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Teaching Organization in the Classroom
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 belong.
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.

*Handy Handouts® are for classroom and personal use only.
Any commercial use is strictly prohibited.

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