Effectively Yours

Sharing effective and unique strategies for non-academic skills needed for student success

Today’s blog post is about organization. I would like to dedicate this post to an Effectively Yours friend named, Trinal. She left a comment about her child’s issue with organization. Thank you, Trinal for your support! I hope this information helps.

We are in Need of Organization Here

Teachers, are you just as perplexed as I am when you see a child walking around with a notebook containing crumpled, unsorted notes and assignments? Or have you seen students carrying backpacks so stuffed that they leave a trail of balled-up paper in the hallway? Do you ever sneak a peek in a student’s locker and discover the Abyss of Nothingness? Mounds and mounds of stuffed papers that are wrestling to seek freedom from their indefinite imprisonment. And somehow you just know, those late assignments you continue to wait for are hostages in that locker.

Parents, how often you do walk in your child’s room only to discover that the Tasmanian Devil is a roommate? Nothing is where you envision it to be, but your child is quick to say, “I know where everything is.” (That’s my youngest daughter’s blanket response).

No matter our role, I think we all have this experience at some point. I have to be honest, when I was teaching, I didn’t quite know how to help my students with disorganization. Additionally, I didn’t know how to help my son with his disorganization until last year. If you can remember, he is the one who had to be motivated to get organized.

Why is My Child Disorganized?

There are many factors that can contribute to a child’s lack of organization. Amanda Morin believes its cause may be due to a brain-based condition; however, ADHD is not always the issue. Sacha Matthews wants readers to know that if a child appears to show disorganization and messiness, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the child is unable to attain academic success. Think of a co-worker that you know who has a messy desk or seems unorganized, but does dynamic work. It’s the same concept.

Another reason children are disorganized is because of, now don’t take offense, but because of parents. Parents have a tendency to be their child’s external navigational system. We constantly provide reminders and take over responsibilities for our children on a daily basis. By doing so, we turn off the child’s brain and prevent them from developing their own organizational skills. As a result, the more we remind our children, the less they are motivated to remember tasks.

One day, our children will have to “go it alone”, and if we continue to be external navigational systems, their brains won’t be ready to process the act of organization on its own. As a result, the lack of training to the brain, will cause our children to become lost when trying to organize. The good news is that our children can learn organizational skills, but reminders will stifle the process as it doesn’t allow children to think for themselves, but to rely solely on receiving reminders from the parent.

What Now?

First of all, let me say that as an educator, I am very familiar with the signs of ADD and ADHD. However, I am not an expert in that area. If you believe that your child’s lack of organization is a result of attention deficits and/or hyperactivity, please see a practitioner who is licensed to make those diagnoses. With that being said, I have some organizational skills strategies that can be used for students with or without ADHD.

Organized Binder-An Organization Tool

School districts and teachers may want to further research this jewel. Organized Binder is a company located in Sacramento, CA and has created “an evidenced-based MTSS or RTI2 Tier 1 universal level solution that creates an organized, structured, and dependable classroom with clear expectations and routines”.  The website has a plethora of information to share about its product. Testimonials, videos, and brochures are all available to review. Most importantly, the company provides professional development, so educators can gain the biggest impact when using the product. For more information, click here.

Other Organizational Skills Strategies

I compiled a list of links that provide GREAT strategies on how to help children/students who are struggling with organization. When researching, I try my best to seek out strategies and interventions that are simple to execute because I know we all have busy lives.

The first strategy is specifically for ADD/ADHD children. ADDitude designed this sample template to provide daily, minute by minute organization for children with attention deficits and hyperactivity. For more information, click here.

The links above are for elementary, middle, as well as high school students. Parents can implement these strategies as well as teachers.

Check These Links Out!

Survey Results!

Interested in seeing how parents viewed their child in when it come to their organization skills? Curious to see how students rated themselves? Click here. Thank you to everyone who participated!

How Can I Help?

Organization is an essential non-academic skill for children. Not only will it be necessary to learn how to be organized while in school, but also when our students reach adulthood. Multitasking will be inevitable once students began to move into the post-secondary education and/or workforce. For the most part, the only way they will be able to handle multiple school or job assignments will be with solid organizational skills.

Therefore, my charge to teachers is to take one or two strategies from this blog post and implement them in your classroom setting. If you find that the strategy is helping a student, share the information with a colleague. Parents, if you have a child struggling with organization, I charge you to do the same for home.

Friends, sometimes planting the seed is all it takes. The rest of us stakeholders will do the watering and pruning.

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Effectively Yours,

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