Fostering Good Organizational Habits in the Classroom

By Huntington Learning Center

Organization doesn’t come naturally to many students, but it is the foundation for school success. Here are several tips to build routines into your classroom that help your students develop their organizational habits:  

  • Establish a few daily tasks to start things off right. If you’re an elementary school teacher, give your students a morning checklist, which might include hanging up their backpack, getting out materials, sitting quietly in their seat and reading morning instructions on the white board. If you’re a middle or high school teacher, your start-of-class checklist might look a little differently, but you can still get your students into a good preparation routine to get focused.  
  • Assign jobs. Classroom jobs build responsibility and confidence, giving students an important sense of pride. For younger students, these jobs might include roles such as line leader, teacher’s assistant and calendar helper. Teachers of older students can do the same thing: assign and rotate jobs through students to help your classroom run smoothly.  
  • Incorporate planner updating into the daily routine. The planner (or homework planner app) is your students’ best organizational tool. Have your students get them out at the start of class to look over upcoming dates and deadlines and at the end of class to record homework assignments, upcoming test dates and project due dates. 
  • Spend the last few minutes of class tidying up. There’s so much value in involving students in the cleanup and putting away of supplies, especially for elementary students. Establish a before-bell routine where students put everything back in its labeled place in the classroom and tidy up their desks, binders and backpacks. 
  • Keep things simple. Keeping organizational systems simple works best. Colored folders for each subject or a binder with tabs prevent misplaced papers and backpack chaos. Establish a system so your students know what their most important papers are (and can keep them accessible). Encourage an at-home filing system for documents they might need, but not in class every day.  

Have a student who struggles with organization? Refer them to Huntington. Sometimes poor school habits and weak executive functioning skills are the culprits, but other times, there are bigger issues at play. We can perform an academic evaluation to determine where the student might be struggling.  

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