention in life, Sam's dad and doctor help him come up with strategies to work on being more successful each day.
Then the fun began. I brought in Ned. Who is Ned you might ask? Ned is originally from the game, "What's in Ned's Head?" I took this large "head" and filled it with common distractions that occur throughout the school day, such as lawnmowers, friends sharpening a pencil, etc.
(This is Ned)
Students loved seeing me reach into his ears and his nose to pull out the next distraction. As I revealed each card, we discussed whether or not this is a distraction that we create inside our brains or is it a distraction in our environment. We added our decisions to a chart to organized our thinking:
Once the distractions were organized, we talked about what we have control over (ourselves) and what we do not have control over (everything else). Although we don't have control over our environment, there are some strategies we can use to lessen their interruption (ask them to stop, use kelso's choices, switch seats, etc.) We then brainstormed ways to blast these distractors out of our minds and refocus: