Courtenay Whalen is a master at teaching students how to organize themselves. She's been teaching middle school for 16 years, and she is an AVID trainer and teacher. AVID is a program that teaches executive functioning and organizational skills (among other things) to students headed to college. She wrote a series of guest blog posts about how to help your middle schoolers get organized for back to school. Honestly, though, these tips will help students at ALL levels create and maintain an organizational system to maximize their success!
This is just the tip of the iceburg of her knowledge. Read more about her on our tutor bio page HERE.
This week she'll be sharing her top 5 organizational tips for Middle School Students. If you or your child is in high school and HASN'T nailed these, this is the place to start. Without futher ado, here's tip 5:
5. When in doubt, clean it out
It often takes some students several attempts before they really master and perfect their organization system. If you’re finding that you can’t find assignments that you know you completed or you’ve got a thick layer of crumpled and torn papers living at the bottom of your backpack, it’s time for a system reset. You need to pull everything out of your backpack and then pull everything out of your folders and completely start over. Ask yourself: “Where is the disconnect in my system? What’s not working?” If you can pinpoint what is making you disorganized, you can problem solve for the future.
If you find that you’re consistently feeling disorganized, set aside time each week to check in on your backpack and binder situation. You might even create a checklist to ensure your materials are tidy; check backpack pockets for trash or other unnecessary items, throw away or file old papers, and make note of what supplies need to be replenished (sticky notes, pens, loose leaf paper). ProTip: Not being prepared for class is a problem, but having too many supplies can also lead to disorganization. Limit what’s in your backpack to necessary supplies, and keep the extras at home. Instead of ten pens, a pack of highlighters, and two erasers, try putting two pens, one highlighter and one eraser in your supply bag. Having fewer items will make it easier for you to find what you need (and to know when you run out.)