Teaching Organization With
the A-B-C-D Method
One of the problems many teachers cite in kids today is that they are so
disorganized. This translates into lost homework, late assignments, disjointed
papers, and never being able to lay their hands on basic school supplies that
they should have right at their fingertips. You get the feeling that
disorganized kids come from disorganized homes. It has to be hurting their
schoolwork. Maybe parents are too busy rushing around on their impossibly
difficult schedules these days, but is it true that they are falling down on
the job when it comes to teaching their children simple organizational skills?
It very well could
be. It's uncanny how students who tend to be organized in school and can focus
on schoolwork resisting distractions tend to have at least somewhat organized
desks at school, and rooms at home.
On the other hand,
there are many very smart students whose backpacks, lockers and at-home study
spaces are so messy and disorganized, it's a wonder they get anything done at
generalizations are not always true, of course: there's always the genius kid
with the impossibly messy room who still pulls all A's, and the school slacker
whose room at home could pass the white-glove test. We all know kids whose
baseball card collection is precisely organized in minute detail alphabetically
and by batting order, while they have no idea what county their bike might be
in right at that moment.
Let's put it this
way: lack of discipline, and underachievement, come in all shapes and sizes!
But still . . .
it's worth it to help a child get organized. Teach your child a common-sense
way to clean closets, cupboards and drawers, and maintain a neat and orderly
desk at school, with these tips from household organization expert Deniece
It's called "The A-B-C-D
method." Here's how it works:
Define and store
each item based on its frequency of use. The more often you use something, the
more convenient and prominent its storage location should be:
A: something used every day (you
should never have to move anything to get to an A)
B: something used several times a
C: something used infrequently (you
shouldn't have to move it to get to an A or B)
D: dumpster, Disabled American Vets,
or other deserving agency - so rarely used, you should give it away
Take one closet,
shelf or drawer at a time. Use those odd 5-10 minute segments that we all have,
if we would just take advantage of them, to do one small thing: empty out that
one closet, shelf or drawer, put the items in A-B-C-D order, wipe surfaces, and
replace the A's, B's and C's.
Dispose of the D's
. . . and your child earns an "E" for "Excellent"!
Homework: If your disorganized child is a
little older, in high school, and you really want to attack this problem, get
the book The Organized Student: Teaching
Children the Skills for Success in School and Beyond by Donna Goldberg.