Elementary School Basics

Parent and teacher strategies for a successful start at school.

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Organization: Managing Stuff 101

Handing in homework. Showing up for band practice. Finishing a report. From a tender age, children are expected to organize their environment and manage their time. But learning to prioritize and plan requires memory and focus - weak spots for children with ADHD. To compensate, they need systems and cues to bring them out of clutter and help them take control.

WHAT TEACHERS CAN DO

  • Color-code your classroom. Assign a color to each subject - red for reading, orange for math, and so on - and keep related books and materials in binders or bins of the same hue.
  • Post reminders. Hang colorful signs to show where homework, lunchboxes, and mail should be placed. (For younger classes, use drawings or photos.) Post reminders of daily routines. A dismissal reminder might say: Did you clear off your desk? Did you pack your book bag? Do you have your jacket, lunchbox, and homework assignment? Five minutes before the end of class, remind students to check the dismissal sign.
  • Provide support for handing in homework. Check to see that the student copies assignments correctly, and have her parent sign a homework sheet when the work is completed and packed in her bag for school. If possible, provide homework assignments in writing or post them to the school's Web site.
  • Organize loose papers. Homework, permission slips, and PTA letters are easily lost or crumpled. Provide three labeled pocket-type folders - "Homework to Do," "Homework Done," and "Mail" - that can travel in a book bag or be slipped into a binder.

WHAT PARENTS CAN DO

  • Request two sets of books. Make it part of your child's IEP or ask the teacher at the beginning of the term. With one set for school and another at home, there's less chance that a book will be lost or forgotten.
  • Allocate a place for everything. Organize your child's room so that ongoing projects, finished work, and school and art supplies can be easily found in labeled bins, folders, or file cabinets. To make school materials easier to locate, organize them according to the classroom color-coding system. Give your child tools for keeping his things in order - a three-hole punch, an accordion file, big binder clips.
  • Conduct a nightly backpack check. As your child packs for the next day, make sure that homework is in its folder and that necessary extras - musical instruments, gym clothes - are ready to go. Once a week, help your child clean out his backpack and work folders, and check on supplies that will be needed for the week ahead.
  • Help with time management. Give your child a daily planner to keep track of deadlines, appointments, birthday parties, drama rehearsals. Each evening, go over the next day's schedule together to help with planning and transitions. Talk about upcoming assignments and tests, and help her decide what's most important.

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TAGS: Organization Tips for ADHD Kids, ADHD Time Management, School Behavior, Homework and Test Help

 

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