5 Tips to Help the Disorganized Student

Memory aids are a helpful way to remember tasks and materials. Photo © Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

A student's poor organizational skills can easily be improved by providing a routine and by clearly stating directions and expectations. Disorganized students often forget homework, have messy desks, cannot keep track of their materials and have poor time management skills. Teachers can help these students by providing a structured routine along with strategies to keep them organized. Use the following tips to help your disorganized student manage their responsibilities.

1. Set up a Routine

By providing structure in the classroom the disorganized student will have no choice but to stay organized. Establishing a classroom schedule will allow students to be less frustrated and confused, and will provide them with a sense of where they are going and what materials they will need. To lessen their confusion, place a schedule in their folder or tape one to their desk. This way, the student can use it as a reference throughout the day.

2. Use a Checklist

A checklist is a great tool for a disorganized student because it shows them the expectations that they need to accomplish for the day in a visual format. For younger students, have the list already prepared for them and go over it with the student each morning. For older students, provide strategies for prioritizing their own checklists. 

3. Monitor Homework

Encourage parenteral support by writing a letter to parents describing your homework policy. Require that each night after the homework is completed, it is signed by a parent and returned to school the following day. This process will ensure the student stays on task and encourages parents to be involved.

4. Organize Classroom Desks

A disorganized student will not take the time to clean out their desk. Each week set aside time in your class schedule so students can complete this task. Brainstorm organizational ideas with the students on specific ways they can keep their desks tidy. Make the list visible in the classroom so each week they can have access to it. Suggest that they label materials for easy access and throw away items they no longer use.

5. Use Memory Aids

Memory aids are a helpful way to remember tasks and materials. Have the student use tangible items such as sticky notes, rubber bands, index cards, alarm clocks, and timers to remind them to complete their tasks for the day. Encourage them to use memory aids like this acronym: CATS. (C=Carry, A=Assignment, T=To, S=School)

Teaching these new strategies will help students complete their tasks efficiently and effectively. These tips give students the tools they need to manage their obligations and to be successful in school. With a little help and ​encouragement, disorganized children can easily get on a new path. 

Additional Tips to Keep Students Organized

  • Use the buddy system and assign a classmate to assist the student with their organizational skills.
  • Use different color paper for different subjects so it is easier to locate papers.
  • Require papers be put into binders.
  • Have the student put important materials in their take-home folder or backpack as soon as they receive them.
  • Use different color folders for different subjects so the students can locate them easily.
  • Provide containers for small items so they will not be lost.
  • Provide a monthly calendar and label when assignments are due.
  • Have the student show you their completed checklist each day before they go home.
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Your Citation
Cox, Janelle. "5 Tips to Help the Disorganized Student." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, thoughtco.com/tips-to-help-the-disorganized-student-2081672. Cox, Janelle. (2023, April 5). 5 Tips to Help the Disorganized Student. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/tips-to-help-the-disorganized-student-2081672 Cox, Janelle. "5 Tips to Help the Disorganized Student." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/tips-to-help-the-disorganized-student-2081672 (accessed May 30, 2023).