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Strategize Organize LLC
Newsletter Volume 5, Issue 10

Back to School?!  It's only July! 


Background


As a kid I hated hearing back to school advertisements in July.  But the reality is that by the time the next newsletter comes out, most students will be back in school or very close to their first day.  So here we go . . . the Back to School Newsletter!
 
This newsletter highlights three common difficulties when it comes to school organization and gives some practical solutions. 
 
Three Common Difficulties

Turning in Homework and Other Important Paper

It’s common for students to forget to turn in their homework or other important paper such as permission slips.  One way to help with this is to make the remembering as easy and “in one’s face” as possible. Do this by placing homework in a clear poly envelope(s), see http://amzn.to/14haXCZ, or folder(s). The transparency of the folder allows the homework papers to be seen, which is a visual reminder to turn them in.  The number of homework folders or envelopes needed depends on the student.
 
Papers that aren’t connected to a specific class can either be slipped into the front cover pocket of a 3-ring view binder, see http://bit.ly/19w3Lns (it has clear plastic which forms a pocket on the front cover of the binder), or binder clip the paper to the current week of the planner. 

Carrying Around the Right Amount of Paper

Even after only a few weeks of school, paper starts to build up.  The fullness of the folder or envelope makes it difficult to slide papers in and out.  When folders are stuffed, papers end up everywhere: in the backpack, planner, emptier folders, or in books.  It is important to make the paper put-away and retrieval process as easy as possible. 
 
One great way to do this is to have a place at home for older paper from the past week or two.  This can be accomplished by using other 3-ring binders that are set up in the exact same way as the binders used at school. Another option is to use open file box folders, see http://bit.ly/18QvG1Y, for each subject and category (notes, tests, worksheets).  At the end of the week pull out the notes, tests, and worksheets and put them in the “at home paper place.” This leads to easy access and put away of current papers and old notes, tests, and worksheets are available for test prep.
 
Doing Homework and not Getting Distracted

One way to deal with distractions is to create a 30 minute “homework music playlist.”  The idea is that the student becomes so familiar with the playlist that it becomes “white noise.” Another advantage of playlists is that if students need to travel for extracurricular events, they can put in their earbuds, listen to their playlist, and get some homework done on the road. 
 
An important note: sites like Pandora or Spotify aren’t helpful because the playlists are random, not regular.
 
Final Comments

What is really important about the first two suggestions, clear folders/envelopes for homework and an "at home paper place,” is to encourage regularity and consistency in doing the action associated with the suggestions.  By consistently putting the homework in the designated clear envelope and by emptying out school folders into the “home paper place,” helpful school habits will develop.  
 
In terms of suggestion three, of course a student doesn’t have to listen to a playlist.  Yet a playlist is useful when there are distractions.

Here's to a more organized school year,
Susan


You can find my website at http://www.strategizeorganize.com
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