At Big’s school last year, he was given 2 identical notebooks: one for spelling, one for homework assignments. On the outside, the notebooks looked exactly the same–both had only his name on the cover. For the first few weeks of school, he faced complete confusion: writing homework in his spelling book, unable to find his spelling words in his homework book, and, often, bringing home the wrong book.
The first week of school, I asked if we could label one book with a title. Nervous, because he didn’t know the teacher and didn’t want to do wrong by her, he refused.
But after another 2 weeks of confusion, he agreed that we needed an organization solution. A very simple one.
I took out a marker and labeled the books: homework and spelling. It amazed me that the teacher didn’t lead her 7 and 8 year old students in writing “HOMEWORK” and “SPELLING” on their books, but I suppose she didn’t see this as something in which students needed guidance. (Teachers, please note: students need guidance because they’re afraid to do something against your grain.)
Next, I highlighted the outside of each book a different color, so that when quickly reaching for each book, Big would know which color to look for.
After adopting this organizational tactic of labeling and color-coding, all confusion between the two books ceased. It was amazing what a simple change will make.
Lesson learned for both me and Big. This year, I’m keeping my eyes open on both the kids’ supplies. As soon as we determine the purpose of books, we’re pulling out sticker label that the kids can decorate to title each notebook and folder with not only their name (which is already on there) but also the purpose of each.
Such a simple concept, but a lesson learned.
© 2012, Julie Meyers Pron. All rights reserved.