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It’s All in the Organization!

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Julie Mooney, Boys Town Teacher

It’s All in the Organization!

Would you like your child to be more successful in school?

There is one key skill all students can learn that can contribute to their classroom success: Being organized!

This may sound simple to someone who is a “naturally” organized person. But for students whose thoughts can often go off in random directions, being organized can be tough.

Here are a few tips I use with my students at Boys Town that you can share with your children to help them stay focused and stay on track with all their classes:

Keep an assignment notebook.  Students should keep a list of everything they need to do each day for every class. This provides a visual “roadmap” of assignments, and having a completed list of schoolwork at the end of the week gives students a sense of accomplishment. Many teachers will gladly review and sign off on your child’s assignment notebook if asked.

  1. Use folders or a binder to keep everything together. Some students may prefer to use different colored folders for each subject while others might like using a binder with tab dividers. Help your child set up whatever works best for him or her. For example, a folder’s left pocket can hold papers that need to be done and turned in to the teacher while the right pocket can store papers that have been completed. Or, you can organize a binder with tabs for each subject, separating assignments that need to be completed from those that are done. Let your child take the lead in deciding what method to use and how to set it up; this will give your child “ownership” of the project and make it more likely that he or she will use it.
  2. Check the assignment notebook and organize work as part of a nightly homework routine. You can help supervise this process until your child feels confident enough to do it on his or her own. Set a homework time early in the evening so your child can complete and organize all the assignments for the next day before he or she gets tired.
  3. Take time to evaluate how this method is working at least once a week.  Ask your child these questions about his or her organizational system:
  • Do you feel more confident about knowing where your work is and when it is due?
  • Is it easier to pull assignments together for reviewing for tests and quizzes?
  • Can anything be adjusted to make the system work better?

Finally, praise progress! It will take time for your child to develop these new habits. But if he or she can begin to see the benefits of being organized and using an organizational system, and earn your praise for working hard and improving at school, those habits are more likely to stick. And, your child will be learning a skill he or she can use for a lifetime.