At my school we teach in teams, which means five of us share 130 (or so) kids throughout the day. Our team was chosen this past spring to pilot a program for our seventh graders to help get them organized and to take those middle-of-the-road kids and turn them into high-achievers. They had a workshop over the summer on some of these startegies, which apparently are being used with some success in High Schools, but of course I couldn't go because I was off teaching summer camp.
In any case, one of the tenents of this plan is that the kids all carry 3" 3 ring binders, they have a section for each class, they have a pencil pouch to carry all their pencils, and there's notebook paper in the back of the binder. Now this may seem incredibly obvious and simple to some of you, but the idea of having all of your school goods in one place is just highly bizzare for your average seventh grader who's too busy worrying about acne and thinking about sex or video games to really care where his/her science homework went. The idea is that if all of the school work is in one place the kids will show up in class with everything they need, including, God forbid, a pencil. I had kids last year who were apparently physically incapable of bringing a pencil to class. I had one kid who could lose a pencil in the process of walking across the room to go sharpen it!! I suspect this child may have a career in Vegas in a magic show because he was good at macking things disappear.
The way I figure it, it's worth a shot. Anything that can help keep them organized and together because they are NOT going to go back to their lockers every time they forget something. Ain't gonna happen.
Fortunately our principal, who's 110% behind this program, offered to buy the kids the supplies they need so they all have the same thing - the binder, the folders, the pencil pouch, etc. Cool. Well, they goodies came in today (except for the pencil pounches) and we spent the afternoon counting, sorting, and labeling. Each of my homeroom kids will walk in tomorrow and find a pile of supplies on his/her desk. And the funny thing is, they've been bugging me about when they'd get them. I suspect for some of these kids, having something new, even if it's just a binder, is a thrill.
We've asked the parents to help pay for the supplies as part of the school fees. By purchasing in bulk we saved a lot of money (3" binders are pricey), so it actually was cheaper for the parents to buy it through us. What is surprising to me is how many of my parents on waivers (don't pay fees due to low income level) are managing to find the money to help their child participate in this program. Maybe they're looking at the lottery scholarships down the road in a few years and anything we can do to get the kiddo on the path to that can't be a bad thing.
And three more kids got added to our team today...