Students with learning challenges often struggle with time management and organization. These skills are crucial for academic success, and learning how to master them can make a huge difference. Here are some practical tips and functional skills to help students manage their calendars and assignments effectively.
1. Try Using a Visual Calendar
A visual calendar can be a game-changer for students with learning challenges. Whether it’s a physical calendar hanging on the wall or a digital one on a tablet, seeing their schedule can help them understand their time commitments better. We recommend using color coding or symbols to differentiate between school assignments, extracurricular activities, and personal time.
2. Use a Homework and Assignment Planner
Depending on the student’s preference, this can be a physical notebook, or a digital app. Encourage them to write down every assignment, its due date, and any important notes as soon as they receive it. This habit can help students keep track of their workload and plan their study schedules effectively.
3. Break Down Large Assignments
Large assignments can feel overwhelming, even for those without learning difficulties! Find ways to break tasks into smaller, more manageable parts. This approach makes the task seem less daunting and makes it easier to estimate how much time each part will take.
Not to mention, it can give them a sense of accomplishment when they complete each smaller task, which keeps them motivated to continue working on the assignment.
4. Find a Method to Prioritize Tasks
Not all tasks are created equally. Some are more important or urgent than others. Prioritization methods, like the Traffic Light System, can be helpful. This is a very visual and intuitive method. Tasks are categorized as red (must be done today), yellow (should be done soon), or green (can be done anytime). This system can be particularly effective for visual learners and younger students.
Another option is the ABC Method. This is a straightforward prioritization technique where tasks are assigned a letter based on importance. ‘A’ tasks are most important, ‘B’ tasks are important but less than ‘A,’ and ‘C’ tasks are least important. This method can be more straightforward for students to understand and implement.
5. Establish a Routine
Consistency is key when it comes to managing time effectively. Establishing a daily and weekly routine can provide structure and predictability. Encourage them to review their calendar regularly and adjust as needed. Schedule a review of their weekly routine, ensuring they’re prepared for the week ahead.
6. Use Assistive Technology
In our digital age, plenty of tools are available to help students remember their tasks. For example, speech-to-text software can help students who struggle with writing, while text-to-speech software can assist those who have difficulty with reading.
There are also reminder apps and digital calendars they can use for assignments, study times, and breaks to ensure nothing slips through the cracks.
7. Encourage Regular Breaks
Encourage your child or student to take a short break after a set period of focused work, often around 20-30 minutes. This technique, known as the Pomodoro Technique, can help prevent burnout and maintain a consistent level of performance. During these breaks, they can stretch, have a snack, or do a quick physical activity to refresh their minds.
Experiment With Different Strategies
Mastering time management and organization can be challenging, but every student can succeed with the right strategies and support. Remember, it’s all about finding what works for your child or student.
If your child or student struggles with organization, don’t hesitate to seek help. Teachers, parents, and tutors can provide valuable support. At The Learning Lab, we’re always here to help students develop their skills to succeed.