Thinking Skills: Organization

Organization Fundamentals

What is Organization?

Organization is the thinking skill that helps a child take a systematic approach to problem solving by creating order out of disorder. Organization involves learning how to collect all of the necessary materials to complete a task while being able to step back and examine a complex situation. For example, a child is using organizational skills when they take time to gather all of their notes before starting to study for a test.

Video games allow kids to practice their Organization skills while in the midst of a fun and immersive gaming experience. Many games require that a child accumulate and organize objects or money in order to progress.

Watch the video to learn more about how video games can help your child improve their Organization skills.

How does Organization work?

Organization is vital to a child’s academic success, as it allows them to arrange elements into a functioning whole, while understanding how to conceptually organize all facets of an activity to create a unified approach. Organization is the thinking skill that facilitates a child’s ability to obtain important information, make it accessible, and know how to use it for informed decision making. 

Kids with good Organization skills:

  • Always know how to find homework or studying materials.
  • Put their bookbags, clothing, and other materials in a regular place.
  • Are able to work systematically on longer projects, such as writing an essay or book report.
  • Keep track of their commitments, homework, and responsibilities.

Kids with underdeveloped Organization skills:

  • Often lose their homework before turning it in.
  • Have extremely messy rooms.
  • Have disorganized backpacks and school lockers.
  • Are unable to find clothing, sporting equipment, or school supplies when they are needed.
  • Start projects, such as homework, recipes, or chores, without having the right materials on hand.

 

Improve Organization Skills

These are some general strategies and ideas for helping kids to improve their Organization skills.

  • Teach by doing. Use calendars, sticky notes, and other visual reminders for yourself to model organizational skills to your child.
  • Purchase a journal or assignment book. Have your child write down everything that she needs to complete (e.g., homework, upcoming tests and assignments), as well as scheduling notes (e.g. sports games, practices, and club meetings).
  • Help your child break down larger tasks into smaller ones. Children with organizational problems often have a hard time prioritizing what is important and struggle to find a place to begin. By breaking down tasks with your child, you provide them with a form of structure to follow and smaller, more easily achievable tasks to accomplish.
  • Help your child develop methods for organizing their bedroom. One helpful way of doing this is to tape drawings or pictures to dressers or desk drawers to designate where the items in the picture go. Encourage your child to initiate the organization by taking their own pictures of the items they group together.

Organization and Academic Skills

Organizational skills are crucial for academic success. Organization helps kids to prepare for long-term projects and allows them to effectively think through sentence construction in order to properly express an idea. Thinking in an organized manner is an essential skill for a variety of science and mathematical concepts, and plays a role across all academic subjects by aiding in a student’s capacity to find, complete, and turn in assignments.

Reading:

  • Organizing sequences and connections is crucial for reading comprehension.
  • Organization assists in effectively communicating and retelling what one has read.
  • Taking organized notes about what one has read is essential for studying, retention, test-taking, and writing.

Math:

  • Organization helps kids to sort out and understand the information in word problems.
  • Organization helps in carrying out the steps of solving a multi-step math problem.
  • Clearly organizing one’s notations on paper is a clear, effective way to help with studying.

Writing:

  • Organization helps to turn ideas into a coherent essay or report.
  • Organizing one’s notes, research, or materials is an important step before sitting down to start a writing project.
  • Organizational thinking is necessary in order to present written thoughts that are clear and easy to understand.

Organization and Digital Play

Playing video games, searching the Internet, trying out the newest app, or Facebooking a friend demands a variety of thinking skills. Proficiency with any of these digital tools requires the ability to apply skills such as Planning, Organization, Working Memory, or Self-Awareness. For children, the attraction of video games and technologies makes them an ideal teaching tool for practicing game-based skills and learning to apply them to school and daily activities.

Video games practice organizational skills when players need to collect or categorize items to move from one level to another, complete game tasks in a particular sequence, or when they are required to keep track of what they have accomplished in order to move on. There are a variety of digital technologies that can improve and support organizational skills. These technologies range from electronic “to-do” lists available for mobile and desktop devices to search engines, social bookmarking, and cloud-based computing that facilitate labeling and organizing one’s information.

Here are some examples of the ways that digital play exercises organizational skills:

  • Collecting and keeping track of specific items, money, or powers while playing a Massively Multiplayer Online Game.
  • Categorizing, grouping, or collecting sets in a game.
  • Organizing one’s assets such as troops, spells, or tools in order to advance within a game.
  • Using a computer program or app that organizes information such as contact lists, e-mail addresses, online links, or research material for a school project.

Organization and Executive Functions

Organization is a commonly identified executive function, that is usually defined as the capacity to systematically order both materials and activities. It is a core component of Dawson and Guare’s theory of executive functions, after which we’ve patterned our Thinking Skills at LearningWorks for Kids.

As an executive function, organization sometimes refers to the capacity to find structure not only for one’s self and one’s actions, but for materials and tools that are necessary to accomplish goals. Organization helps children to keep track of their toys, books, and clothing. It is also an important component of the problem-solving and goal setting components of many executive functioning theories. Organizational skills support productivity, improve time management, and enhance the successful completion of goals.

Assessing the executive function of organization in children involves determining how well they keep track of important materials like homework and school supplies, and how effective they are in keeping their personal lives in order. The LearningWorks for Kids Thinking Skills Assessment is based on the Executive Skills Questionnaire (ESQ), which primarily measures organization of one’s tools and possessions, rather than organization of one’s activities (which is measured by the executive skills of planning) . This scale focuses on tasks such as finding homework and other items necessary for home and school, that are frequently exhibited by alternative learners.

Latest Organization Articles

Get Organized For School… With Video Games?

Have your kids help you get organized

The end of the summer is a great time for getting yourself organized, and enlisting your child to help clean up your garage or straighten up the basement presents an excellent opportunity for improving one of your child’s important core executive functions – Organization. Getting your child involved is a great way to help them while they help you. Spend time doing something constructive with your kids while developing a few simple routines that they can apply during the school year and beyond.

Believe it or not, organization is actually a skill that most children desire. If your child has difficulties in retrieving her homework, finding the book she needs to complete her vacation reading, or even uncovering her favorite pair of jeans in her bedroom, having her help you find proper places for household items is a fantastic chance to improve organization in a non-pressured, and even fun, fashion. Even the most disorganized child will report that she feels a sense of accomplishment when she gets her bedroom clean or her backpack organized. While the effort to get organized may be overwhelming to many children, maintaining and improving organization may be even more difficult than getting organized. Follow our late-summer program for making improved organization fun by combining games, apps, activities and physical exercise.

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