Certainly organizing one’s time is an essential skill that students will need to acquire as they progress through their education. However, equally important is the ability to organize one’s necessary materials. Think about it—what good is the knack for time management if the product, assignment, or project goes missing?
Encourage organization with color-coding
Color-coding is a helpful study tactic that helps students maintain focus and narrow in on the essential information. Of course, any notes are helpful for exam review, but notes that are organized by color are especially beneficial for categorizing and committing information to memory.
Aside from using multiple highlighters and different colored post-it notes, students can also use colored folders, lined notebook paper in different hues, and different binders to quickly and easily organize materials by subject area. Multi-colored dividers are another easy method for keeping notes organized by course, date, etc.
A good rule of thumb, especially for forgetful children and/or the organizationally-challenged, is to create a homework folder that is unmistakably unique and distinguishable. Choosing a neon-colored or wildly-patterned folder for taking homework to and from school will mean that it is less likely to be left on the kitchen counter or mistaken for another school folder.
Consider using the homework folder just for daily homework assignments, with the left pocket being the “turn in” side and the right pocket being for “to-do” items. This allows students to easily find the homework they need to complete and quickly retrieve the homework they need to submit.
The biggest aspect of the color strategy for organization is consistency, so if the blue folder and binder is for math work, keep it that way throughout the school year to avoid misplacing things.
Utilize the materials purposefully
This will sound obvious, but many parents would be surprised to see just how quickly organizational skills can begin to fly out the window when students hear the dismissal bell. Instead of shoving papers and materials into a half zippered binder in an effort to sprint out the door, teach children to make use of the pockets, sections, and binder rings for keeping materials in their rightful spots.
Teachers can assist with this, especially with younger learners, by pausing in the final few moments of class to allow students to wrap up and organize any loose papers or materials.
Another teacher tip to promote sound organizational practices is to make sure that handouts are hole-punched every time. This is another obvious suggestion, but papers without holes are begging to be misplaced, dropped, or forgotten. Similarly, having a stash of reinforcers, the hollowed circle stickers to cover a torn hole punch, will help to ensure that even ripped papers are organized and secured appropriately.
Consider keeping a shared Google document for each child’s many, many educational usernames and passwords. This might include access info to their school email account, library username, Noodletools account info, Quizlet flashcards, etc. Not only will parents be able to access school work and monitor screen use for safety, but the automatic saving feature in Google docs ensures that passwords are saved when added or updated.