COUNTDOWN TO SCHOOL KICKOFF

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Retail & wholesale advertising suggests the new school year kickoff is just days away with limited time remaining to make those last minute purchases of backpacks, binders, pens, pencils and all the various fresh new supplies. I know as child I loved the look and smell of those neatly arranged colorful crayons in my very own Crayola box. A new first day of school outfit always got my children excited for their first day on which they woke early and dressed without nagging, slipped their well stocked heavy backpacks on without complaint and traipsed happily off to the school bus in their spanking new sneakers.

By the end of the first week, enthusiasm began to diminish exponentially in the weeks that followed. The alarm rang too early, the backpacks were too heavy, the lunches “sucked” and the bus ride made them nauseous.

I believe one root to the declining attitude is routine, what kids often refer to as BORING.  7 AM alarm, bus, school, home, snack, homework, dinner, showers, bed. All to begin again the next day. So what can we parents and educators do as partners to keep the enthusiasm alive?While every day cannot be the first with all the fresh new supplies and the excitement of new teachers, we can try to help prevent the boredom associated with routine.

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Here are my 5 tips to happy school days.

  1. Set Goals. Ask your children to set 3 goals for themselves (one academic, one social and one athletic) to be achieved in the first quarter of the year (approx. 10 weeks). Mark the date of the end of the first quarter on your calendar, so they can see the end in site. These goals need to be realistic but challenging. While working toward straight A’s may be unrealistic, improving grades from the previous year in just one subject may be quite doable. Just as joining a social club may not fit every personality, finding one new friend may be just right for another. And while everyone is not athletically gifted, everyone can add one form of physical exercise to their daily activities. Think about these goals with your children and how each one might be achieved. Have them write these goals down, seal them in an envelope and tape the envelope to the inside of the their binders as a reminder. At the end of the quarter open that envelope. See how well they did and set new goals for the next quarter.
  2. Refresh supplies & save work.
    Every week or two, clean out those backpacks stuffed with loose papers, gum wrappers and broken pencils. Discard the unnecessary clutter. Replace those once beautiful crayons with a fresh box and those pencil stubs with new ones. Give your child a fresh clean folder to save favorite work and a special place to keep it.
  3. Change up the morning routine. At home try breakfast in bed, or special breakfast 4ibogkpbtday, a surprise sleep in a bit longer day and drive the kids to school. At school plan special days: pajama day, dress as book character day, inside out day, riddle days with solutions revealed at lunchtime.
  4. Change up the after school routine. Think about after school special treats: ice cream, bowling, skating, library visit, movies, etc. Make it a surprise or something to look forward to. Whatever will keep your child excited.
  5. Reward! Discuss what’s being done to help achieve those goals. Reward even the smallest steps forward. Reminder: There is nothing children want more than to please their parents and to be loved unconditionally. Recognize the challenge of achieving their goals and show them your pride in their efforts.

The Value of Challenge

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It has become increasing apparent that selective admission to high schools is a sophisticated method of segregation. Students in low income neighborhoods and whose parents are non-native English speakers struggle to gain admission to highly rated schools and are often forced to settle for neighborhood schools, where they are left unmotivated, in environments where safety is more important than education.

Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) classes are most often offered in the best schools to the highest achievers with the most ambitious parents and to those who can afford the test fees and tutorial support if needed. Results have shown these students to continue on a successful academic path, rising above the average, better prepared for the college experience.

However, in a recent study reported by Jay Matthews of the Washington Post, he found that all students regardless of economic background, when given the opportunity to be challenged by AP and IB classes actually have thrived in these challenging learning environments, and they were found to be far more likely to succeed in college.

The IDEA Public Schools in Texas “with over 30,000 mostly low-income students” have found success in requiring all students to take AP classes. Along with other similar programs across the nation, under achieving students of low income families have proven to be successful in raising the bar for achievement and college success. It is true these students must be nurtured into these programs just as we nurture learning from infancy. One cannot walk before crawling or read without language. But these students participating in supportive and gradually challenging environments have been found to thrive in the AP and IB programs.

This great news should be spread across the nation to all parents, educators and governments whose funding is necessary to make these opportunities available to all students regardless of ability to pay. But as often found with good news, there comes a glitch. Matthews reports that last year Congress severely cut funds directed for low-income students.

