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Teaching Organization-- elementary

Ms. J

Senior Member
I teach 3rd grade, and this is the first year I have had several students lacking in organizational skills. Although I encourage and have students use folders, there are still desks that just get stuffed with papers (instead of putting the paper or assignment in the correct folder). Students are unable to find necessary materials (pencils, pens) even though they have pencil boxes. I am pulling my hair out! Do you have any ideas on how to teach third grade students organizational skills? All ideas are welcome!


Senior Member
Man, I wish I knew how to answer that!

I teach 4th grade and one subject of 3rd. I really wish I could get my kids organized. On the first day of school I showed them how their desks, binders, and folders should look. I've spent so much time showing them how to take care of their materials and put it in the proper place, but it always gets messed up! Each week I take about 15 minutes and have the kids clean and arrange their desks properly and get organized. That helps a little. I also let students who are really good at organization help those who are lacking those skills. Other than that I don't know what to do!


New Member
5th grade still needs organizational skills

I teach the 5th grade. We work on organizational skills everyday. At the beginning of the year, the students put together our "BEE" books.(Bring Everything Everyday) The binder has a pencil pouch which was placed in the front, it has 3 sections for Math, Science, and Social Studies(the subjects that I teach),it has a sheet to record their grades, and it has a divider between the subjects. This seems to help. Everyday at the end of school we have a "cubby check". It is one student's job to check the cubbies for loose paper, unorganized books, etc.
I hope these suggestions help!


Junior Member
I've been teaching 3rd for years. I've learned to collect papers (work in progress) that are important to me rather than have them stored in their desk folder. There are always students who won't open their folder and put their paper in it. I also don't allow their desk to become cluttered with their things. No personal notebooks, pads of paper, large boxes of crayons, toys and gagets. All of that stuff can stay in their backpack. They use a 1/2" homework binder. Every morning that is taken out of the bag and is kept in the desk. One space saver school box used for their pencils, erasers, colored pencils, etc. They can keep one classroom book, and a couple library books in their desk. Papers that need to be fixed-up are kept in individual folders in a special location in the room. Each student has their own folder in each center for their on-going activities. Their workbook is passed in after it is completed. Papers that are ready to go home go in the cubbies and then on Friday all the papers, the Friday letter, and any other notices go home to parents in a large manilla enverope with the student's name on it. The student returns the envelope on Monday. Sometimes there will be notes in the envelope from parents. There are no papers floating around in their bags and almost none in their desk. And you never know when the Clean Desk Fairy will be coming to visit! I hope this helps!

teach 2nd

desk fairy

Once every 2-3 weeks the Desk Fairy flies through the school at night. She bestows a beautiful printed certificate (from the computer lab) and a Hershey Kiss on those whose desks are neat and clean. We clean our desks on Friday afternoon so she tends to come on Wednesdays. Later in the year she often brings a free homework pass or a bigger treat so that no one takes her visits for granted.