With so many strategies available to help with organization, it is important that secondary students find what works for them as they start working more and more independently. As with the timer previously mentioned, it can be helpful if you as a teacher model an organization method that works well for you.

Organized desk with notebook, pens, and other office suppliesLow Tech Options for Organization

If the student prefers more of a low-tech, paper option they may consider:

  •         A traditional agenda: Try to check in at regular intervals to ensure students are recording all their assignments and tests. It can be helpful to have parents checking the agenda at home as well.
  •         Bullet journaling: If the student is a little more on the creative side, bullet journaling is a way they can keep track of work, but also have the freedom to include doodles and other fun aspects in their journal. Bullet journals can also serve as a “brain dump” for students who have many ideas that need to be written down and organized later.

Technology for Organization

More and more students are using technology to keep themselves organized and to help make the most of their learning. While it is helpful to reduce paper loads for students, which means they can never lose track of their organizational tools, it is important that teachers instruct students on how to use technology effectively. Try to incorporate some of these tools into a lesson, or have another round of explicit instruction on how to use these apps and websites effectively.


  •         Focus booster (  – This app uses the pomodoro technique, which involves short bursts of work with frequent breaks, to minimize distractions
  •         Todoist ( – Makes easy and effective to-do lists and reminders
  •         Fantastical ( – Make personalized calendars, with reminders, to-do lists and file sharing built-in
  •         Habitica ( – This app turns your to-do list into a game to help your students build healthy habits, set goals and maximize motivation

It is also becoming commonplace for schools to use clouds and online drives to share information between teachers and students and as a place to store files and resources used in class. These changes can ultimately be positive for students in alleviating the stress of locating important things for classes and reducing the overall load of physical papers they must manage. However, students must, once again, be explicitly taught how to organize and track these files, otherwise, they risk falling into the same traps as they would with paper resources.