Your best advice for helping an unorganized child (8th grade)

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Posted 2/4/2013 by KarinMS in NSBR Board
 

KarinMS
The pea currently in a state of flux.

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Posted: 2/4/2013 5:47:08 PM
My 14 year old has dyspraxia and to make it worse he's the most unorganized kid you'd ever want to meet. He uses a computer at school but it's in for repair at the moment. He came home today heartbroken after his teacher told him he was going to fail if he couldn't organize himself better.

He is getting mainly B's in school but he is dealing with extra papers due to the computer situation and his teacher is not very technologically advanced so she wants him to deal with day to day school 'the oldfashioned way',sigh.

How can I teach him to manage his paperwork betterment he can't even get papers in his binders without ripping the punched holes.

bugluver
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Posted: 2/4/2013 5:59:16 PM
If the computer is a part of an IEP or 504 she needs to get on board and not be so rude to your son. If the computer is not written into an education plan it should be.

KarinMS
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Posted: 2/4/2013 6:19:01 PM
The computer is in his IEP. We have an IEP meeting in a few weeks so you can bet I'm going to be addressing this matter. In the meantime, any ideas how to help him keep a bit more organized? I'm thinking big envelopes for his papers until he can get some assistance in filing them in his binders?

mvavw
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Posted: 2/4/2013 6:32:39 PM
Since you specifically mention papers, maybe this will help.

Are you able to sit with him and help him? (some kids will let you, others won't) If you are, have him use a two pocket folder. Every day, he should put all papers that are received (in every class) on the right side and all papers that have to be turned in to school on the left. When he comes home from school, go paper by paper and put the papers that belong in the binders away (use reinforcements if necessary so they don't tear). As he completes his homework, place it in the left side of the folder. When he goes to school, the right side of the folder should be empty. When he comes home, the left side should be. All he'll have to keep track of is the one folder this way.

Another helpful thing is reinforced looseleaf. It's expensive, but worth the investment. It doesn't help for all of the photocopies, but does for notes and some assignments.

Good luck!

maria

janniepea
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Posted: 2/4/2013 6:51:57 PM
My son has ADD and it was such a crazy time in middle school with so many teachers and projects. We color coded everything - everything science was yellow, math was blue, etc. from book covers to notebooks to folders. We also wrote in fairly large letters what each subject was just to reinforce it. Did it help? Somewhat. It was still a struggle but somehow we survived and he got through (by the skin of our teeth, but he got through!)

WillowJane
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Posted: 2/4/2013 7:14:18 PM
We use a six-page pocket folder to organize school papers and have them organized like so:

a = Front Pocket; Work in Progress
b = Back Pocket; Reference Items

1a - Turn In Items
1b - Items with Questions
2a - English
3a - Social Studies
4a - Science
5a - Math
6a - Band
6b - Art

During the school day this is the only folder she gets out during class. DD can see her most important items when she opens it and can turn in her homework or be reminded she needs to ask questions about something on an assignment.

Every paper she gets through the day behind the last pocket page. Don't worry about organizing through the day - there is not enough time between classes. Just make sure the papers go into the folder and in the same spot every single day. When DD gets home she organizes everything into its proper place and determines what needs to be done.

This system has worked very well for DD because everything is in front of her. It has helped her build a habit of what she has to do with her school work everyday but its simple and not overwhelming.

She made the middle school honor roll for the first time the last grading period so she's all that and a bag of chips.


Here is a picture of the folder similar to the one DD uses:


3JaysA&C
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Posted: 2/4/2013 7:39:19 PM
My daughter is ADD and her grades completely turned around once we started using a 1 inch notebook for each subject.

Each notebook has it's own blank paper, a sheet that is taped into the inside for writing down assignments and 1 folder that has holes and stays in the notebook.

The notebooks are different colors and are the only thing besides the textbook, writing utensils, calculator that are taken out for that class.

Any paperwork that she receives in that class gets put into that notebook. She goes through each notebook at night when she is completing assignments to organize as necessary. Usually isn't needed though.

