There is one element that is important to learners at any age/grade level. This element is organization. Many authors speak about organizing for effort; some discuss organizational parts of lessons, units and coursework. Each presupposes that the learner is organized, so that he/she is ready to learn. Few teachers think about teaching organization as a discreet entity. Most of us assume that our students come to us with a sense of organization. For some students being organized is a hurdle that is very difficult to overcome. Better organization can help children to be more productive and help them to behave properly. They can pay closer attention in class and think through the best way to find solutions because their immediate environment is organized.
Here are some things that educators and parents can do for the student who needs to create better organizational patterns.
Place an organizer for materials inside the students’ desk, locker, book bag.
Provide a color coded organization system in the students notebook with folders and dividers for each subject area and for homework.
Develop daily, weekly, monthly calendars for important events, due dates, assignments, tests.
Provide an organizational checklist for each subject area, for long term projects, for specific tasks that need specific components to be complete.
Provide the student with a larger table or desk to help to be more organized.
Assign organizational responsibilities in the classroom, e.g., equipment, books, software.
Assist the student in maintaining a record of performance on assignments and activities, with specific suggestions for improvement.
Model good organizational behavior by having a place for materials, putting materials away after use, and following the schedule of the day.
Teach the student to estimate the length of time an assignment will require per subject.
Minimize the number of materials for an assignment, stay with the critical elements.
Require the student to organize work at regular intervals, provide adequate time for completion of work, provide transition time between activities for organizing.
Give frequent verbal prompts and reminders; remind with verbal or written cues.
Give an organizational checklist with routines and steps when starting a new task.
Provide an advance organizer or outline to assist the student in following the flow of the lesson and to make notes following the outline.
Give a single task at a time; introduce the next task when the first one is successfully completed.
Reinforce the students’ behavior for beginning, staying on task, and completing assignments.
Be specific about what is to be done by indicating definite starting and stopping points, and by indicating a minimum requirement.
Reduce the amount of information on a page if there are visual distractions; isolate the critical information for the student.
Assign shorter tasks and increase the complexity over time as the student is successful.
With an increased awareness and realization of students needs for organization, teachers can expect students to have better product outcomes and improved learning can take place.
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