So I return you to my previous blog (Grooming for the Future) and encourage educators and government leaders to be a part of this successful grooming process. We cannot settle for mediocrity or even less simply because of economic status. Join me in speaking out, reminding our elected officials, school boards, PTA’s, school principals and teachers that studies continue to prove challenged students far exceed their environmental expectations. The gift of education is essential to our children and we must work together to challenge all of our children to succeed, reach for new goals, and not settle for mediocrity or even less.

SMART KID, CAN’T READ

Below is a guest post written by Lorna Kaufman, PhD, is a developmental psychologist in the Greater Boston area. She is the co-auhor of Author of Smart Kid, Can’t Read – 5 Steps any parent can take to help

How Do I Know If My Child Is A Struggling Reader?

Jackson’s mother was worried. Jackson was nearing the end of the 2nd grade but he didn’t seem to be catching on to reading. He loved math and was a really good soccer player but he hated to read – he said it was “boring”. His 2nd grade teacher said not to worry; he was very smart and would learn when he was ready. Besides, boys were often slower than girls when it came to reading.

It is very common for parents to be confused about whether their child is struggling to learn to read when they are in kindergarten, 1st grade, and 2nd grade. They see their child struggling but the teacher advises that he will be fine. What should you do?

There are several steps that parents can take to determine whether their concerns are justified:

  1. Monitor your child’s work that he brings home from school. You can learn a lot about the reading instruction by going over these papers with your child. Ask him to read the papers or stories out loud for you. Jackson was very resistant and did not like to read out loud; this attempt often ended in a tantrum. Children should be able to read the work they bring home from school since it generally represents what they have been working on in class. If your child does not bring papers home ask the teacher to show you his work.
  2. Speak with the teacher. Ask questions about what reading group he is in. If there are no reading groups, ask how his reading level compares with that of the other children in the class. Jackson’s teacher did not have reading groups but admitted that he was in the lower half of the class in reading skills, although there were other children who were having more trouble than he was having.
  3. Go to the library and ask the librarian for grade level books on a topic that interests your child. Librarians can be very helpful in guiding you to such books. See if your child can read the book out loud with you.
  4. Read the National Academy of Sciences guidelines for what every child should know in reading at the end of kindergarten, first grade, second grade, and third grade. These guidelines were written by a panel of reading experts and define the reading skills that should be mastered at the end of those early years of school as children are learning to read. You can find a summary of those guidelines on our website: SmartKidCantRead.com.
  5. Administer the tests that have been designed for parents to give to their children at the end of kindergarten, first grade, second grade, and third grade. This will give you a good idea of whether your concerns are justified and whether you need to take the next step and have your child evaluated. You can find these tests on our website along with videos that show you how to administer the tests: SmartKidCantRead.com. When Jackson’s mother administered the Grade 2 test to him, it became clear to her that he did not have the skills expected of a child at the end of the 2nd grade. He missed nearly half of the words on the word list and had significant trouble reading the first passage.

Jackson’s mother had her answer. It was clear that he was struggling and falling behind his grade level peers. She decided that she needed to seek help for Jackson.

This article is posted with the permission of  Dr. Kaufman, Phd.

  • President of the New England Branch of the International Dyslexia Association, President of the Massachusetts Council for Learning Disabilities,
  • Member of the Board of Directors of the International Dyslexia Association, Chairman of the New England Joint Conference on Learning Disabilities, and Member of the Governor’s Special Education Advisory Group for Massachusetts.
  • Professor at in the Graduate Language and Literacy Program at Simmons College in Boston and in the School of Education at Wheelock College.
  • Psychologist in Boston Children’s Hospital, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, and the Learning Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
  • Author of several articles regarding family and reading challenges

JAKE PULLMAN & THE MAGICAL TIMER

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With an organization plan set in place, and time management under control, Jake and I embark on my third and final element to success – focus time.

By now I have learned that reading is most fatiguing for Jake. And because it is slow and arduous, his attention drifts easily. While his parents are complaining of the number of hours spent on homework, I can see the number of hours lost fruitlessly staring at pages while his thoughts are somewhere else. What we need is a new plan, something I never run short of.

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Today when Jake I met I suggested we begin by reviewing the night’s reading assignment, quickly scanning the first 20 pages of Gary Paulsen’s novel Hatchet. Then while setting my stop watch, I asked Jake to read only until he felt his attention drift. After ten minutes, I saw his eyes lift from the book and follow a squirrel running through the yard.

