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Teaching Kids Early Organizational Skills

Understanding the organizational skills used by children has become increasingly complex and important-and organizational differences among students play a large role in determining which children get the most out of their educational experience. "Many second and third graders have difficulty with organization. It simply doesn't come naturally to them," says Judy McAlear, a special education teacher in Fernandina Beach, Fla. Many seasoned teachers seem to prefer the use of folders to help teach organizational skills. For example, Nancy Boudon, who teaches first grade at Prospect Elementary School in Elyria, Ohio, has students carry a "Blue Dot Folder" in which they keep important papers and worksheets and a "Take Home Folder" with two pockets. Another organizational tool used by teachers is Seat Sack™, a bright blue fabric storage bag that fits over the back of a student's classroom chair and holds folders, papers and other items.

By adding another storage area to a child's desk area, teachers help eliminate "desk stuffing," a sloppy practice that inevitably leads to confusion and lost time. Tips For Parents • Teach your child how to store and transport papers and other items to and from school; • Consider using "To Do" lists and "Chore Charts"; • Assign your child a specific time to study and do homework each day; • Create a place for your child to complete homework. Be sure that location is stocked with appropriate supplies; and • Offer plenty of praise when your child exhibits good organizational skills. In addition, many teachers also agree that continual communication with parents is vital in teaching these and other skills. Face-to-face conferences, notes sent home with the students and, in Boudon's case, a personal Web site allow parents to keep current with classroom activities.


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