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Orderliness In School

vs. confusion

Organizing my thoughts and surroundings for greater acheivement

To practice Orderliness I will:

  • organize my work area for efficiency
  • pick up after myself
  • put things back where they belong
  • spend time planning
  • order my thoughts to communicate clearly

     Resolving to be Orderly
    – Bill Croskey

    Ah, New Years Resolutions! What a way to kill the holiday spirit! I will share with you what my Resolution was for this year; I resolved to buy and eat only quality donuts. No day-old pastries. No bargain basement delicacies. No stale, unglazed, cardboard imitations of the real thing! You’d be surprised how difficult that was! Of course, then I discovered that the UDF near the park where my dog and I walk carries Busken’s Kettle Danish! I have been more successful at this resolution than almost any I have ever made. (Confession, I have also tried to cut out real butter on my bread. So, I am not a complete glutton.)

    What did you resolve for this year? Or did you resolve not to resolve? In either case, you may often begin the school year declaring that you will be more organized than previously. In the case of school, your resolve to be more Orderly may carry over to your students. Mike loses his homework in the mess that is his backpack. Jameel has a desk that is cluttered and beyond help. Ashley forgets her materials and must either borrow or sit and do nothing. Students are infamous for lacking Order in their school work habits. This Orderliness problem should probably be called Order-Less-ness. There is NO Order.

    Of course, we know that many students improve their Orderliness as they mature and a big part of school involves teaching these skills. Sure, the Kindergarten teacher spends a great deal of time teaching kids how to do school in an Orderly way. But, similarly, the high school teacher instructs students in how to conduct research in an orderly manner or how to follow an experimental procedure in the correct Order. School at all levels is about Order.

    There is fancy jargon for this aspect of doing school. It is called Executive Functioning skills. Peg Dawson and Richard Guare define Executive Functioning as a neuropsychological concept referring to a set of cognitive processes that are required to plan and direct activities. In plain English, that means we are talking about the ability to start a task (initiative), follow through on the work of the task (attention), keep in mind the information useful to succeeding at the task (working memory), sustain attention to the task, monitor one’s performance, ignore distractions, resist the temptation to quit the job (impulse control), persist to the goal… and turn in the completed work when and where it is supposed to end up! I would add that it also involves the ability to stop in the middle when the teacher interrupts, put the task away when a schedule – or a CHANGE in schedule – demands, and be able to pick the task up later, find where one left off, and continue.

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