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Secondary Organization (6-12): Starting the Year Off RightSecondary Organization (6-12): Starting the Year Off Right

Secondary Organization (6-12): Starting the Year Off Right

Oct 1, 2021Back To SchoolParentsStudents

A Guide For Parents and Families

Middle and high school are no joke! Students are transitioning classes, have multiple teachers, and are learning between 4 and 7 subjects at one time! Organization really starts to suffer at the start of middle school, and it makes so much sense! Read on to learn some simple ways to stay organized.

The Big Binder (TM)

Keeping important papers and information for your classes in one place is key! To do this, the best organization system I’ve found that works for most students is the Big Binder. Some schools may already require students use one central binder for all of their classes, especially if they are an AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) school. Regardless, being able to find everything you need by looking in one place is so helpful. However, purchasing a binder is only the first step.

  1. Start the year off by purchasing TWO BIG BINDERS. One should be carried around with you all year long. The other should be kept at home and is where you will store the notes and materials that you are no longer using each day. For example, at the end of the first marking period, you’ll want to transfer all of your materials into your stay at home binder. This way your notes are there to refer back to, but won’t take up space in your binder for new material.

  2. Most teachers forget to hole punch their materials, so purchasing a good, sturdy hole-punch, like this one, will be super helpful. These can get heavy to carry around, so one tip is to leave this at home and use it during your organization time.

  3. You will need dividers. Purchase dividers with folders, like these, so you can temporarily store any papers that haven’t been hole-punched yet. Be sure to purchase enough so that each class can have a section in your binder.

  4. Label each tab with the FULL name of the class, and put them in the order that you have class each day. For example, if your schedule is English 1st period, followed by Algebra, followed by Biology, label the tabs in that order for ease.

  5. Grab a pencil case for your binder. In it, be sure to always have 2 pencils, 2 pens, a highlighter and an eraser.

  6. Put everything you need for each class IN that section of your binder. If your teacher requires the use of a notebook, and plans to review your notebook for accuracy/completeness, then purchase a notebook with three holes to stick in your binder. Take it out of your binder during each class though, taking notes with those big rings gets mighty difficult. If your teacher requires a composition notebook, use a big rubber band to keep it in your binder. Otherwise, have hole-punched notebook paper available for each class.

Organization Time

Buying the essentials above is just the first step. Ongoing organization and work is needed to be sure you can stay on top of everything and maintain a sense of calm.

  1. Spend 10-15 minutes each day going through your binder and backpack in search of any loose paper.

  2. Hole-punch any paper and put it in the correct spot in your binder.

  3. Go through each section and determine if anything can be taken out. (Don’t throw anything away!) Place notes and materials from old units into your stay at home binder. Be sure to keep this stay at home binder organized as well!

  4. Review your notes. At the end of each day, go back and review and organize your notes. The more frequently you do this, the more it will become rote memory for you and you will able to do it quicker and quicker. Plus, when it comes time for a test, everything will be ready for studying.

  5. Spend 5 minutes preparing for the next day by placing any homework right in the front of your section so you won’t forget to turn it in.

Using a Planner/Agenda

A planner or an agenda is a great way to ensure you know what you need to do each night when you get home. For many students, it’s difficult to remember what you need to do for each class at the end of the day, so it’s best to write it down! Keep your agenda on your desk and open to the current day and class period so you can write down any important information including:

  • Homework for that evening.

  • Long term project due dates.

  • Upcoming tests or quizzes.

  • Reminders for field trips, paperwork, sports try-outs, etc.

Try out Viinko! Viinko is an online agenda that helps your child learn time management and organization skills, and help your child stay on track. Plus, you can sign up for their coaching services and get specialized assistance.

Keep your eyes peeled for a longer blog about how best to use your agenda. Be sure to check it EVERY DAY. Communicate with your family that this is a strategy you want to try and ask them to help you remain accountable. A good agenda that I like to recommend for middle and high school students is here.

Download our PK-12 Organization Checklists HERE!

What are your organization tips? Comment below!

Primary Organization (PK-5): Starting the Year Off RightPrimary Organization (PK-5): Starting the Year Off Right

Primary Organization (PK-5): Starting the Year Off Right

Oct 1, 2021Back To SchoolParentsStudents

A Guide For Parents and Families

Organization skills are crucial to success in middle and high school, but proper organization starts in elementary school. As students progress in grades, they are expected to take on more and more responsibility, and parents are “kept in the loop” on fewer and fewer things. Read on to read some great tips for staying organized in the primary grades.

Color Coordination

When I was a student in primary school, I struggled immensely with organization and remembering which books I needed to bring home for homework that night. I would often get home thinking I had reading homework, only to find out I brought home my math workbook and left my reading workbook at school. My mom came up with a genius idea that I’ve tried with lots of students with success, color coordination!

Keep everything for each subject color coded. For example, your math textbook, math notebook, math workbook and/or math folder should all be one color. Color code the section in your agenda with the same color, so when you look at the end of the day, you know to bring home your red books, or your yellow books.

  1. We used colored tape, book socks and colored contact paper to help color code my textbooks and workbooks and then purchased corresponding paper folders that were the same color. Help your child organize all of their materials within the first week of school. Talk to your child’s teacher about helping them organize their desk if necessary.

Keeping a Clean Desk

  1. During recess, snack break, lunch break, or the end of the day, encourage your child to clean out their desk. Go through any loose papers and put them where they belong. Sometimes it’s a good idea to have a “catch all” folder where they can store these papers until they can have time to organize. If there is no time available during the day, talk to your child’s teacher about providing some time for desk organization either at the beginning or end of each day.

  2. Send your child to school with a small pack of wipes to wipe down their desk each day. This will help them keep their desks free of crumbs, pencil shavings, broken crayons, etc. If you tell them to wipe the inside of their desk every week, it will force them to take everything out and subsequently prompt them to organize everything.

Using a Planner/Agenda

  1. Have your child use a planner or an agenda to write down their homework each day. You can color code each section of their agenda so they know to write down their math homework in the red math section and their reading homework in the yellow reading section. Ask your child’s teacher to double check their agenda to ensure they aren’t forgetting anything, at least until they’ve shown they have a good grasp on the routine.

  2. When they are packing up, remind your child if they have math written down in the red section, they should take home all of their red books and folders. If they have a question, encourage them to advocate for themselves and ask their teacher what they will need to complete the assignment.

Create a Task Card

While your child is learning these new routines like writing down their homework and organizing their desk, create a task card for them to refer back to. Here is an example of a task card for how to use your agenda. I used Canva to create this. You can be more specific by taking pictures of your child’s actual agenda and giving them specific directions.

Download our PK-12 Organization Checklists HERE!

What are your organization tips? Comment below!

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