TEaching Organization: Scaffolding for Success with the messy desk
In the field of education, we strive to help children be independent and successful both social-emotionally and academically. We understand that we need to meet children where they are academically, so let’s apply this to teaching children organizational skills (especially to those children with executive functioning difficulties).
- Empty the entire desk or binder each time. From here, directly give the child each item that needs to be organized and have them place it in an appropriate pile. Next, have them place it in the correct spot (i.e., folder, trash, binder, etc.).
- Have the child take everything out and put it in appropriate piles and final locations while you provide direct oversight and additional feedback/modeling if needed.
- Provide the child with a visual or checklist (have the student check things off as they go! see below example of steps that may go into a checklist) and supervise them while remaining close by.
- Give the student the visual or written checklist, and have them check-in with you after a predetermined allotment (this could be after visual/check point number 5 or after 5 minutes).
- Next time, have the student use there visual/written checklist, and check in with you once they are finished.
- Take everything out
- Clean out any pencil shavings or small crumbs from the bottom of your desk
- Put loose papers into piles: one pile for each subject and one trash pile
- Put trash papers into the blue recycling basket
- Put papers into color-coded folders based on subject
- Put completed work that needs to go home on the left side and homework or work in progress on the right side
- Put all pens, pencils, erasers, and loose school supplies in pencil case
- Put everything back neatly with folders and notebooks on the right side and text books on the left side.
- Put your pencil case on the side of your choice
Sidebar Idea: Build in a conversation about predicting how long the child thinks it will take him/her to clean her desk or locker. Children with executive functioning difficulties (often our messy desk and locker children) often struggle with time-management or having a sense of time. Don’t forget to provide a visual for children using the clock or one of my favorite apps 360 Thinking Time Tracker App for the iphone or ipad.