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How to Get Organized for School


Use different colored binders/folders for each class. Color-code everything whenever possible.



Take time to find the right binder/folder in the locker. Take the right binder/folder to class daily. Take notes in that binder.



Buy an inexpensive 3-hole punch that fits in your notebook. Hole punch handouts from teachers and put them in the right binder as soon as the teacher instructs you to put them up.



Keep at least one ink pen and/or pencil in a side pocket of the backpack. Return the writing utensil after class to be ready for the next class. Make a note to get new supplies when needed.



Write the current date on the upper corner of your notes. This process helps you know what to study when the teacher gives specific notes to study. This also comes in handy when a friend needs to borrow notes.



Schedule time to study, do homework and prepare for tests.



Use a calendar/planner to record important dates, especially dates for tests and research papers.  Get use to using it every day!



Prioritize tasks. Complete the short-notice tasks first while continuing to complete parts of long-term tasks.



Mark the calendar after completing tasks.


Tips & Warnings

·      Color coding makes material easier to spot at a glance, even inside a locker or backpack.

·      The notebook 3-hole punch is available at some office supply stores and certain discount stores.

·      Hole-punching prevents ending up with bits and pieces of torn notes in the bottom of your backpack. It is very challenging to study information you are unable to find.

·      Photocopy notes for a friend or wait as the notes are hand copied, when someone needs to borrow notes.

Here are some more practical ideas for parents on how to help kids learn to organize their time and their school work:

  • Make sure they use their assignment notebook. Talk with your children about how to use it and why. Suggest they open it at the beginning of each class and leave it on their desk until they have written down their assignments. Encourage them to review it before leaving school to be sure they bring home the books and other materials they will need.
  • Have them use a three-ring binder to organize their papers. Children should use one, two or as many binders as they need with individual sections for each subject. With everything stored in binders, students will more likely have their notes with them once they get home.
  • Have them create a homework folder within their binders where they can put all their handouts, assignments, and school correspondence they receive during the day.
  • Encourage them to set aside time to get organized. Teach them to empty their backpacks and homework folders after school and place items where they belong. (This will help prevent the dreaded "backpack-as-a-giant-black-hole--syndrome," where important papers get lost more quickly than ships in the Bermuda Triangle). Once papers have been sorted by subject, children can file them in the appropriate section of the binder. Papers that require a parent’s attention can be placed in your "in-basket." Parents can help their children get into the habit of making this a regular practice by sitting with them as they weed through their papers, especially in the beginning of the school year.
  • Create a homework supply box. An inexpensive storage container with a lid is great for keeping homework supplies together. Make your kids responsible for letting you know when supplies are running low. A homework kit might include a dictionary, paper (loose-leaf, unlined and graph paper), sticky notes, index cards, black and blue pens, pencils, erasers, highlighters, white-out, ruler, calculator, stapler, scissors, glue stick, and a three-hole punch.
  • Help your children decide on a regular location to do homework. Some kids need a very structured and quiet space. Others do fine with a little background noise or in the company of a friend or sibling. By settling on an acceptable location in advance, you’ll minimize daily fights over who sits where and whether or not it’s okay to have the television on "just this time."
  • Set up a daily homework schedule. Some students want to get through their assignments as soon as they get home; others need a little time to rest and unwind. Regardless, encourage them to set aside a specific block of time each day to complete homework – and then stick to it! This daily routine will teach them how to plan for homework and fit in other activities.
  • Consider a weekly family planning meeting. With kids involved in so many activities these days, trying to synchronize every family member’s commitments is enough to give an air traffic controller a headache. A family planning meeting on a Sunday afternoon or evening might help everyone "regroup" and get organized for the coming week. Have everyone come together and take turns plotting out their plans on a master calendar. To ensure that this important planning meeting consistently takes place, wrap it around a pizza party or other special family meal.