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Tools for School

By now, if you have kids, they are undoubtedly back to school for the year. Even if they have been in for a week or two, many are still excited and feeling positive about the year ahead.

Remember how you felt the first day of school? Setting off to class with all your new school supplies, you felt confident you had all you needed to start the school year off right. Maybe it was your new Trapper Keeper with a velcro closure so all your papers would stay nice and neat even if you dropped it. Maybe it was knowing you had a dozen sharpened pencils and the erasers hadn’t been bitten off yet. Maybe it was knowing your assignments for classes were written down so you wouldn’t forget a due date. Maybe it was knowing you had a clean, organized book bag to hold all your supplies and the pens were in the special slots designed to hold pens. Maybe you recognized these things made you feel organized so you could start learning.

It is important to have the right tools to help keep your kids organized & productive.  Here are a few of the basics we recommend:


A Planner

As soon as the student hears of an assignment, a deadline, a project, an appointment or an upcoming event, they should write it down.  This frees the mind.

Time should be allocated each day for homework, studying, activities and for social engagements.  Teach your child to review the planner each night before giong to bed.  Preparing for the day ahead and packing up necessary homework, activity equipment, etc. can make mornings run much smoother.

Longer-term projects should be broken down into manageble pieces and plotted in the planner (working backwards from the due date of the report or project).


A Zippered 3-Ring Binder

If it’s dropped, things don’t spill out all over the place.  There should be subject dividers with a section for each class, a section for completed homework to turn in, and a section for blank notebook paper.

Take time each day to make sure paper gets put in the right place in the binder. Keep a three ring hole punch handy. Avoid just “shoving” paper anywhere in the binder.

Clean out this binder regularly, especially at the end of a unit in a particular class, to make space for new materials that will come in with the new unit.


A Filing Box or Drawer

File  papers here that you need to be kept as a reference at home (no longer in the binder). Once papers have been turned in, recorded by the teacher and returned, remove the papers from the binder and backpack and file them for reference, end-of-unit or end-of-term test study, and for safe keeping (just in case a teacher makes an error in their grade book – you have proof of the completed assignment and grade).

As a general rule, after end-of-year grades have been received, it is safe to toss most of the papers in these files and empty them for the new school year to come. Keep selected paper or school work for sentimental reasons (tucked away in a memory box), or to review key concepts before the following school year (ie: as a review before a continuation of the same subject; Spanish, Math, etc.).


If you know someone who wants to feel like every day is the first day of school, have them contact Simply Placed. Busy professionals can consider taking our upcoming GO System Seminar to increase focus, organization and productivity at work, and parents (and students grade middle school and above) can take our Organize for School Success class to learn more tips and tricks to putting their best foot forward all school year long.

Either way, we’ll help turn the chaos and clutter of  summer vacation into action, productivity and possibility for the coming year.

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