How do you keep middle schoolers organized?

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by MissEducation, Oct 5, 2009.

  1. MissEducation

    MissEducation Companion

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    I'm having issues with kids not remembering assignments. I have a calender in the room that I remind them to check daily. They all have agenda books provided by the school and must bring them to each class (this serves as their restroom pass out of the room.)

    Should I dedicate a few minutes to "agenda book time" where we all write in our agenda books what is due the next day, or is this babying them too much? (I teach 7th and 8th grade.) I know that teachers will not do this for them when they go to high school. How do you *teach* organization?

    It's just mind boggling sometimes that after repeated reminders I still have kids who, once they've realized that they're missing an assignment, say things like, "Oh, we turned that in?" Um...have I EVER given an assignment that we DIDN'T turn in? Lol. :rolleyes:
     
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  3. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    I spend time during my LA classes at the very beginning of the period having ALL the kids write down the assignments in their assignment notebooks. I think it is time well spent, especially at the beginning of the year.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    As the mom of a 6th grader, I'm interested to see what else comes up here.
     
  5. Historyteaching

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    I have 9th/10th graders.

    I have a poster that I got from Scholastic that says THIS WEEK on the top (I got them during their end of year sale for $1) I have four. Two of them are dedicated to that week's agenda. Each Monday, the students are to write that weeks 'goings-on' in their agenda book.

    This allows them to know what is going on and another avenue for me when a students says but I didn't know about the test so that's why I failed, I can say, in addition to 1. I told you last week and each day this week 2. its on the website 3. its posted in the class and you were to write it down. I do have students that stopped after the first week or so putting the agenda in the book. On Mondays, I do announce you need to be putting the week's agenda in your planner (Some have lost them already)

    Also, last year (I changed this year). I required all students to keep a notebook-everything went in that notebook. If I handed it to them, it went in the notebook. It was a 3 ring binder actually, that included their notes. Ironically, this year because I have some in 10th that I had in 9th. I will have students come to me and say- do we keep this? I don't require it this year because I'm trying something different.
     
  6. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Oct 5, 2009

    All of our kids are required to have a three-ring binder with a folder for each class. We even made stickers for them so they could label everything. Mine want to throw things away when I return them, and they they just blindly toss things away and get things they are still working on as well. I have started making them write "expiration dates" on their assignments. I have some notes that we are going to use from October until December, and I made them all write "Keep until January" on them.

    Writing the agenda in the planner is on their "Things to Do When YOu Arrive" list. For long-term projects, I will have them write due dates and "checkpoints" in their agendas.

    You'll still have some who will never be organized. They'll probably turn into teachers who will come here and ask for advice on how to keep papers & clutter from overtaking their classrooms. :lol:
     
  7. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    We do this with our grade 7 and 8s daily. Some are more independent than others, but we find that this few minutes every day helps most of them become more organized.
     
  8. Mr.MiddleSchool

    Mr.MiddleSchool Comrade

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    Oct 5, 2009


    Monday of each week I "map out" what's happening in language arts class with my 7th graders in their planners/agendas. We write down homework assignments, when things are due, and special events that are happening. I know that some teachers devote "agenda time" everyday...kudos to them; I can't do it b/c there is just so much to cover in language arts/English class and very little time to do it.

    All this is just my humble opinion however. :)
     
  9. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    I give the same 3 types of homework assignments weekly. Vocabulary is due on Monday, Writing Projects on Tuesday, and Reading Logs on Thursday. Same type of project, due on same day, like clockwork. After about a month they get it. I give a quick reminder the day before, but most of the time they are reminding each other!
     
  10. Ceyber

    Ceyber Rookie

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    Oct 5, 2009

    Anyone tried online calendars?

    All our students have Google Apps accounts (what student DOESN'T have an email account yet) so we link them all up on a grade calendar. Each teacher posts the homework to the Google Calendar, and the students get it from there.

    The rule is - if it's not on the calendar, they don't have to do it, but if it IS on the calendar, they're responsible for it regardless of if they missed the day or you saying it.

    Take a look - iGoogle is free, and any student can sign up with any email.
     
  11. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    About half of mine don't have internet access at home.
     
  12. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    I live in a community where almost every student has online access at home, yet many of my students do not have their own email addresses because their parents limit their use of the internet. In order to complete assignments requiring an email addy, they use their parents'.
     
  13. Historyteaching

    Historyteaching Cohort

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    Ditto.
     
  14. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    We insist that our 6th graders write each assignment in their agenda books. We have a different color folder for each subject and a school folder for homework. I agree that they don't do this (make them write assignments) in high school but I think the longer that we insist on it, the better the habits will be.
     
  15. luv 2 teach

    luv 2 teach New Member

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    Mar 25, 2010

    turning in homework

    Anyone out there have any TIPS on getting students to turn in their homework? I have tried what seems to be everything. Planners, Sending home assignments so parents would sign it and I would look at it again in the morning. It seems as parents just don't care if the work is done and just sign the sheet just to get their kids off of their back....can anyone give me some tips to get kids to turn in their homework?!
     
  16. mrsf70

    mrsf70 Companion

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    Mar 26, 2010

    I use a wiki for classroom communications. I created a page this year for my 6th grade homeroom called Assignment Notebook. At the end of each day, the kids take out their assign. nb's, and we update the wiki on the Smartboard. We post upcoming projects, as well as daily homework. They like the reminder of it; in fact, the Friday before spring break, I told them we would skip it, but they insisted since some things were due in the first couple of days back. They also like the fact that they can go online and check it from anywhere.
     