“Stop,” I told him and slipped the book from his hands. When I saw he had read only seven pages, I knew there was room for improvement, but I was pleased, when checking, to find his comprehension was good.

“Okay, this is great,” I told him, but his raised eye brows spoke doubt of my encouragement. “No really, it’s really good. You can finish this assignment in only 20 more minutes if we break it up into two more reading segments. In between, you can have a snack, shoot some baskets, or play an active game, just no video games or texting.”

He welcomed the plan, but added, “My parents will never buy this.” They like many parents, want him sit until all his work is done.

I understood this concept. I was raised on it and have heard the same complaint from too many of my students. But if I could show the Pullmans that Jake would be done with his work at a reasonable hour following this plan, I was hopeful they’d buy into it as so many other parents have.

There’s something magical about working with a timer. It helps keep students focused and even when they drift, it’s only to check the timer, which with it’s diminishing count down, always reinforces the return to the task. With Jake it was no different. He was able to complete the reading with relative ease and maybe even some enjoyment.

As we continue to work together in the next few weeks, we’ll begin to adjust the timer upward until Jake reaches an age appropriate attention level. Because I like to encourage student decision making, in the future I ‘ll always ask Jake to decide the number of reading segments and number of minutes to set on the timer.  I’ve found the the beauty of this method is students like to challenge themselves increasing their focus time  without much if any encouragement from me. Here’s hoping Jake follows the pattern.

 

Note: All characters are fictitious and resemblance to anyone is purely coincidental. 

The Jake Pullman Story Continues

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CHAPTER 6

EXCUSES

Before returning to Jake, I checked in with his teachers for a progress update. I was pleased to hear that he was still excelling in PE, and with the help of his math teacher, all back assignments had been completed. He was up to date. The science teacher confirmed the research project was underway with class time spent in the library, but she wasn’t sure how much work Jake had completed, and a 1-2 page typed biography of his scientist was due at the end of the week.

In language arts Jake was behind. The class was reading The Giver, but he apparently he was not. As a result he failed 2 comprehension quizzes, and more than likely was unprepared to write the essay also due at the end of the week.

I had my work assignment mapped out when I rang the bell again. And I was thinking about it when I rang again. And again. Grrr, I grumbled shuffling the load of supplies I carried to one arm and reaching for my cell phone with my free hand. I punched in his number. No answer. But by the fourth ring, when I saw him pass through the basement doorway, I sensed our honeymoon period had passed.

While we followed our same path back to the kitchen table, Jake dragged his backpack and droned on with assurances that his homework was done. I didn’t respond. Instead I pulled out four stackable plastic files from a large plastic bag and asked him to label each one, one with his name and the others with each of his brother’s names. We organized the loose papers on the table into the files and stashed the junk mail in a separate round basket I pulled from my supply bag. Jake actually liked the organization and vowed to introduce the new file system to the family.

Next, it was time to check the homework folder. I had to bite my tongue as he rambled defensively. “I did my math at school, and for the science project the teacher is giving us time to work in the library, so I left the packet in my locker…”

Finally, my piercing stare, my silent reprimand, caught his eye and the chatter ceased, for the moment at least. He suddenly remembered the science packet in his backpack, and happily it appear while he explained, “….because the bell rang and I couldn’t find my folder, so….”

“Stop, Jake. What’s my mantra?” Sadly he looked puzzled, and I had to hint with the first syllable, “Org…”

Organization is the key to success,” he shouted over me.

“Right. I know it’s hard to break old habits, and it takes time to build new ones, but no more excuses. Just admit you didn’t do it, and do better next time. I knew admission of wrong doing was challenging for Jake, and he wasn’t quite ready to go that far. But he looked surprised, relieved by my calm response when he hadn’t performed as expected. I’m guessing a history of scolding may have led to the litany of creative excuses his father refers to as lies.

I was pleased to see the research progress was in pretty good shape, illegible to me, but he was able to read his notes. He knew nothing about the 1-2 page biography due at the end of the week. And he had already given up on the language arts reading assignment. Of course, I had not.

An assignment book would be just another parcel to misplace or forget, but he needed something reliable on which to record and check assignments. So together we created an assignment page and taped it to the front of the homework folder. He was to record all assignments and their due dates, even no homework was to be marked with a NO HW. I made a mental note to inform his teachers and solicit their help in building this good habit.

