Getting High School Students Organized

If you’re the parent of a high school student, you probably know about block scheduling. For freshmen, block scheduling is likely a new concept.  Most high schools in the DC metro area operate on a block scheduling system.  Basically, this means most classes meet every other day for a longer period.  For example, a student may have English, math, and history on one day and science, Spanish, and gym on another.  There is likely one class – perhaps art in this situation –that meets every day for the standard 45 minute period.  For a student who struggles with organization, this can be a logistical nightmare.  On top of having a hard time organizing materials, we are now asking kids to remember materials for specific classes on specific days.  So how can you help get high school students organized?  Read on to learn about a simple system that just may do the trick…

Let’s say you have a freshman at Madison High School in Vienna.  He will have certain classes on Black Days, certain Classes on Red days, and one class that meets every day.  Some students may be tempted to get 7 binders – one for each class.  This is sure to be overwhelming to even the most organized student.  Aside from needing to remember which binders you would need each day, the sheer volume of materials being hauled to and from school is inefficient.  A better and far simpler system would be to create 3 simple binders.  A one inch black binder, a one in red binder, and a half in white binder are all that is needed to set up an organized and color coded binder system.

In the black binder, have your student insert pocket dividers labeled for each class they have on Black Days.  Do the same for Red Day classes in the red binder.  The smaller white binder can be used for the one class that meets every day.  Pocket dividers are great because the student can slip hand outs and note sheets in the pockets without having to worry about hole punching.

Now, I’m sure you can imagine that these pocket dividers are not meant to hold a year’s worth of papers.  And, for a student who with organization, having them stuff papers in a folder is sure to lead to other organizational problems over time.  We suggest keeping a hanging file folder system, like a Pendaflex No Desk Organizer at home.  At least once a month, have your student purge papers from their pocket dividers and store the important stuff in the file system kept at home.  This way, the student can easily access chapter tests and review packets from October when they are studying for the final exam come June.

So there you have it.  A pretty basic system for helping even the most disorganized high school student get a grasp on the paper flow to and from school.