1. All in one: Put everything in one place. I recommend a binder that can hold all the subjects. Each subject area should go under a different tab and in each tab, have the student organize that subject by classwork, tests/quizzes, and you can further label the categories, if you so wish. Things become difficult for students who need to balance multiple folders, binders, and books. I realize not everything can be consolidated, but try to consolidate as much as possible.
2. Designated work area: Students need a designated space to work on homework at home with a calendar posted or available that lists all upcoming assignments/assessments.
3. Write it down: Students need to write everything down that needs to be done and then prioritize what needs to be done today and what can wait until tomorrow. It is incredibly helpful for students to become acquainted with to do lists/check lists. Make sure students write down what needs to be done, how long the task may take, and when it will be done! Some students use planners, some use iPads, some use a piece of paper, but it needs to be written down. Most of the trouble my students encounter is when they rely on their parents, on a website, or another system where they aren't responsible for keeping track of it themselves- they forget more easily and more readily what needs to be done!
4. Color Code: Give each subject a color - anything that has to do with that subject should go in that color tab. I also recommend book sleeves that match the color designated to the subject for their textbooks.
5. Homework Folder: This can be in the front of the binder, but must be the first thing the student sees - one section should be labeled: "To Do" and the other section: "Turn In"
6. Regular Cleaning Sessions: Students must take the time to clean out lockers/desks/backpacks at least once a week and to go through their large binder/folder/organizer to make sure all is in order. Some things can probably be recycled if they're no longer needed or put into a storage binder in case. Regular cleaning sessions will help students start the new week out fresh.
7. Organization/Study Buddy: Have students connect with another student who turns in assignments on time and seems to be organized to develop study habits from a peer.
8. Break it down: Take big projects and break them into smaller tasks that can be done over time on a daily basis. Spend time breaking down assignments and tasks with students and have them insert these tasks into their planner/calendaring system. Over time, give them the task to break down larger assignments and have them create their own mini-due dates and check-ins.
9. Do what you've got to do before you can do what you want to do! Enough said!
10. Nightly ritual: Encourage each student to pack his/her backpack the night before and double check that all items that are needed for the next day are actually in the bag. Encourage students to also lay out the clothes he/she will wear the next day to make the morning a bit easier. Especially as students get older, the more they will crave their sleep. The more stress that a student encounters in the morning, the more disorganized they are going to be during the day as they will feel rushed and unsure about what needs to be done.
What else works when it comes to student organization? Share your ideas and stories below!