It's That Time
Whether it was the first half of my life as a student or the second half as a counselor/youth minister/teacher/academic coach, I have always entered summer thinking it would last forever, and before I knew it....BAM....it crept up on me like an Atlanta rain shower, shocked me like plunging into an ice cold pool, hit me like a fully loaded book bag.....school is back in session.
This year is no different. I had so many ideas, plans and goals. No, it's not too late for us to have that awesome summer we imagined, but the countdown has begun for myself, my parents, and my students. I was shocked to find out last week that two of my new students will be starting school on July 31. WHAT! Yes, you heard it right. Cobb County will resume classes in eight short days. Parents were so upset that 10,000 folks signed a petition. I can't say I blame them, but officials were unmoved and so it is. For the majority of my public school students, the school doors open on August 7. Some of my private school students start a couple weeks later, and many of my home school students will begin the first week in September.
If you haven't already, you want to make sure that you are reading the novels on your summer reading list and completing required books reports. If you are my student, I am sure you have been logging onto Khan Academy regularly, building your vocabulary and strengthening any identified missing foundations. Some of you have actually been meeting with me for summer enrichment.....real troopers you are!
So while it is a bit hard to accept, like every other year of our lives, we will make the adjustment. It might be a bit challenging to shift gears, but there are definitely strategies we can employ to make the transition as smooth as possible. The first strategy is the "O" to my "Keep calm and OSAAAA" approach. ORGANIZATION.
One of the most important aspects of getting organized is having the appropriate supplies. I would like to share some quick tips with parents and students to help with this strategy:
Arm yourself with the proper school supplies. If you are getting your list before the first day of school, go ahead and make that trip together to pick up your supplies. Many teachers will wait until the first day of school to let you know about the items required for your classes, so it makes sense to wait until after the first couple of days to get your complete school supply list. I would advise at least taking a 3 ring notebook with paper on your first day.
I will share a quick list of supplies I would recommend all students have:
1 Agenda-if your school doesn't provide one of these, make sure your student has one. I had a hard time deciding on the most functional agenda for myself this year, but finally found one at Big Lot's for $4. Staples, Office Depot, Dollar Stores, and Michael's have some nice ones, but I found the best selection at Big Lots and they are top quality for very little money.
2. Three Ring Notebooks- these are great for keeping materials organized. They require students to organize papers especially if you require that all papers are hole punched. The cheap ones often bend quickly and rarely make it through the entire school year. My favorite are the rubber 3 ring notebooks at Staples. They come in wonderful colors and last for multiple years. They come in 1 to 3 inches so your student could use a large one for all classes or split up their subjects into a few. Students, especially male students, often prefer Trapper notebooks, but they tend to encourage stuffing and hide messiness. :)
3. Dividers with Double Pockets-these are helpful to have for each subject. Students can place homework to be done on one side and homework to be turned in on the other. I have found ones I like at Staples and Kroger.
4. Hole Punch- this is a must for organization. I require students to hole punch papers daily and file in the proper spot in their 3 rings. You can typically find them at a thrift store, like Good Will, for just a few dollars.
5. Mechanical Pencils- if the school allows them, they can help many students write neater and eliminate the hassle of sharpening.
6. Book Bags-I encourage you to pick out a nice and functional book bag for your student. I know the much smaller book bags are popular with the boys, but these bags hold very little which will discourage them from bringing home the necessary materials.
It's the younger students who are typically more open to the idea of stocking up on supplies and receiving support with this process. It's easy to assume that the older students don't require the same type of investment. This is not the case. Having the correct supplies and a detailed plan for organization is a critical part of student success no matter the age. Yes, they may push back a bit so be creative and positive in how you go about the process. Consider making it a family project. Meet before your supply shopping excursion to discuss your own struggles with organization and make plans together for how you will implement organization strategies as a family. Normalize the struggle to stay organized, but make a commitment as a family that you will overcome this hurdle together.
If I am already not part of your village, please consider contacting me about my services, specifically as it related to supporting you and your student with ORGANIZATION.
It's going to be an awesome year.