by Amber Hodgson, M.A., CCC-SLP
Students’ organizational skills play an important part in their classroom success.
When students are organized, they are more prepared and less likely to procrastinate
and display off-task behaviors. However, many students need to be taught organizational
strategies. Developing organizational skills early on can lead to those behaviors
becoming valuable, life-long habits. Below are some tips for assisting you in helping
your students become more independent and organized learners.
Model the behavior that you expect. When your students
see organization in the classroom, they are more likely to imitate it. You may want
to show students examples of your lesson planner, calendar, or data logs, or let
them see how you organize your desk and files. You also want to make sure that your
students understand that in the classroom there is “a place for everything and everything
in its place!” They should know where their personal items and all classroom items
Assign classroom jobs to give more routine to each day.
By giving your students special roles and changing them daily/weekly, you can provide
a classroom environment with more structure. The “Jobs” list should be in a place
where everyone can easily see it. Materials collector, lunch table washer, line
leader, paper distributor, board eraser, or messenger are just a few examples of
duties for students to take responsibility for and then perform in the classroom.
Have students keep a daily planner or agenda. Many schools
provide a planner for their students. If not, you can add an assignment book or
agenda to your classroom supply list. Use it to track homework assignments, test
dates, project due dates, etc. Your students should get in the habit of opening
their planners and writing in them at the end of each class. They should also check
it at the end of each day to make sure that they have all the materials they need
in their book bags in order to do their homework. The planner is also a good way
to communicate with the students’ parents/guardians by having a special place in
it for “teacher notes.”
Have students keep an organized binder. A binder is
a great organizational tool for students because it can have tabbed sections, which
help students arrange and then quickly locate their work and notes. As well, color-coded
folders help students manage their binders more effectively. It is also useful for
the binder to have separate folders for class work and home work as well as a folder
for completed assignments.
Teach students how to effectively schedule time. Explain
to students the importance of planning ahead. They can achieve this by learning
how to make an outline or timeline, as well as managing a calendar. Help your students
in breaking a project into several mini-assignments so that they can complete their
work one, smaller task at a time. This will help your students keep track of all
of their short-term project goals and deadlines.