Study Skill Support
What is organization?
Organization is the process of developing a plan for one’s space, one’s materials, one’s assignments, one’s time and a whole range of activities that benefit from a systematic approach to task completion. The goal for organization is to eliminate tardiness, forgetfulness, lack of preparedness and procrastination.
Model strong organizational skills with your personal schedule and/or belongings sharing how your day is structured and/or time allotted (Use a family calendar or other visual reminder to show how events are recorded.)
Show examples of organization and organizational structures in your home: bookshelves, cupboards, recipe files, computer desktop, calendars, etc.
Provide your child with a work space and the necessary tools for homework completion (paper, pencil, adequate lighting, dictionary, etc)
Insist your child write down his/her assignments in a planner or notebook
Help your child establish daily agendas or timetables to help tasks become routine
Work with your child to choose notebooks and folders that are different colors for each class. Color-coding by content area ensures students will habitually learn to take the right notebook/folder to its corresponding class
Encourage your child to clean his/her notebook and folder (desks or lockers, too) on a regular (weekly) basis, eliminating papers and materials with expired or lapsed dates and reorganizing the rest
Suggest the use of checklists or other graphic organizers to help students visualize task completion
Encourage the creation of “To Do Lists” with high priority items listed first followed by items with longer timelines or less urgency
Ask your child to explain his/her organizational system to you. Chances are if the student can explain the system to you in a manner you understand, the system is working
Web Resources on Organization:
Tips for developing
organizational skills in children:
Suggestions taken from how to study and make the most of one’s time http://www.adprima.com/studyout.htm
Organizational tips for parents of middle and high school students http://www.fortbend.k12.tx.us/gifted/organization.cfm
Common Q/A on Organization:
1. How can I help my child be more organized?
Start small. Pick an area (room, book bag, folder) and model the process explaining the rationale for the decisions that are made on what to put where, etc. Repeat the process and then have the child/student do the same. Insist your child explains the process. Once an area is mastered, expand the process to include other areas. Continue to revisit the steps and rationale for each area discussed.
2. How will I know if my child’s organizational skills are a problem?
Observe your child as he/she completes a task. What system
is employed? How does your child work through a task? Listen for comments from
teachers and caregivers relative to school activities and assignments. What
comments are made? What comments are absent? Note your child’s personal
belongings. How are they stored?
What is lost? How often? Monitoring these behaviors and conversations will provide evidence of your child’s current organizational skills and suggest whether corrective action would be beneficial.
3. What are the school-related tasks requiring strong organizational skills?
Keeping an assignment book or planner
Tracking long and short term projects
Organizing folders, backpacks, lockers and desks
Studying notes for tests
Completing work in a timely manner
4. At what age should organizational skills be taught?
It is never too early to start. Like many
tasks, learning organizational skills is a developmental process, best begun
early and reinforced often. Certainly, preschool children should be given
organizational expectations (toys to put away, time parameters to meet, etc.).
By the late elementary grades, students should be responsible for organizing their “spaces” and recording daily and long-term assignments. As students move through junior high and into high school, the prioritization of tasks and the establishment of time parameters for completion should be manageable.
5. What are some of the aids/supports that can be used to assist students with the development of organizational skills?
This list will vary from student to student but some of the
more common tools would include: timing devices, trappers or other types of
binders, calendars, planners, accordion files, storage shelves or crates, labels
for materials, colored folders, etc.