NotebookStudents with organizational difficulties often struggle in school. If extreme, they can be the reason for school failure. In order to do well in school, a student needs to complete the correct homework assignments each night, finish work assigned in class, and be able to find everything they need. I call these "student skills." I often hear teachers saying something like, "She just does know how to be a student." These students often arrive to class without their supplies and books, and they do not know what is due to be turned in.

Students I teach are all required to follow the same organizational system. Today’s blog will give a description of the basic notebook system. Other components of the system include ways to make sure students are completing their work and turning it in. Certain technological solutions can also assist. I will discuss these other components in later posts.

The notebook

Each student has two three-ring binders. These binders have plastic pockets on the outside where paper can be inserted.

In each binder, they have two spiral notebooks and two folders. The spirals and folders are matched by color—orange is for history, red is English, blue is math, and green is science. Next to the blue (math) folder they also have a pad of ¼ inch graph paper for working their math homework.

In one binder, they place folders and spirals for their first two subjects of the day. So if they have math and then English, they have their blue and red notebooks and folders. When they arrive to class on Monday, they receive their assignment sheets for each class. On the outside of the appropriate binders, they slip the assignment sheets down inside the plastic pockets. One goes on the front of the binder and one on the back.

They take notes in the spiral notebooks and place handouts and homework inside the folder. If they have a test, they also keep it inside the folder. I usually have my students label one pocket on the folder—"Keep a short time." This is for daily class work and homework they can discard after a test. On the other side—"Keep until after exams." This is for tests and review guides they will need when studying for their exams.

Using this system along with their textbooks, paper, and pencils, students have all the materials they need to complete their homework and other assignments for their classes.