The No-Stress Zone: Organization Methods, Tips, and Advice

barthomework

Hi students, teachers, and parents! I welcome you to the first official post in The No-Stress Zone blog series, in which I offer middle and high school students advice, methods, and tricks to prevent stress before it’s caused and help reduce stress when it’s caused.

I will begin with some methods and tips on a particular subject that almost every teacher emphasizes numerous times throughout the school year: organization. Although there are students who are able to get their school work done and maintain good grades even if they have a somewhat messy binder or backpack, there are students who are not able to do that. Have no fear, because I have a couple of ways of organizing your school papers!

Please note, I do know that there are some teachers who prefer a specific system of orangization for their students. This post is for the students who do not have a system of organization for themselves but would like one. Also, these are methods I have personally tried and they have worked for me, but please free to tweak them to fit your personal learning styles and organization preferences.

Fold ’em Together! (The Folder Method)
This is the organization system I am currently using and it’s probably my favorite method of organizing my schoolwork.
What you will need for this organization system includes:
– Two pocket folders with prongs (There are paper and plastic available)
– Loose leaf lined and graph paper
– 3 subject notebook (if permitted by teacher)
– White sticky labels (if needed)
– Journal or planner to keep track of homework assignments and due dates.

What to do:
In one of the pronged two pocket folders, place lined and graph paper. This pocket will only be used to store paper for doing homework or taking notes. If you would like, you can label this folder with a white sticky rectangular label to remember what will be stored in this folder.

In another one of the pronged folders, fasten a divider with pockets into the prongs. You can use these 3 folders to store class hand outs such as daily vocab words or project hand outs. This can be a good alternative to a binder because there’s no fuss with binder rings and the folders are lighter than a binder. Each folder can be for a different class such as science, history, or English.

If you have a class that requires a notebook and your teacher isn’t specific about what kind of notebook you need (ringed or composition), I reccemond using a 3 subject ringed notebook from Papermate. These notebooks come with 4 folders that give you extra space to store class handouts and they come with 3 sections of lined paper. Each notebook can be for a different class, such as science, history, or English.

You will be getting graded work back almost every week, and I highly reccemond keeping these papers. You can use a regular two pocket folder (without prongs) to store the papers.
When you complete homework, you might forget to turn it in or might lose it. If you use another two pocket folder (without prongs), this won’t happen. One pocket can be for the homework you need to complete, and the the other pocket will be for the homework you need to turn in.

If you have a class that doesn’t require a binder or notebook, but your teacher still gives you hand outs from time to time, you can use a 1/2 inch binder to keep the papers in.

When your teachers assign due dates, homework, and projects, be sure to jot them down in a planner. If you don’t like typical monthly, weekly, or daily planners that are sold in stores, you can buy journals to keep track of homework.
The folder method is currently my favorite organization method because it doesn’t take a lot of space in my school bag and I peronally don’t like dealing with heavy binders.

If you like binders more than folders, the binder system is also available.

The Binder System
What you will need for this binder system includes:
– 2″ to a 3″ binder with pockets (depending on my how many classes you recieve hand outs from)
– Dividers with pockets (with tabs)
– Loose leaf lined paper and graph paper
– Notebook to take notes
– Two pocket folders
– Journal or planner to keep track of homework assignments and due dates.

What to do:
Loose leaf lined and graph paper is placed at the bottom of the binder.
If you have classes that don’t require you to keep a binder or notebook but you still get handouts from time to time, place these on top of the loose leaf paper.

Each of your core classes (science, history, math, English, etc.) will get its own pocketed divider with tabs (I highly recommend using the label inserts that come with the package of dividers to label your classes with). These dividers have pockets that will be used to store class handouts for easy access.

I recommend the dividers be stored in the binder in numerical order (your first class of the day with the last on top of the classes that don’t require a binder or notebook).
To take notes in class, you can either write on loose leaf lined paper and store these in your binder or use a notebook (whichever you prefer, or whichever your teacher prefers).

To store homework that you need to complete and homework you need to turn in, you can also use a two pocket folder.

To store passed back graded work, you can also use a two pocketed folder.

When teachers assign homework, projects, and due dates you can buy a monthly/weekly/daily planner from an office supply store or use a journal to keep track of homework.

These are the best two organiztion systems I have used to organize my school stuff. Please use whichever system you prefer, while keeping in mind your teacher’s preferences.

For more tips to decrease school stress, remember to check back to The No-Stress Zone.

— post by Mia, 18, teen blogger, West Seattle branch

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