Teaching organizational skills plays an important role in a student's success. Many times students understand the material covered in class and are intelligent, but missing or incomplete assignments hurt their averages. Showing students how one assignment changes a grade can make an impact on their outlook, but using and practicing daily organizational tools makes a difference in their future. Students with good organizational skills find it easier to study and complete assignments.
Set up binders. Help students organize a binder to use in the classroom and as an organizational tool. Establish a section for homework, classwork and things to take home. Separate each class with a different color so students can quickly navigate in the binder. Emphasize the importance of the binder and its daily use during the first few weeks. Provide students with a few minutes each week to maintain their binders. Invite students who are struggling with organization to have lunch with you once a month and help them maintain their binders.
Establish the use of planners. Model for students how to maintain a planner. Start by having students write important dates on their planner like picture day, exam week and early-dismissal days. Provide students with a few minutes at the end of each class period to write down homework assignments and any other responsibilities. Check student planners for a few weeks or assign a buddy to check planners each day. Perform random planner checks, rewarding those keeping their planners up to date.
Provide test and project dates for students in advance. Teach students the importance of studying in advance for a test and not just cramming the night before. Inform students a week before a test, asking them to write it in their planner in a different color such as purple or green. Colors help words stand out. Help students create a checklist of items to complete for a project and a proposed completion date for each item. This helps students work on projects in chunks and avoid last-minute chaos.
Find a place to complete assignments. Working at a desk or a table is often required in a classroom. Completing homework assignments can be a completely different environment. Encourage students to find a quiet place free from distractions like the television, radio or siblings. Stock the area with supplies such as pens, pencils and paper. Go to this spot every day to complete assignments. Consider having students write a short paragraph at the beginning of the year to learn about their homework habits so you can help them re-organize where necessary.
Model your organization for students. Provide students with examples such as your lesson planner or the school calendar. Share with them tips that you found helpful. Tell them how as a teacher you must complete your lesson plans in advance of the lesson so you'll know what is needed and can prepare. Compare preparing a lesson to studying for a test, and compare the lesson to the test. Modeling good organizational skills should occur throughout the year.
-Compliment and praise students with good organizational habits. Try to find one thing to praise about every student.
- Photo Credit: Charles Thompson, http://www.sxc.hu/photo/214353