The average student’s desk is crammed with papers, textbooks, and miscellaneous knick-knacks. Meanwhile, his or her locker is likely filled with snack wrappers and random clothing. For most students, being organized is a learned skill. Thankfully, you can teach better habits throughout the school year, so that important homework doesn’t get lost. In this guide, we’ve shared 5 common-sense tips for keeping your students organized at school.
Every student has unique organizational habits (or lack thereof). As a teacher, it’s important to tailor your strategy for every student. For example, some students may have ADHD, while other students just haven’t learned replicable habits. Observe how each student handles a given task. Then, make a note about their attention levels, motor skills, and other aspects of disorganization. This will help you formulate a sensory strategy to teach better organizational skills.
Variety is the spice of life in the classroom. However, you should still frame the period around predictable daily routines. For example, morning routines should be virtually the same every day, so that students get into the right headspace. Have students unpack their bags, sit at their desks, and start reading or solving a problem. Meanwhile, you can also create a routine for assigning homework and collecting finished work. This will encourage students to complete assignments on time and keep their papers organized.
If you leave school work folders to chance, many students will inevitably create a chaotic mess. Instead, use a classwide folder system with a couple of labeled pockets. One pocket can say “Keep at Home” and other can say “Bring to School.” If you’re dealing with an older class, you may want to use multiple color-coded folders for various subjects. Likewise, you can design an organizational system for lockers so that students know where to place their possessions. For example, one container can be reserved for clothing, while another might store the student’s books.
Checklists are a great tool for staying on task and getting work done. You can provide students with a checklist for the week’s tasks, including what they’re responsible for at home. Meanwhile, you can send a different checklist home to parents, so that they understand how homework should be completed. When everyone is on the same page, it’s much easier to stay organized.
It’s easy to lose concentration in the classroom, especially if a student has ADHD and a vivid imagination. To reduce distractions, we recommend keeping desks away from windows and doors and zipping class materials into a pouch. This will ensure that students aren’t ruffling through their bags or opening and closing the windows. Likewise, each student’s desk should only have the items they need for the current activity. You can conduct weekly classroom clean-ups of bags, desks, and lockers to periodically clear the clutter.
At GraduationSource, we believe that smart organizational habits can make a huge impact on students’ lives. Visit our blog for more educational resources and teaching tips.