12.03.2009

Getting Organized

My boy has been having some organizational issues at school. In short, he is finding it quite challenging to keep track of his assignments and and get them turned in on time.

His teacher's policy, which I fully support, is to deduct points for each day that the work is late. After having a few A+ assignments turn into C's, the hubby and I decided to have a little intervention. We insisted that he bring home all of his stuff so that we could help him get organized.

Let me tell you, I was not prepared for the mess that he pulled from his backpack Monday afternoon. Keep in mind, the boy brings home an assortment of textbooks and folders each day. I just never realized exactly how much stuff there really was.

He has a take-home folder, a spelling folder, a reading folder, not to be confused with the book club folder, a math folder, a science folder, a social studies folder, and a writing folder. I'm fairly sure that's all of them... although I can't make any promises.

Each folder contained approximately nine hundred pieces of paper... notebook paper, various assignments that were still being worked on, assignments that were completed but still needed to be turned in and assignments that had been graded sometime between now and last August. It was overwhelming, even for organizing-loving me.

The boy and I went folder-by-folder, tossing things that he no longer needed (like seven random papers from the Medieval unit that the class did at the beginning of the year). He then designated one side of each folder to hold work that was still in progress. The other side was reserved for things that were completed and graded, but too important to throw away just yet.

Any assignments that he had completed were put into one side of his take-home folder so that he would remember to turn them in first thing in the morning. He then carefully wrote a label that read "Turn in to Dr. M.!!!" and put it on the pocket.

It was a daunting task, but the boy did an amazing job. I was incredibly proud of how he took the lead, sorting and organizing things in a way that works for him. He even decided to go on ahead and finish all of his outstanding assignments... even things that weren't due for over a week.

The boy also took the liberty of creating Fabulous Folder Friday. This is a clever spin on regular Fabulous Friday, except that in addition to watching old Tarzan movies during lunch, my boy has decided to bring home all his folders so that he can give them the once-over each weekend. I thought it was a brilliant idea.

When we were finally finished, the boy commented how the sick feeling in the pit of his stomach had disappeared. He had clearly been far more stressed out about things than I even realized. Poor little man.

It made me wish that I could just wrap my boy in bubble wrap so that he would be protected from anything that might hurt or upset him. Alas, that is not the way this whole mothering thing works.

One thing I have wondered is why my boy's school insists on giving their students a stack of loose folders to manage. When I was growing up, once we outgrew our Big Chief Tablets, we were given Trapper Keepers. Remember those?

I was able to store all of my folders, and thus all of my assignments, in one place. Imagine that.

After a quick Google search I noticed that the fine people at Mead are still marketing a more modern version of the Trapper Keeper. That and a good multi-subject Five Star notebook would be perfect for my third-grader.

For some reason, the-powers-that-be forgot to ask my opinion when they made the school supply list last year. I have no idea what they were thinking.

1 comment(s). Leave yours!:

gretchen from lifenut said... Best Blogger Tips

Does your son go to a Core Knowledge curriculum school? Just wondering...

I hope your solution works out for him. It's obvious we aren't all born organized. Sigh. I ADORED my Trapper Keeper.

We had/have (grrr) similar issues with our 4th grader this year. The most infuriating thing is that sometimes, he would do the assignment but still not turn it in (which I find baffling).

He's a messy kid and I think he is overwhelmed by papers, which must be wrinkled and wadded for him to function.

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