Saturday, February 13, 2016

All About Organization

Clutter.  Loose Papers. Trash. Old Snacks. Broken Pencils. Are you having flashbacks of any of the student desks at your school?! I hope the above picture is an extreme example, but organization is an area where many students struggle, especially as they move into the upper elementary grades.  I decided to tackle this important academic habit with my third graders in classroom lessons in January and February.  Depending on the classroom teacher, my third grade students have desks, book boxes, or cubbies they use to keep materials organized; some of the classrooms use tables instead of desks, but they all have some type of organizational system.

My lesson started with students brainstorming all the areas they could organize at school.  After a
sharing discussion, we specifically pinpointed the areas of backpacks, desks, and cubbies, and students rated their current level of organization 1-3 on a pre-test (3 was best). Next, we tacked backpacks and students had to transform my LEVEL 1 backpacks into LEVEL 3 backpacks while also completing a backpack scavenger hunt.  Each team received a scavenger hunt card of 5 items they had to find within the backpack while also organizing it. This activity was a great way to practice teamwork AND organizational skills!  I also used this fun rocket timer found here to jazz up the scavenger hunt a little more.

After students completed the scavenger hunt, we discussed the steps they took to organize the backpacks and students reflected on the changes they needed to make with their own backpacks. Students circled the specific strategies they could use on their pre-survey. Next, we tackled desks or book boxes/cubbies.  Again, students rated themselves on their current level of organization, 1-3. They completed a planning template of whichever area they were organizing, and we highlighted model examples as students completed the templates.

The final step was letting students know that there would be a check-in from the "desk fairy" or "organization fairy" in a few weeks to see if they had implemented any of the organizational strategies.  One important note is that I asked teachers to allow a few minutes during arrival and dismissal time so students could practice what we learned. That practice time is key if we want students to be successful and will affect how these follow up checks go.

So far, I have visited three classrooms and handed out special desk check "congratulation notes."  As always, I can tell some students really took the lesson to heart and are improving while others haven't invested the time to make changes yet.  I will return to the classrooms for a quick post-test (on the back of my pre-test) where they will rate themselves 1-3 again and do some reflection about whether they have followed through on the strategies they circled.  This lesson is really about promoting awareness of organization, its importance, and the specific strategies students can use to not be "that kid with the overflowing desk."

If you are interested in teaching this lesson and want my pre-made lesson plan, pre/post survey, planning templates, congratulations notes, and scavenger hunt cards all in one EASY packet, check it out here at my Life on the Fly TPT store.

Enjoy and Happy Counseling! ~ Angela
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...