- Organizational strategies to keep kids organized and engaged.
- Creating schedules to share resources within a household.
- Implementing an at-home reward system.
I asked a friend for some help with writing this blog post. I am admittedly not the most organized person, but am realizing what an important skill it is when trying to keep my own kids and myself on track in this remote learning environment.
Megan Guarnieri started her business called Little Miss Perfect Home Organization in 2012 (check out her Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/littlemissperfectorganization/). She helped me brainstorm ways to keep kids organized. Quite honestly these are good tips not only for your own children, but also to suggest to your students and their families.
Of course, some of these ideas may be harder to implement than others depending on how much space you have to work with and how many people are in your home. You can always adapt them as necessary.
Find a clean, quiet space
Find a space that is free of as many other distractions as possible. Ideally, kids should be able to sit and work on a flat surface like a table or desk. If possible, have them work in the same spot each day to maintain a sense of routine and normalcy.
Have as many supplies handy as possible for kids to use throughout the day. These may be shared by multiple kids, or each child may have their own. A basket or bin that contains pencils, scissors, glue, crayons/markers, sticky notes, etc., should be easily accessible.
Basket/Container for books
Have some type of basket, bin, or container for each child that can hold any resources they have. Many students brought home books, workbooks, notebooks, manipulatives, etc., and need a place to store them. Similar to the school supplies, this container should be easily accessible throughout the day.
You can label five drawers or five baskets/bins with the different days of the week. When your child completes something that is due on a specific day, put it in that drawer. Perhaps your students can use these to help them organize work or projects for their special classes, such as art, music, and gym. If more than one child is using this system, create a folder for each child within each drawer.
If your child will be handing in work upon returning to school, you can use labeled folders to store their work as they finish it. These can be kept in either their basket/bin or in the 5-tiered system.
“Sign-up” sheet for shared devices
If there is a computer or device that needs to be shared with other people in the household, try to create a schedule that allows enough time for each person. If you know that someone has a recurring online meeting daily/weekly, work that into the schedule. This will help eliminate fights over who gets to use what devices on a given day/time.
Kids of all ages like to be rewarded for their hard work, and remote learning is no exception! A lot of students are missing out on their teacher’s prize box. In lieu of that, create some type of reward system for them and hang the chart in a common area where everyone can see.
Just staying organized, completing their work, and cleaning up their space deserves a prize! Prizes don’t have to be big, and they don’t have to be material items either. They can be a one-on-one activity with a parent or sibling, choice of game for family game night, choice of take-out food, or choice of at home movie, for example.
If you can get your kids to clean up their space and supplies every day when they’re done, that’s also half the battle to staying organized. I’ve included a checklist with these tips on keeping students organized, which you can download for yourself and/or share with your students and their families.
Special thanks to Megan Guarnieri for these invaluable suggestions!
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ABOUT BECKY THAL
Becky Thal is a 5th grade math and science teacher in New Jersey and a Data Analyst for the Teach Better Team. Prior to starting her career in teaching in 2005, Becky worked for several years in advertising in New York City. She is an active member of her school staff, currently serving on several committees including SEL, Climate and Culture, and the Future Ready Team. Becky is also an active member of her community and her children’s schools. In her spare time, she enjoys trips to the beach, trying new restaurants, and attending her kids’ various games and events . Becky lives with her husband, three children and dog, Cliff, who she loves spending time with on the weekends.