Improve Student Organization and You Will Bring Lasting Results
As discussed previously, there seems to be a link between organizational skills and student success. Improving student organizational skills is one of the surest ways of having a lasting effect on a student’s life. This is especially true with students who are struggling.
Here is a system that has impressed administrators and helped change the lives of students.
The Student Notebook System:
• 1 Three-ring notebook
• 6 Pee-chee style folders (The kind that has a “pocket” on each side.)
• 1 pencil bag that can fit on the rings of the notebook (Some notebooks have them built-in and that works also)
• Pencil sharpener (Covered and that won’t leak. Place it in a plastic baggie if needed.)
• 3 Pencils (Minimum)
• 1 Eraser (Minimum)
How to Label the Folders
Use white labels as opposed to writing on the folders. This creates consistency and makes it easier to read. For an entire class you can create and print these labels off your computer. (It’s a little work figuring out exactly how to print labels on your computer, but well worth it if you plan on using the system for at least a few years.)
The labels below are grouped into PAIRS because each folder has two pockets. Be sure to include the NUMBERS on the labels; but do not include the notes which are in parentheses.
These days many folders have the holes already punched in them. If not, the holes need to be punched. Once the folders are labeled and you have holes, place them on the rings along with the pencil bag.
1. Writing paper (This is their paper supply. Either I keep it filled or they do. This solves many problems such as having to pass out paper during class time, as well as dealing with messy edges from paper ripped out of notebooks.)
2. Homework, Returned Slips, Notes Home (All those important papers? You know exactly where they are!)
3. Reading Program
4. Reading Program
5. Writer’s Workshop (including Pattern Based Writing: Quick & Easy Essay!)
6. Writer’s Workshop (including Pattern Based Writing: Quick & Easy Essay!)
10. Social Studies
11. Other (Includes all subjects and papers which don’t fit in the other folders.)
12. It’s Mine (Corrected papers, completed work, and stuff that is “theirs.” At home students remove all these papers daily or weekly. When I tell students “it’s yours” they put a little “X” up in the corner of the paper.)
Note: You will likely want to name your folders a little different in order to meet your own needs. Teachers, if you like the system, you may want to stock up on the folders when they have them on sale for $.10. (It will be handy to have some in the class for replacements etc.)
Struggling Students and Success Using This Organizational System
You will impress administrators with this system, and that’s nice! But even more important is that for some students learning how to get organized is a lifeline that can bring about lasting success in school. This system can play a part!
A Student Success Story
I had one student who was so far behind that retention was the best solution. After conferencing with the student and the family, it was decided.
Two years later I was talking with the student’s current teacher and asked how my former student was managing. The teacher said, “You would not believe it. She showed up on the first day with a notebook that had folders completely labeled for each subject!” The teacher then went on to tell me how this student was getting an achievement award!
Now that is a turnaround! It seemed that the student had grabbed onto organization as a lifeline for having success in school. Based on the entire conversation with the teacher, school was still a bit of a struggle for this student, but they were making it!