Sunday, March 9, 2014

Weekly Resource: 18 Minutes and The Daily Five

Recently a few bloggers I read have talked about working on process and forming good habits daily instead of focusing on setting long term goals. Through a series of links I finally happened upon the book 18 minutes by Peter Bregman.  This easy to read book proposes outlining five major areas of focus for each year and then ensuring that your daily tasks support these five areas.  He suggests broad categories like enjoy family and friends.  From there, you would fit in attending your uncle's birthday party as an activity that fulfills that focus. His book talks about how to choose these focus areas wisely.  The idea is to help you think broadly about the direction you are going but do it without setting SMART goals.

Really, the key to this system is the 18 minutes.  He encourages you to take five minutes in the morning to review your focus areas and put the activities of the day in the right categories.  Then every hour he encourages you to set an alarm and take one minute to reflect.  He suggests these questions:

Have you used this hour in keeping with your goals?  
Have you been the kind of person you want to be?  

Honestly, I would add in the habit of aspiration prayers, something I am just beginning to learn about. Then at the end of the day you take another five minutes to review your day and maybe start a list for the next day. Simple idea but could be a great habit to form.  

How does this relate to the Daily Five?  The Daily Five is meant to help school teachers cover the basics of language arts - regardless of the particular curricula they are using.  Instead of focusing on definite goals - a certain number of pages read or words written - it is more about the process of doing activities daily that support literacy and communication.  The five areas are:

Read to Self
Read to Others
Listen to reading
Word Work 
Work on Writing 

Simple, right.  You probably already do these things. However, sometimes it helps to have categories and a structure to work with.  Now, as with most things, a whole industry has grown up around these ideas.  You can take what you will from that.

If you are focusing on developing reading and communication skills the Daily Five might be a useful way to think about it with your children.  It provides a common vocabulary that can be used across curricula and programs so that you and they are thinking about essential skills. You can ask your kids "What type of word work did you do today?" (typically something spelling related but maybe not).  It can also help you include games, random things that happen and life if your state requires a more structured approach to what you are doing at home.

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