The reading, he told me, was a problem. He didn’t have the book. “…lent it to a friend who forgot to bring it back….” And before I realized Jake had pulled out his cell phone, not to call the friend, but his mom to have her pick up a copy of the book from the library on her way home from work.

“Whoa, stop, no, this isn’t her responsibility, and actually I have a copy of the book for you right here.” I pulled out the last item from the depth of the plastic bag, and held the book in the air. He hung up the phone.

TIME MANAGEMENT
We divided the number of pages he had to read (112) by the number of days (3) he had to complete the assignment, leaving one extra day for writing the essay. We marked each day’s reading (27 pages) right in the book with a post-it note, and I saw Jake visibly relaxed. The overwhelming total number of pages no longer looked so daunting. The book was to remain in the pocket of his homework folder so he’d have it for class, his free study period and to bring back home again.

After marking the assignments on the month-at-a-glance calendar, Jake stood back on smiled. “Yeah, I can do this,” he said. And I knew he could.

Enough about school, time to head upstairs to our hard labor.

A few pairs of dirty basketball shorts lay on the bedroom floor, but for the most part his room looked the same, ready for the next phase. We temporarily stashed the box with the “elsewhere” items in his closet where Jake thought they’d be well hidden, and attacked the box holding items for his room only. One by one we pulled out shoes, clothes, books, sports equipment and separated them in piles. Dirty clothes went to the wash, books on the shelf, shoes and sports equipment to the shelves in the closet. When Jake seemed to have the process down, I suggested he finish the task on his own before my next visit.

I couldn’t leave with the unfavorably scented “elsewhere” items still in the closet. The box mostly contained dirty dishes, silverware and cereal and snack boxes. I knew he’d had enough, but pushed him to drag the box down to the kitchen, where I loaded the dishwasher and closed the open food packages, and he returned them to the pantry. Finally the box went to the trash. Jake felt good, proud, excited to share his new room with his mom. And I was pretty confident she’d respond with the right reward, a smile and praise. Maybe even help to maintain order.

We reviewed his responsibilities while I noted mine, and parted once again, each of us feeling relaxed and accomplished.

THE CONTINUING JAKE PULLMAN STORY

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Chapter 5

Today after two chimes of the doorbell, I watched through the front door glass panel as Jake raced down the stairs and slid across the polished wood floor to let me in. Probably finishing that cleaning he was to have completed before my arrival today. But glad he didn’t want to disappoint me, I kept my thoughts to myself and mirrored back his smile.

We settled ourselves back at the kitchen table where the same old papers remained and a few more had been added to the neglected stack. Jake answered my routine questions with the usual fine, good, yeah. Basketball game tonight, homework was already done and his new homework folder was working well.

Familiar with the old adage, When something sounds too good to be true, it probably is, my invisible antenna raised. “So let’s have a look.”

A few tattered papers peeked out the top of the green folder Jake pulled from his binder. Stuffed in the To Do side was a large packet with the details for a new long term science project. The Finished side held three math worksheets, one finished, two untouched. I chose to start with the science project, which Jake claimed to have received without any instructions. “The teacher just gave it out and said she’d explain it later, but there was a fire drill and when we got back to the class, we had to go to lunch.”

Hmm, really. For warned of Jake’s challenge with forthrightness, I thought we might be playing Truth or Lie, but if so, I credited his creativity and put my doubts aside.

Knowing long term projects with pages of instructions can be overwhelming to students, I wanted to ameliorate any angst by scanning the packet, looking for key elements and breaking it down into small doable sections with intermediary self-imposed due dates – thus introducing the second element necessary for success – Time Management. While Jake found this to be most unnecessary, his resistance was no match against my insistence.

The directions read, each student was to pick a scientist from a list provided, research their biography and at least one major accomplishment. They were to share the results of their research with the class through a PowerPoint or personal interview with the scientist. Presentations were to begin in three weeks.

We ran down the list of scientist’s names and Jake marked his first, second and third choices in preparation for class the next day. Then we moved over to the month-at-a-glance calendar and marked the project due date. We agreed to divide the time for research in two parts, biography and accomplishment – leaving one week for each phase. We added those dates to the calendar. This left Jake one more week to work on the presentation, which he had already decided would be a PowerPoint. He was quite confident the plan left him “more than enough time” to complete the project, while managing daily homework, test preparation and basketball commitment. I had some reservations, but hoped with all my heart he could do it.

Back to the table and the two math worksheets. Truly a master of creative excuses, I stopped Jake 30 seconds into the continuing fire drill saga and suggested he get out a pencil and see how much he could complete before my timer rang in 20 minutes.

I was impressed by his ability to stay focused and let him work an additional 10 minutes to complete both worksheets.

“Good job,” I rewarded him as he returned the finished papers to the folder. “Now there are those boxes upstairs awaiting our attention, right?”

“Right!” Jake raced ahead and took the steps two at a time. Proudly swinging open the unobstructed door, he shouted, “Tada!”

Wow, I was truly amazed. The stench of rotting food and sweat infused athletic clothes remained, but the bed was covered now only by a rumpled blanket and a pile of colorful pillows. For the first time, I could see the entire floor. “So your carpet is blue.”

Apparently not yet reading my response, Jake studied my face before joining me in laughter. “Great job! Stage one complete.” I suggested we move on to step two and asked if he could guess what that was. Knowing Jake’s penchant for being right, I suggested he use his nose before answering.

He inhaled deeply and shook his head with uncertainty. As though he’d lost his sense of smell, he looked at me with raised brows and answered with a question. “The trash?”

I helped him lug the box down the stairs and out to the garage trashcans. Back upstairs I opened a window to exchange the lingering odor with some fresh air before we stripped the greying sheets from the bed and took them to the laundry room. Although clearly pleased with the progress, my next suggestion that we remake the bed was met with wide eyes and vehement shaking of his head. “Come on,” he raised his voice, “that’s the maid’s job.”

“Not today,” I said leaving the room in search of the linen closet. I returned with a fresh set of sheets and a stack of neatly folded colorful pillowcases. “Sniff,” I said putting them under his nose. He did, but only the look on his face spoke his discontent. He stood in the corner of the room and watched as I shook out the fitted bottom sheet and spread it across the bed hoping his responsibility or shame might kick in, but the only movement he made was setting his arms akimbo. Not the message I was hoping for. I looked up and as gently as I could I said, “Jake, I am not the maid, and I did not create the mess. If you’ll recall, one of my goals was to lead you to independence.” His arms unfolded but his feet held firm to the floor. I continued making the bed, and chose my words with care. “Before you can have a staff take care of your unwanted chores, you must earn the privilege and appreciate what it is they do for you.”

Finally his eyes met mine. “You mean, I won’t always have to make my bed?”

I nodded. “Just earn the privilege.”

Jake was unsure his parents would agree and I really wasn’t sure either, knowing how poorly they’d followed my first and only requirement, once a week family dinner. But I must have offered the right words of encouragement because he opened the top sheet and spread it across the bed. I bit the inside of my cheek and swallowed my words watching him make perfect hospital corners. He caught me staring though and smiled, “Boy scout camp,” he explained.

We stepped back to admire the work. Jake looked proud but refused to admit it. With another job well done, I would have loved to cart the box containing the “elsewhere items,” mostly dirty dishes and silverware, to the kitchen, but instead I called on another successful mantra of mine – Always leave while you’re having fun. Jake was happy and I was too. Time to pack up. The box would be there when I returned.

THE JAKE PULLMAN STORY CONTINUED

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CHAPTER 4 – Our First Session – Organization

I arrived 5 minutes early, excited to get started with Jake. The doorbell chime was followed by none of the chatter I heard on my initial evaluation visit, only silence. I waited and rang again. Still nothing. A bit disappointed, I reached for my cell phone and dialed Jake’s phone. Yes, he has his own cell phone. An issue I might have to address at a later time, but now I just needed to find him. I knew his parents were at work and the little brothers were not home either. Through the side glass door panel I could see Jake come through the basement doorway with his phone in hand and a warm smile on his face.

“Sorry,” he said pulling open the door. “I already finished my homework, so I was down the basement.” I knew this was code for playing video games but chose to reserve that conversation for a later time as well. I wanted to begin on a positive note.

“Great,” I told him. “Let’s get started then.” I suggested he bring along the backpack he was about to step over and headed toward the kitchen.

“Okay, but I told you I already did my homework,” his voice trailed behind me.

Glad he had picked up the bag without  further discussion, but I made another mental note. On the table were the same papers I’d pushed aside three weeks earlier with some additional junk mail, children’s drawings and old school work scattered about. No indication of a family dinner enjoyed there yet. Another note to self.

