Thursday, July 8, 2021


(During the summer months, I like to take the A-Z Challenge and come up with words alphabetically and see how they apply to education. I think it’s a great exercise for teachers and students to give this a try.)

I believe organization is the key to being productive. When you are having to hunt something down that you use often, you are wasting time that could have been spent doing what you wanted to do.

Every person has their own system of organizing but I don’t think we are born with this skill. We have to teach our students how to organize things. Things can be organized by color, shape, purpose, deadlines, and many other ways I haven’t even mentioned. Sometimes I change up how things are organized because I want a change or I have more knowledge about something.

When I first started knitting, I didn’t have too much yarn and so I sorted yarn into what they were made of. Wool yarn went in one area and acrylic yarn went into another. Then I started spinning yarn, so fiber went into another area. As my stash of yarn grew, I separated it into colors. Then I had different weights of yarn so they were separated into more subcategories. When I’m ready to start a project, I find it much easier to find the yarn that I want.

I know that sometimes my clutter at home gets out of control and I need to take the time to organize my stuff that I was too lazy to do earlier. When I find myself looking for something in that clutter, I end up kicking myself because I know better. I should have had this all organized so I didn’t waste time looking for what I want.

I remember a teacher telling students that they need to organize their work instead of stuffing it into their desks but I don’t remember the teacher teaching them how to organize their stuff. Then I saw a teacher having students get three-ring binders with dividers for each subject and telling them to put their papers in the appropriate section when they get them back. Yet, I haven’t seen any teacher actually give the students time to do this.

If I ask students to organize their work, then I should build in a 5-minute window for them to actually do the task. Once this behavior is learned, they will automatically do it without prompting but first, I need to teach them to do this.

If I want shelves of toys or books organized, I will set it up the way I want it organized and then take a photo of it. I will post the photo so students can refer to it to see if it is organized the way I want it. I can’t assume that students will remember the way it was organized after it gets messy.

How do you teach students to be organized? Please share.

Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

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