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Develop a Personal Organization System


Study Skills & Tools Social-Emotional Learning All Ages Strategy


Organization Working Memory Attention Verbal Memory

Develop a Personal Organization System

All students, particularly those with weaker attention, memory, organization or time management skills

Teach It!

  1. Objective: Students will develop a good organizational system for schoolwork and homework.
  2. Teacher Takeaways: Help your student develop a system for organizing their school and homework papers. Students should consider what will work for them across classes, not just one class, and keep it consistent. Use the guidelines (next slide) to help students get started. Reinforce the importance of maintaining a system and building a habit of placing papers in their designated spots. Schedule a weekly clean-up to organize and throw out papers they do not need from their binders and folders.

*print* Student Guide: Options For Organizing

  1. Three-ring binder: Every subject is in one place. Separate each subject with a divider. Add a three-hole punched zippered pouch for pencils, pencil sharpener, ruler, etc. Be aware that it can get heavy as the school year progresses, and you might need to hole punch papers yourself.
  2. Accordion file: Holds all subjects in one place so you only need to remember one item. But it is easy to misplace sheets and harder to sift through to find sheets than a binder. A good option to keep papers in at home.
  3. Separate folder for each class: Choose a different color for each subject. Be aware that separate folders are easier to misplace or you could easily bring home the wrong folder and not have the subject you need for homework.
  4. Within Subjects: Sub-divide your work within each subject by using the pockets in your folders or dividers. Perhaps one pocket for class worksheets and handouts and another pocket for homework.
  5. Digital Files: It is equally important to organize your digital files. Have one folder for each subject. Create sub-folders for homework, research papers, or study guides. Just as with traditional folders and files, clean these out periodically. At the end of the school year, archive them into a folder with the school year date.

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

Keeping organized unquestionably improves efficiency and minimizes the chance that you will forget to hand in homework. Everyone is different and it's important to find the system that works the best for you. Experiment until you find a system that you like. Some students will need more help than others to stay organized, and parents can play an important supporting role in helping a student to create and follow an effective system.