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Increase Academic Achievement Through Organization

Ask any educator about qualities that high achievers share, and almost all of them will agree on the undeniable link between organization and academic achievement. As a former flight instructor, I can confirm that my best students always arrived for their lessons prepared and ready with a plan of action on a consistent basis. More often than not, the main obstacles standing in the way of a student's success are related to simple organizational skills and effective time management.

In the course of working closely with students, educators site issues like misplacing homework assignments, forgetting important due dates, and setting impractical expectations for completing long-term projects were common roadblocks to their success. To pave the way for substantial academic accomplishments, it is crucial to establish a foundation of organizational support right from the outset of the school year. As a successful student, I utilized the following products and strategies for success:

Organize Your Materials Image: Expandable File Folder

In many contemporary educational settings, teachers now advocate for the use of dedicated binders for each class, complete with specific tabs for note-taking, handouts, and other pertinent materials. This structured approach is designed to cultivate strong organizational habits among students, and it can indeed prove effective. However, my experience has revealed that a subset of disorganized students tends to adopt a "minimalist" stance, disregarding the prescribed guidelines provided by teachers. Instead, they opt for a less optimal approach. Frequently, these students would carry around a single 3-subject notebook into which they haphazardly stuffed school papers, often losing crucial assignments during the brief journey from their English to Chemistry classes.

If your student resonates with the challenges I've encountered, I propose considering the accordion folder as an invaluable ally. Select a folder with ample sections to accommodate each core subject. Additionally, designate a separate compartment for homework, allowing your student to promptly file assignments as they are assigned. For note-taking, you might opt for a dedicated notebook per class or a multi-subject notebook that can be carried throughout the day, eliminating the need for frequent visits to lockers during short passing periods.

Embrace the Power of a Planner Image: Day Planner

Planners play an indispensable role in recording daily homework assignments as well as deadlines for extended projects. While most educators break down larger assignments into manageable steps, older students tend to enjoy greater autonomy in this process. When a substantial task, such as a research paper, is due on a specific date, students must allocate ample time throughout the week for pre-writing, drafting, revising, and other essential stages. Waiting until the eleventh hour is a recipe for submitting a subpar product, often after a sleep-deprived all-night effort, or worse, failing to submit the assignment on time.

Consider this example plan for crafting a basic paper:

  • Monday: Brainstorming

  • Tuesday: Outlining

  • Wednesday: Drafting

  • Thursday: Revision/Editing

  • Friday: Finalize/Publish

The same principle applies when multiple significant assignments share a due date. This scenario frequently arises during final exams when students confront tests and papers across all subjects. To alleviate the strain, advocate for spreading out study sessions and project preparations over several weeks.

Curate Your Study Environment Image: Study Space Organizer

It is widely acknowledged that success thrives on routine. When your student establishes a consistent time and place for tackling homework, academic achievements are likely to ensue. This dedicated space might take the form of a desk, the dining room table, or any other suitable location conducive to focused work. Enhance this environment with a study caddy, as depicted above, ensuring that all necessary supplies are within arm's reach. Depending on your student's age, the contents of this caddy may encompass everything from crayons and glue to protractors and scientific calculators.

Archive Your Materials Image: Stackable Mesh File Crate

As time progresses, your accordion folder is bound to accumulate a wealth of documents, not all of which will remain relevant to ongoing projects. Yet, within this assortment, there could be resources worth preserving for the long term (especially materials pertinent to final exams!). Safeguard any vital documents, such as explanations of key terms, grammar rules, mathematical formulas, and so forth, within a separate file as the academic year unfolds. Given the interconnected nature of skills, these reference materials could prove invaluable in the future.

Ultimately, academic triumph hinges on three pivotal factors: locating assignments, effectively executing tasks (utilizing notes), and adhering to deadlines (relying on a planner). The adage that it takes around 30 days to instill a habit underscores that success won't manifest overnight. It is imperative to sustain your commitment to the chosen methodology and provide ongoing support to your student until they achieve the level of independence necessary for flourishing academically.

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