ADD/ADHD in Middle School: Getting Organized
With multiple subjects and classrooms -- and the supplies that go with them -- middle school demands good organizational skills. Students are expected to juggle assignments from several courses, and to determine the amount of time needed for each.
The work itself demands a high level of mental order - classifying, bringing together pieces of information, following steps in sequence. For children who struggle with memory, focus, and time management, structure and support are essential.
What Teachers Can Do
- Provide schedules and checklists. Post a master monthly calendar in the classroom showing upcoming activities, projects, and deadlines - and be sure to allow time for students to transfer this information into their personal planners. Hang up checklists for procedures and projects (lab safety, library research), and hand out three-hole punched copies to students.
- Have a group clean-up. Provide time and assistance for students to clean out their binders, backpacks, and desks. Hold periodic desk and notebook inspections, and award prizes, such as a homework pass or tokens redeemable at the school store, for having a tidy desk and notebook.
- Give advance notice about upcoming projects and reports, and consider giving ADD/ADHD students a head start. Help them to choose a topic, and offer to look over outlines and rough drafts.
- Offer structure for long-term projects. Establish checkpoints for your ADD/ADHD students and monitor their progress. Make sure they have all necessary materials. Post deadlines and refer to them frequently. Contact parents to make them aware of the projects and due dates.
- Teach note-taking skills, using index cards or standard outline forms.
Step Six: How Parents Can Help with Organizing