I am constantly reminding my students that the most successful students are not necessarily the smartest. Successful students simply value and take advantage of the benefits of being organized more than less successful students. Being organized is more than keeping your papers in order. It's a calculated approach to success that involves time, materials and workspace management.
Time Management: The sooner a student masters the art of time management, or the organization and effective use of time, the sooner he/she will experience success. This is true while in the classroom, at home and everywhere in-between.
Most class periods are broken into the following segments:
- Beginning: [10 +/- Minutes] Getting to class on time, gathering required resources and preparing materials with minimum distractions is imperative. Students who have their things organized when they enter a classroom always have an advantage for success because they are quickly and actively engaged in the “Do Now”, direct instruction and guided practice. Worrying less about where things are provides students with more time to focus on mastering daily objectives, which ultimately makes them successful.
- Middle: [20 +/- Minutes] Students who systematically organize their work time to include independent practice, sharing and questioning demonstrate more success with regards to maximizing their learning experiences. Since every minute counts during each class period, it’s critical for students to develop the ability to organize the middle segment of lessons to best meet his/her needs. Spending too much time on independent practice without sharing or asking questions will often lead to misunderstandings. Spending too much time on questioning or sharing and not enough on independent practice often has the same result. Successful students have the ability to effectively organize their work time.
- End: [10 +/- Minutes] Students who routinely organize the middle segment of each lesson are better prepared for effective endings. The closing minutes of every lesson offer an opportunity for students to solidify understandings, question misunderstandings and share connections etc. Additionally, the end of each class period is the time for students to organize their materials in a manner that will facilitate the absolute best next beginning. Successful students understand the benefits of organizing themselves before and after every learning experience and make it a priority.
Materials: Students who make a conscience effort to organize their materials at school, home and in transit are more successful. Acquiring and replenishing the required materials for each class is imperative throughout the school year. Successful students don’t need to be reminded about this.
Workspace: Successful students maintain a comfortable and organized workspace that is stocked with the required materials for their learning experiences.
Organization is without question a key to success. Students who are intrinsically motivated to organize their time, materials and workspace are undoubtedly more successful than those who don’t.