Hints and tips from our Learning Support team to help with planning and organisation
At St Margaret’s, we recognise that pupils may require additional support at any stage in their learning. As well as specific subject support, we offer help and advice with study skills and organisation strategies.
Having the right environment for productive study is hugely important. To this end, we welcome girls into our Learning Support room, which is resourced with the latest technology and study aids. Our dyslexic learners are able to access text in digital format using assistive technology on our computers and iPads. This session we have been pleased to introduce Read Write Gold (11) to the girls in both the junior and senior school. The text to speech feature and literacy tools have proved invaluable, as have the study skills and research features of the program. The software is available throughout the school on the PCs and laptops.
A variety of different learning styles and abilities are accommodated in the department. Girls very quickly discover which work methods suit them best, and they are then able to go on and apply these in their studies.
Here are some important hints and tips from Learning Support to help with planning and organisation.
Routines help your child to be better organised:
ü Help them have a set routine for getting ready for school the night before – saving a rush in the morning and meaning that they have everything they need for the day.
ü Encourage the use of checklists. Listing the steps involved in a task will make it easier for your child to see how to get started. It also may lessen her anxiety around planning. Checklists also provide a visual reminder of where your child left off if she gets distracted.
You can make checklists for everything from the tasks she has to do:
- Check homework diary
- Do homework
- Check timetable for next day
- Pack books, jotters, pencil case, calculator, diary
- Pack any gym kit needed
- Organise a snack and packed lunch if needed
- Set out clean school clothes
- Follow a bed time winding down routine
Allowing time for tasks can be difficult. On your checklists, consider giving a time estimate for each step. If your child doesn’t read yet, you can put some inexpensive kitchen timers around the house. Set them for the amount of time your child should be spending on everything from completing a maths sheet, to brushing her teeth.
Using Planners and Calendars
Not all planning needs to be done on paper which is a good thing if your child has trouble keeping track of items. A family planner calendar could be hung somewhere centrally in the home and your child could have her own coloured marker.
For older girls, there are plenty of free or inexpensive apps and time-management software which can help.
If the pupil has memory issues and they are badly organised, remind them not to try to keep everything in their head; the following strategies may help:
- Sticky notes at home or school are good reminders to do things.
- A timetable, large enough for easy viewing, on a bedroom door would help when organising school bag packing.
- Bulleted lists should be used for planning and organising work.
- Homework diaries should be used accordingly to help organise the week, and to prioritise which work needs to be done first. Pupils may need help from a parent/adult until they are able to do this for themselves.
- Timers on phones/watches to set time limits for things like room tidying and doing homework will give pupils a sense of time and give them something to aim for.
By Mrs L. Hawthorn
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