Definitely try a few techniques until he tells you what feels right for him. What worked for mine, might not work for yours etc.

Good luck!

sunny 5
PeaFixture

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Posted: 2/4/2013 7:48:16 PM
if the computer is part of the iep, I would call an iep meeting...or even a meeting with the teacher and the principal...he has a need for organization that has been identified and a goal has been set to be organized via a computer (I recommend this the most).

the teacher may not grade him down because the school is not meeting the iep goal...the school needs to provide a backup for his computer. the teacher can give him more time, or not grade him down due to his disability.

definitely..escalate this. it is too hard to switch systems for the whim of the teacher...a computer is a better long term life situation. I would also have a discussion with the teacher about telling your kid they are failing due to their disability...this is not helpful or supportive. the school needs to step up...in fact, they should provide a laptop that goes home with him if that will help him organize...and all papers can be kept in the cloud...so work is not lost.

KatieBPea
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Posted: 2/4/2013 7:52:58 PM
I would definitely push the issue that this is part of his IEP.

Each notebook has it's own blank paper, a sheet that is taped into the inside for writing down assignments and 1 folder that has holes and stays in the notebook.

Do you find that this works better than using an agenda?


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Kate-pea
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Posted: 2/4/2013 8:01:38 PM
First of all, it frustrates me to no end when teachers tell DS he needs to "just get organized." What a useless thing to say. What does he need to fix? Is he losing papers? Not turning in homework? Coming to class without a pencil?

For papers, he has found a zippered binder with accordion files (http://roots2learning.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/case-it.jpg) very helpful. He keeps current papers and notebooks on the 3-ring part, and he files non-current papers in the accordion part.


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PerfectCircles
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Posted: 2/4/2013 8:04:05 PM
I'm an 8th grade learning support teacher. I deal with the disorganization daily, then come home to my 6th grade son who is on the spectrum and do it all over again.

First of all the teacher should be giving extra help since his routine just changed. It's not fair to expect him to suddenly know how to stay organized with a brand new system.

I have a couple kids who are aces with accordion folders. No need to deal with holes, and if he comes home with papers out of place within the file you can help him sort it out so he can start fresh in the morning. We use them just like the other poster uses the 6 pocket folder.

All of our 7th graders are required to use a homework folder that we provide. 'To Do' in the left pocket, 'Done' on the right. This doesn't work for many of them because it's separate from their subject folders.

Scrapbrat1
Sue Pea

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Posted: 2/5/2013 7:17:22 AM

I have a couple kids who are aces with accordion folders. No need to deal with holes, and if he comes home with papers out of place within the file you can help him sort it out so he can start fresh in the morning. We use them just like the other poster uses the 6 pocket folder.

My 7th grader just asked me to buy him an accordian folder, and this is exactly how he uses it. He likes having his homework in a separate folder, with each subject having its own pocket. When he's finished with homework each evening, the papers go back into their respective pockets in the accordin folder. At school, homework always has to be turned in first thing, so when he gets to a particular class, he just checks the pocket for that subject, pulls out the homework, and turns it in. This has REALLY helped him feel organized.


Barbara
CKU-Indy -- March 2003
CKU-M, Salt Lake City -- August 2004

mom2jnk
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Posted: 2/5/2013 8:29:23 AM
My DS13 uses an expandable file folder or accordian folder. On the inside front cover, he has taped his schedule and locker numbers/combinations. The front section of the folder is labeled HOMEWORK and all homework from any class goes in there. Then he has a section for each individual class papers. He carries this to every class with him. We also did the color coded notebooks/folders for each individual class. We purchased a locker shelf system so that he has all the books and materials for morning classes on the top shelf, those for after lunch are on the second shelf and rarely used things on the bottom. He commented that he really likes the color coded notebooks as this makes it very easy to see what is needed for each class. You could even put colored labels on the locker shelf so that there is a visible clue where each class' materials belong, making organization of his locker a bit easier.


Michelle
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