  17. looneyteachr

    looneyteachr Companion

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    Mar 27, 2010

    helping kids be organized is not babying them - in middle or high school - i'm tired of teachers "they're ____ yrs old i'm not going to baby them" - when they have their own electric bill they are adults - not until then - it's our JOB to teach them organization etc!!!

    do you have a big calendar in the room with stuff written on it - when it's due - maybe appt a weekly "task keeper" who takes a minute at the beg and end of each class period and reminds kids what's due

    i know i have to put every little thing i do in my phone which sets an alarm that goes off all day long so i remember to do stuff -
     
  18. round stanley

    round stanley Companion

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    Mar 27, 2010

    a few thoughts

    Have your students interview an adult about being organized. What works for that adult, what are the consequences for being poorly organized, how being organized helps at work, etc.

    Also, if you have any little gems that work for you offer them too. The organizer is great if they are organized enough to remember where they put it.

    I bet there is some short, funny movie clip out there that showcases organization or lack of it. I just can't think of one now.
     
  19. Lakenjade

    Lakenjade Rookie

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    My oldest child had this problem. I found that if I got her a pocket folder that was dedicated to only her homework, she took it to every class daily. This was the only way I could get her organized! She wouldn't do it any other way. She would "lose" it and not show me the papers to sign. Her biggest problem was not being able to keep it all together and she would lose some of the assignments.
     
  20. Kyro

    Kyro Rookie

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    May 2, 2010

    As a campus we adopted a school wide binder system (based off of the AVID binder). From day 1 we encourage every student to set up their binder the same way. We then check it and check it often. We have a checklist of everything that should be in the binder and what order it should be in.
    The next step is making a brief amount of time to allow students to update their agenda (which once again is in the front of every binder).
    To help make sure the binders don't get too big we have all teachers store the material from a completed unit in their room and not the students locker. We're still working out some details but for the first year it has been a great help!
     
  21. shelceygirl

    shelceygirl Rookie

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    It is NOT babying them. Remember that their frontal lobes are still developing. Having kids write down assignments is time well spent.

    We start each Monday with calendar time. I have the whole week mapped out on a white board and the kids copy what I have into their school-issue calendars. It's painless and easy.
     
  22. chistu

    chistu New Member

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    May 11, 2010

    Definitely have them write it down- the brain is unreliable! Make sure your homework rules aren't too lax as well. Most kids are different but I find writing things down is just the easiest way to go.
     
  23. Iheartmath

    Iheartmath Rookie

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    My 8th grade math students all keep a 3-ring binder for my class. It's divided into sections: bell work, guided practice, lab work, test/quizzes. At the beginning of each math unit, I give them all a "table of contents" checklist that they clip in the front of the binder. At the beginning of the year I made sure to circulate to make sure kids were in the right section and labeling everything the way I wanted!

    And this year I tried something new which totally cut down on my workload. I had a binder check day where they traded binders and went through the checklist, and checked off it each item was there. If a mistake in checking was made, the checker lost points. Most of the kids were pretty well organized (but of course there's always those few that can't get it together!)

    I always dreaded collecting and checking binders but from now on the kids will do it for me;) Hope this helps!
     
  24. orangepurple

    orangepurple Companion

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    Do your fellow teachers all use the same systems?

    There are some great tips here! I notice that a few people wrote "we" have "our students" use certain procedures, and I'm curious about whether all the teachers are able to agree on organizational tips, common use of binders, planners, etc. At our middle school, we have agreed to meet before school starts to try to agree on certain common procedures. I'm curious as to how that works at your school. It seems to me that middle school kids might do better if the same expectations were reinforced in every class, but on the other hand, some teachers have their own ways that work for them. Your opinions on common organizational procedures?
     
  25. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    We absolutely have common standards. We have a folder system (a color for each subject) and a system for when students do not bring the required materials to class. This is 6th grade, school wide.
     
  26. CanadianTeacher

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    I haven't read through the whole thread, but I learned a trick this year that helps them take the responsibility. Display a piece of chart paper with the class list and assignments due. When an assignment is handed in, use a bingo dabber or just initial that it's done. When kids can't remember what they've done, etc... all they have to do is look at the list posted in the room. Before I learned this, I was making extensive lists and harassing students for missing work. This is so much simpler and I don't know why I didn't think of it.
     
  27. SashaBear

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    Jul 14, 2010

    I'm thinking of the Amish kids at the schools in the next county with NO ELECTRICITY! LOL
     
  28. LetsDoSomeMath

    LetsDoSomeMath Rookie

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    I did this during student teaching last year and will bring it into my classroom this year:

    On my whiteboard-- I have a section divided by that blue painters tape-- Down the left is the days of the week- M-F. Then on the top across is the class so it'll say (while I student taught)- 1st Hour, 2nd Hour, 3rd Hour, 4th Hour

    Then every Friday before I left school- I wrote all their homework in the correct spot for the whole week. Then every Monday when they came into class- I gave them time to write the assignments in their agenda and I did not give board work on Monday so I used board work time for agenda filling on Mondays.
     
  29. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I love this idea, CanadianTeacher--I'm going to have to steal this!
     
  30. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    Be my guest, I stole it from a colleague. Unfortunately, I only discovered it towards the end of the year (May) and asked her what it was when I saw it in her room. After that I made one of my own and it worked great! It's simple and easy and puts the onus on the students, and it's visual for those who need it. The only thing is to remember to check things off regularly.
     
  31. hp123

    hp123 Comrade

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    I think it is good to work with students on organization. In our district children are really "babied" with this. Teachers check and double check that they have everything they need. Once they hit middle school , the teachers expect them to be completely independent.
     
  32. BCPMWK

    BCPMWK Companion

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    I have an assignment sheet. I number the assignments and they write them down the page. I used excel, so they have a column with the number in it, a column to write the title of the assignment, a column for the due date, and a column for the grade that they made. At the end of class, we take a minute to write the info on the assignment sheet, which is kept in the very front of their binders.
     

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