33 Organizing the Activities and Places of School

School is an important activity in your life, but it can be hard to organize all of the different activities and places that are related to school.  In this chapter you will use what you’ve been learning about categories and patterns to organize everything about school better!

There are three different parts of your school life that need to be organized together:

1) The part that is designed and controlled by your school and teachers.  The organizing systems here define WHAT you have to do, WHEN you have to do it, and WHERE you have to be when you do it.

  • WHAT — the subjects or courses that you study, and how one or more teachers is associated with each of them.  Each of these subjects has readings, class notes,  homework assignments, and a few other types of resources that you use or create.
  • WHEN — the different time scales of school  — from the calendar for the school year to the daily schedule of periods for classes, lunch, recess, and other activities that are shorter in time than a school day.
  • WHERE  — the places where these school activities take place.  These places include classrooms, the cafeteria, library, gym, or other areas in the school, or you might be told to do them at home

2) A second part of your school life involves your own “organizing places” in your classroom and school where you organize books, computers, writing and art supplies, and the other resources you use and create.

  • These places include your desk, locker, and any storage “cubby” or “bucket” that is assigned to you by a teacher

3) The third part of your school life involves the “organizing places” and resources that are not at your school.

  • This includes the places at home where you do school-related work (desk, table, bookcase?)
  • It also includes organizing aids like calendars, notebooks, binders, or planners
  • Finally, it includes your backpack or whatever container you use to carry school-related things between home and school.
Organizing the WHAT and WHEN of school

When you are in elementary school, the  organizing system for school is very simple.  You have the same teacher for all or most of the subjects and activities, and you stay in the same classroom most of the day.   The plan for each day is the same day to make it easier for you to get through your school day.    A good way to show this organizing system is as a simple table with two columns, one for the period(time) and one for the subject or activity:

A good way to organize the resources you use and create in elementary school is with a notebook with dividers or with a divided folder like the one in the picture.  Each of your subjects should have its own divided place to keep everything.

In higher elementary grades or in middle school,  it is more common to have more than one teacher, because you might change to different classrooms for each teacher.   The number of subjects and activities you do is probably bigger, and it also likely that you don’t have the same schedule on every day. This makes the organizing system for school more complicated, as you can see in this table:

The greater complexity caused by more subjects and more teachers means that your organizing system for the resources you use and create with each subject also needs to be more complex. Instead of separate sections in a notebook or folder, you might need separate notebooks for folders for each subject.   A clever idea here to make it easy to find the notebook or folder you need is to use different colors for each subject.

Organizing the WHERE of school– at school

There are usually three places at school where you organize things.

  • You might have a desk in your homeroom
  • In some classes that use a lot of supplies or create a lot of things you might have a “cubby” or “bucket” assigned to you.
  • You will almost certainly have a locker.  This is the most important of these organizing places because it needs to organize school resources, personal supplies, lunch, and anything you need for after school activities. If you’re lucky,  you locker has shelves that you can use to arrange things. If you’re unlucky and it doesn’t, you can buy a shelf system like the one in the picture here or stack plastic boxes on top of each other to keep things organized.

Organizing the WHERE of school– at home

You need to be organized at home so you can do your homework and other school assignments.   Depending on the size of your home, you might do this work in your bedroom, in the living room, in the dining room, or in the kitchen.

The most important requirement for your organizing system for doing your school work at home is that you can keep the resources you need close to where you will work with them.    Ideally you can have a desk with drawers or nearby shelves, but another way is to use storage boxes that you can keep in a kitchen cabinet or behind the couch in the living room.

The second most important requirement is that you should organize these resources using the same categories as you use for the resources that you keep at school.  So if you have separate binders or folders for each subject, divide the desk drawers, shelves, or storage boxes so there is one place for each subject.

Organizing your Backpack

Your backpack has a special job in keeping you organized for school. It enables you to move things from home to school and then from school back home. The most important thing to remember about your backpack is that it is NOT supposed to be a portable locker that contains everything, like the overstuffed backpack in the picture. Keep as many things as you can in your locker. Your backpack won’t be too heavy and will be easier to keep organized.


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"The Discipline of Organizing" for Kids Copyright © 2022 by Robert J Glushko is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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