Teaching Organization in High School

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by vateacher300, Jul 14, 2014.

  1. vateacher300

    vateacher300 Rookie

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    Jul 14, 2014

    One of the many things I want to improve in my second year of teaching is trying to get my high school students to be better organized. I was definitely not prepared and pretty shocked about the terrible organizational habits I saw last year!!!

    Lots of my students came to class without any supplies--binders, notebook paper, pencils, etc. This was not a money issue for these students, but rather an inability to be responsible enough to bring the required materials to school. I even tracked down $1 binders and offered them to any students who wanted one--not many takers. All of the classroom required supplies are listed in the course syllabus that parents have to sign and announced multiple times during the first week of school.

    It was frustrating when a class would leave and 50% of the handouts were getting left behind. This of course led to problems in the next class, when students needed said handouts all of a sudden. The constant need for pencils or paper to complete classwork was also irritating! Some of my fellow teachers last year told me to just refuse to give them a handout if it was lost or a pencil if they didn't have one. I couldn't do that.

    Do any high school teachers on here do binder checks? I had always thought that technique was more geared towards elem/middle and was too "babyish" for high schoolers. Part of me thinks they should have this down by the time they reach high school.

    What about open notebook quizzes? I used one early on in a class to reward students who were organized. I would be weary about using it too-often though since it's not a true assessment of learning.

    I am switching to a new school and now teaching Economics and definitely need my students to be organized this year. Looking for any tips/advice on this. :help:
     
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  3. beccmo

    beccmo Comrade

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    Jul 14, 2014

    One of my old time teacher friends required students to keep EVERYTHING in chronological order in their binders. She kept one as well. Her method of binder check: she specifically asked for students to resubmit 3-5 items by DATE only. I forget how many points she graded them on for this.

    As far as coming to class prepared I admit I am still working on this with my own students. It is frustrating. My comrade next door doesn't seem to have this issue (his students are not late either). For the first quarter he actually does a supply check (hold up your...) and if you don't have something he gives a detention. After that he does surprise checks. I tried this last year, but still had numerous students lacking needed supplies, although not to the point of previous years. What I learned is that I hate writing detentions.
     
  4. MsDouglas

    MsDouglas Rookie

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    Jul 14, 2014

    I think the biggest problem is that no one has explicitly taught our students how to organize their school materials and by the time they get to high school it's assumed they know how. I started using interactive notebooks last year as a way to get my seniors in high school organized. I figured if it was glued in and all in one place less things would get lost. The notebooks did help. I count my notebooks as test grades and grade them every test day. The students have to put a lot of work in the notebooks. I supplied glue sticks until the ones I bought ran out and then it was up to them. I found that if a paper did not get glued in immediately it was most likely going to get lost.

    I like the idea of supply checks. I hate writing referrals. However, I can tell you that my students are on time to class and follow the dress code. I write a ton of referrals the first 3 weeks and then I barely have to write any. Being prepared for class is a rule and it's insubordination if they don't have their materials.
     
  5. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jul 14, 2014

    I learned my current binder organization system from a fantastic High School teacher. I don't think doing binder checks or doing binder organization is too babyish for High School students.

    The system he taught me was too complex for my Middle Schoolers, so I use an adapted simplified system. Instead of dividers different colors of paper are used: gold for the syllabus, white for the bell-ringers, green for the student glossary, and then whatever the color is for the unit coversheet (changes each unit).

    Every section is given an alphabetic letter. It has to be in that order alphabetically. Then each page given to them needs to be written into a table of contents on the unit cover sheet. I did away with the table of contents because it wasn't getting used, and I just write numbers in the corner of each page. All of the pages need to be kept in numerical order for the unit.
     
  6. IdahoSpEdTeach

    IdahoSpEdTeach Rookie

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    Jul 22, 2014

    I'm planning on doing binders this fall and checking in with the students weekly and assigning a grade for binders.
     
  7. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jul 22, 2014

    We're a 1:1 school, so we don't have binders, but I explicitly teach digital file management in every lesson. It's a part of their grade for nearly every assignment. As someone else said, I think too many teachers just assume the kids know how, and they clearly don't! The same is true for time management, but that's for a different thread.... I don't think binder checks are at all "babyish".
     
  8. vateacher300

    vateacher300 Rookie

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    Jul 22, 2014

    Thanks for all of the advice! I will definitely work "binder checks" into the course this year. And yes, I definitely fell into the category of teachers who assumed HS students would have organization down! Boy was I wrong on that.
     
  9. vateacher757

    vateacher757 Cohort

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    Aug 5, 2014

    This is an interesting discussion and I got some great ideas. I too thought binder checks and even interactive notebooks were too elem/middle schoolish but you've given me someting to think about. I may be teaching econ and personal finance in the fall.
     
  10. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Aug 5, 2014

    For what it is worth AVID, probably the largest college prep program in the world at this point, does binder checks for kids all the way through high school.
     
  11. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Aug 5, 2014

    Ahh what a great idea! I believe our 8th graders are piloting 1:1 Chromebooks so it will be interesting to see how well they are trained to keep their Drives organized. Teaching organization in the "digital age" -- how exciting!

    But then, I am the kind of person who gets excited about nested files and color-coding my Google calendar... :whistle:
     
  12. vateacher757

    vateacher757 Cohort

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    Aug 5, 2014

    AVID is/was wonderful....my daughter was in AVID in elem and middle school sadly our school division discontinued the program.
     
  13. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Aug 5, 2014

    Me, too! I let them see my desktop and folder organization as I save and do things. I model, model, model!!!
     

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