Organization Definition

Click the play button to listen to Dr. Gendron's definition of organization:

Sound bite transcription:

So organizational skills refer to the complex strategies that are involved in keeping track of personal effects, organizing our tasks, and even our thoughts really. It’s about using our time efficiently. Again, it’s impact on learning is evident. When we lose track of our tools, when we are not sure how to organize our ideas, and we don’t use our time efficiently, we’re lost. It’s like getting on the road, knowing the destination, but no idea how to get there. You drive around aimlessly, and lose a lot of precious time.


Students with organization difficulties may:

  • struggle to keep track of and organize their materials;
  • frequently misplace homework and belongings;
  • bring the wrong materials to the wrong classes;
  • have a very messy desk, backpack, and/or locker;
  • not use the organizational tools available to them;
  • struggle to express their ideas clearly – in writing or verbally – or lose their train of thought;
  • struggle to separate important information from superfluous details.


Below is a list of possible strategies to support students with organization issues.

Environmental Strategies

  • Laptop with organized foldersEstablish organizational routines in the classroom. For example, at the elementary level, have designated locations for students’ backpacks, lunch bags, and winter clothing. At the secondary level, have a designated area on the board where students can always find upcoming homework, assessments, and evaluations
  • Establish binder organization guidelines, such as specific divider labels, and set binder-check appointments regularly. For educators in tech-based schools, establish guidelines for students to organize their documents on their devices.
  • Colour-code the materials in your classroom (e.g., language in blue, math in green, social studies in red, etc.) or suggest that students use different coloured binders for each subject.
  • When handing out worksheets, make sure they are always hole-punched, and tell students where to file them in their binders.

Instructional Strategies

  • Model the use of organizational tools such as agendas, schedules, binders with dividers, colour-coding, highlighting, timers, chunking, checklists, etc.
  • Provide students with a checklist of materials to bring to school/class each day. Have them post it in their locker or in their agenda. Have them take a picture of it on their phones.
  • Review homework at the end of the day, or at the end of each class and write these on the board. Remind students what materials they need to take home to complete the homework.
  • Provide explicit instruction in time management, learning strategies, and organization of materials.