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Organization in Junior High

Organization in Junior High

The more supplies students must manage, the more students will lose things. 

sloppy notebooks, student organization

Every folder and notebook looks the same when they are sandwiched in a backpack or stacked in a locker. It is far too easy to get to class with the wrong folder and/or notebook. It’s also far too easy to leave a trail of supplies at home, when doing homework.  When you’ve packed six notebooks in your backpack after completing homework, it’s really hard to notice that Notebook #7 is not there.

Let’s also consider the sheer number of transitions students must manage. They start their day at home, ride in a car, then arrive at school. So far, not terribly different from adults. But, when they get to school, they have to manage all of their supplies between a locker, backpack, and 6-8 different classrooms. That would be a lot of anyone (adults included) to manage!

Every extra layer multiplied times all of those transitions radically amplifies the (literal) amount of brain power required to manage student organization. It’s typically not practical to reduce the number of transitions in a students’ day, but we certainly can do something about the number of supplies we expect them to manage.

All 7th & 8th grade students created a SOAR Binder in their 10:10 classes. The 10:10 teachers demonstrated how students can use ONE binder to organize ALL assignments and notes for their classes. Most students immediately “get it;” they innately understand this system relieves a major burden and will make their lives easier to manage! If your child continues to struggle with daily organization, please encourage him/her to reach out to their 10:10 teacher.

The SOAR Home Station.  While this is not required, it really benefits students to have a place allocated at home to leave papers for each class.  Some parents use boxes, some use hanging file folders, some use crates.  The critical piece is that there is a location for students to access work for each class in order to study and complete projects/homework.  A few helpful tips when creating your home station:

  • Use the same color folders for each class as used for the SOAR binder.
  • Be sure there is a separate folder for each class and each folder is labeled clearly.
  • Work on developing a new habit when your child comes home from school.  For example: Before getting a snack and starting homework, Joey empties his book bag and places work that stays at home in the home station folders.  If you can stick to a routine for a few weeks straight, it will become a habit (and you should no longer need to remind your child to do this every day)!


1. Are dividers required if there are folders in the binder? No. The dividers with tabs might help some kids to more easily find the appropriate folder, but they are not required.
2. What is the “Home Station”? I was not at the orientation, so I’m not sure what this would be. I usually just rely on my child to keep the papers or not keep the papers from school. If she has a SOAR binder and her own organization system, do we still need the “Home Station”?  The SOAR binder will be the ONLY binder/folders that she will need at school. She will take it to all of her classes and home each night. At the end of the day (or end of the week),she will clean out her SOAR binder into her SOAR Home Station.  The Home Station can be whatever she wants. It can be the separate binders she is using now or it can be a file system like the pictures below. The key is having a place to organize her school papers at home so that she is only carrying with her what she needs! 
3. Does the SOARbinder need to be taken to all classes along with other materials?The SOAR binder is the only binder/folder need for every class and will need to be taken to all classes every day. Other classes may also require a textbook or notebook, but not additional binder or folder.

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