As you shop for school supplies for the upcoming year, “planner” is often on the supply list, especially for middle school and high school students. There are some schools that supply planners for the students. As a former administrator, I did this for many years. I would get together a student committee to pick out the cover for the year, select the supplemental materials (periodic table, world map, etc.) and I would order and distribute on the first day of school. The company that I used, like many of the planner companies, didn’t allow for different formats for organizing time. All were horizontal blocks of space with a date, and students would have to figure out their content within this box. I didn’t use it myself, as I prefer to organize in time blocks, with lists. I started noticing that students were purchasing their own planners or not using it, preferring their phone or computer as their main organizational tool. After talking with students, I discontinued purchasing planners because I was promoting a “one size fits all” type of atmosphere when it comes the planning. Instead, with the help of staff, we opened the conversation around organization and finding the right fit for them. Here are some key questions to ask when shopping for an organizational tool:
How does your student like to organize?
Does your student love notebooks and hard copies of documents? Love different pens, highlighters and stickers? Or are they attached to their phone, tablet or computer and digital color coding and icons? Either way is fine! It’s OK to have your student use Outlook, Google Calendar or other apps to organize their time! If your student prefers to e-organize and their school does require a tangible organizational tool, match up a simple calendar that looks as close to their favorite application as possible.
What format comes easy to them?
Does your student organize in lists? Daily timetable? Weekly calendar? Month-at-a glance format? Choose a format that they can utilize to fulfill their goals- whether it is checking off the list for the day, or looking at the whole month and chunking time accordingly, your student should feel a sense of accomplishment for whatever window of time feels best for them.
What does not work for them?
It’s also important to realize what doesn’t work for organization. I had a student who loved a brand of planner that many of her peers had. The planner itself was very colorful and was fun to look at. Inside, the planner just had blank blocks of time for each day. This student needed help with structure and while she loved having the planner for aesthetic appeal, she was not comfortable using it because it wasn’t a good tool for her.
Hopefully these questions can start a conversation with your family around how everyone can best organize their time and tasks.
Leave a Reply.