We all have students who have a hard time staying on topic. There are many reasons why kids have trouble with this skill.
1. Attention Issues
2. Poor Impulse Control
2. Fear of Forgetting the Thought
4. Not Understanding the Topic
5. Poor Pragmatic Language Skills
There are also many ideas out there to help students to stay on topic and the goals should always center around the reason for the difficulty. A Thought Box is a simple strategy that may help all students to stop and think about their thought.
A Thought Box is:
- a concept and not literally a box (although it could be)
- a place for students to document thoughts
- a compensatory strategy for topic maintenance
Students are asked to write down or draw the thought instead of blurting out a comment, response, or answer. Next, they need to ask themselves a few questions.
2. Is it the appropriate time to give input or ask questions?
3. Can it or should it wait?
Examples of thought boxes may include:
- a pack of post it notes
- dry erase board
- journal book
It is wise to introduce this skill in a one-on-one or small group setting. The long-term goal is for students to recognize their thoughts and improve topic maintenance skills within the classroom.
Here is a fun activity that would pair nicely with the Thought Box concept: