Eighth graders are looking for new methods of time management for middle school students, aiming at real change which will carry forward into their adult lives.

Lawn School teacher Maureen McGuirl found that the middle school students in her social studies classes were having difficulty maintaining a schedule, unable to balance homework and extracurricular activities.  So when she asked students about their annual civics project, two of the three classes settled on aspects of time management for their Project Citizen assignment. This is an annual civics lesson that Lawn introduced to her students in 2003.

“Once the school day ends, these kids are so busy,” she said. “How do you do all that?”

One class is developing a program for improving study skills after school.  The other is introducing a teacher support period during the school day.

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Project Citizen was developed originally by the Center for Civic Education, a nonprofit organization in California. It is meant to provide an introduction to public policymaking while increasing student interest in local politics. Students did not think they could change the world.

“They were thinking that’s an adult thing,” said McGuirl. “In a republic, the fabric of it, and the most important part, are the citizens. If the citizens aren’t engaged and don’t know how to participate, then we might not have the strongest form of rule.”

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