The Importance of Organization
Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying, "For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned." Can you imagine creating the lightning rod, inventing the bifocals, editing the first Almanac, and (last but not least) helping to found the United States of America WITHOUT being organized?! Surely this famous Bostonian had a process in place for keeping his plans, projects, and daily activities in order. Let's explore how we can follow in the footsteps of Mr. Franklin's organization and see if we can turn minutes into hours.
What we teach our students
At St. Michael's, study and organizational skills are taught as part of classroom activities integrated into academic studies throughout the year. Through these skills it is our hope and belief that the concepts of Self-Advocacy and Self-Expression are engendered in each student. Specific strategies and suggestions include:
- Organization: The binder system: 5th and 6th grade students have color coded binders, one per class, which are used for organizing their homework and help save time. By establishing a routine of knowing there is a color associated with subject, i.e "Blue Binder = Science" they are prepared for what is needed in the class and what to take home.
- Time management: Make a daily routine. Writing down what you do each day may offer insight into where time is being spent (wasted?) or could be use in a more efficient manner.
- Note taking: From interactive notebooks to homework agendas -
How can parents help?
Remember: Start small and have patience. These things take time! The work is to teach our students strategies and give them the tools they need to do their work. The challenge is to make these strategies automatic.
Students: Pick one thing to organize a week - maybe your locker or a junk drawer at home.
Parents: Once the daily routine is clear, review it...daily! Reviewing it with your child each morning can help put goals or tasks into perspective.
Nancy Darling, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology at Oberlin College and for the past 25 years, she has studied how adolescents shape and are shaped by their social relationships. In her article "Keep Your Middle Schooler Organized", she touches on ways organization can help relieve the homework struggle.
Mr. Horn's 5 tips for organizational success:
- Make organization automatic - start by building daily habits
- create homework "to do" lists, check off tasks
- Esta blish whe re and when homework is completed
- Use planners or assignment books effectively - don't count on memory
- Students write down assignments on the day they are assigned and due.
- Parents check planners at home, review with your child.
- Make sure all materials are home when they're needed
- Make sure completed assignments can be found and TURNED IN
- Have a dedicated folder/binder for each subject & homework
- Talk to your child's teacher/advisor
- Keep the lines of communication open - we are here to help!