Like Mary Poppins with her bottomless satchel, I began slowly pulling out supplies while trying to maintain a casual conversation, but with each new item, Jake wanted to know, “What’s that for?” I just smiled and held up a hand encouraging him to wait while I kept the conversation going.

Finally, after sufficient enticement, I was ready to begin. I explained to Jake there are three essentials to building success, Organization, Time management, and Focus Time. Today the plan was to direct our attention to Organization.

Moving my supplies to the side, I asked Jake to show me his completed homework. He didn’t know I had already checked the online assignment board and was up to date with his progress. He pulled his broken zipper binder from his overstuffed backpack and began rummaging through a variety of miscellaneous papers stuffed haphazardly inside, all the time trying to assure me, or himself, what he was looking for was there. Finally, he paused remembering he’d left the homework paper inside his math book which was in his locker since the work was done at school.

“Uh huh, (silent note to self) and the vocabulary assignment?”
“Oh, I just saw that. Wait.” And he began rifling through the papers once again. “Yup, here it is!” He proudly held up the wrinkled, illegibly written paper with no name, date, assignment title, nothing.

“And how do you know that’s it?” I couldn’t help but ask. Remembering Jake’s struggle with penmanship from the writing sample he had written for my evaluation, I reserved comment on legibility until I was ready to focus on that.

“Cause I just did it.”

I slid a green two pocket folder in front of him and shared my favorite mantra: “Organization is the key to success. Say hello to this green folder. It’s going to be your new best friend, so take good care of it and take it with you wherever you go in school and back home again.” This was to be his homework folder. All handout assignments were to go inside the left pocket and finished work inside the right pocket. With some reluctance he accepted the idea and labeled each pocket, In and Out. Then he filed his vocabulary assignment on the right side and chose to keep the folder in the front pocket of his binder that he brought to every class and home every day.

Encouraged by his good decision making, my reward of praise was accepted with a broad proud grin on his face.

Next, while unfurling a large, blank month-at-a-glance calendar, I reminded Jake of my mantra: Organization is the key to success. I wanted him to eventually hear those words in his sleep. With some guidance from me, he was able to fill in the calendar noting sports practices and games, appointments, tests and a long term projects. I noticed signs of writing fatigue – the stretching of fingers between adding new words to the calendar. Another mental note of something to address at the appropriate time, but not now. We chose a good place to hang and the calendar where he would see it every day and be able to add to it as new items arose.

“Great job!” I high-fived him, and his smile told me we were building the necessary bond to help make my plan successful. Jake was happy to take a short break before I introduced our final activity for the day. We played three rounds of Jenga, and although he was good, he was not yet able to beat the “Jenga champion of Bethesda.” I like to play fair and make students rise to a challenge, and I think Jake appreciated that too.

Last item for the day. I asked Jake if he’d mind helping me get some things from my car. Happy to help he followed me outside and together we dragged three large cardboard boxes up to his bedroom. The door was closed and he was reluctant to open it. I assured him I was ready for the worst, and it was a good thing I was. The room looked like a hurricane passed through with the windows left open! Clothes, papers, books, dishes encrusted with dried up pizza filled the floor. The bed was buried beneath an avalanche of clothes and sports equipment, and I wondered where he slept, but again reserved comment. Instead I asked him to repeat my mantra which  he instantly fed back to me through some laughter.

Organization is the key to success. Guess I got a ways to go.”

“Sure do, but that’s what I’m here for. We’ll begin at the door and you can do a little each day until everything is in order.” To start, all he had to do was separate the items into the three boxes. One was for items to keep in his room, another for the things that belonged elsewhere in the house, and the third was for trash. That seemed doable to him and we started the task together. Once we had a path down the center of the room, we looked back to study our progress. Once again I congratulated him. But now it was his job to get the rest cleared before I returned on Thursday (3 days later). He was fairly confident he could manage on his own and was even excited to surprise his mom when it was all done.

Finally, we returned to the kitchen, added RC, code for room cleaning to the calendar each day. I made some written notes including items to be addressed at later meetings (cell phone, video game time, family dinners, binder, backpack, written assignment headings, and handwriting) And I  packed up my materials while Jake packed up his and set the backpack beside the front door, ready to go the next morning.

It was a good day. We had made good progress and parted friends.