Why organize for school success for middle schoolers? The transition from elementary to middle school can be exciting, scary, challenging, and rewarding. Most students find it’s a time of increased responsibility – when parents and teachers pull back from hand-holding, and let children start to take the lead with life skills like managing their calendar, daily schedule, homework, and belongings. These are all LIFE skills that students will use into adulthood; and middle school is the time to start mastering them.
As a student, being organized means finding what you need, when you need it. It means it’s easier to get things done correctly, on time, and get desired outcomes for your goals. How does one do this?
- Cut the clutter – have a clear space to do homework
- Revel in routine – a drop zone for backpack and coat, a time and place to study, prep for the next day
- Assign a “home” for everything – similar things together, store items near where they’re used
- Paper management system – daily, weekly, and monthly maintenance
There are lots of tools out there to help students with staying organized. The most important item is a planner. This will log ALL your life commitments, not just school work. When you see the big picture on how a book report, math worksheets, and science presentation fit into a week that also has soccer practice, chess club, a special dinner with family, only then can you plan well for how to get everything done. Here’s one planner we love: https://www.itssimplyplaced.com/shop/order-out-of-chaos-academic-planner/.
Students also need a way to keep, use, and manage paper. This might be a 3 ring binder, an upright accordion file, or colored pocket folders. Use and clean out your paper management system daily so homework is easily found and gets done on time. Keep the backpack and locker organized as well. Having a regular “clean out” time will help make this happen.
Most schools ask students to create individual goals each semester. Set SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, results oriented, timely), and that students have “bite sized” pieces they can tackle toward reaching them. Setting and achieving goals will be necessary for the rest of their lives so they can reap the rewards by learning this skill.
Reward and celebrate success. Students can brainstorm lots of low or no cost ways to reward themselves. Once students hit middle school, reaching both school and personal goals will require time management. Until now, most kids have had teachers or parents guiding their day and their time. But middle school will put time management squarely on their shoulders. These are some ways to make it successful:
- allocate time for priorities – both work and fun
- minimize distraction – there is no such thing as multi-tasking
- stay focused – use a timer, set an alarm
- set up rewards – enjoy a favorite distraction!
Finally, middle schoolers are making huge growth transitions in both body and mind. Encourage them to take care of themselves – including getting sleep, good nutrition, exercise, and some R&R.
For more information on how to organize for school success at any age, contact Simply Placed for a one on one, small group, or seminar style presentation of all this information and more.
You can also sign your middle school son or daughter up for the upcoming Teen Wise seminars on May 6 and May 13 where organizer Lynette Apley will be one of the presenters at this middle school prep event. It is sure to be a valuable event!