It's true that some kids seem to be naturally organized. But more often than not, third graders need a lot of guidance in this area. By using “sequence strips”, you can teach your child to prioritize after school activities, stay organized, and accomplish more. These days, third graders are involved in so many activities that keeping up with homework can be a challenge. Try this concrete, hands-on organization system and you can count on more efficient, less stressful evenings this school year.
What You Do:
- Use one color of construction paper to cut five strips, about 1" wide by 2-1/2" long. on each strip, help your child write the day of the week (Monday through Friday). Now use another color of construction paper to cut 20 strips, each about 1/2" wide by 2" long. On the other strips, help him write his daily activities (one activity per strip.) Be sure to include weekly activities as well, like soccer or music class. If you don't have enough paper to list each of the activities, cut more strips as needed.Cut a small piece of magnetic tape and stick it to the back of each strip.
- With the tape attached, you've got instant magnets! Using the refrigerator, or another magnetic surface, have your child practice putting his daily activities in order, starting with Monday and moving on to each day of the week. Once he gets the hang of it, place all the magnetic strips in an envelope and hang it on the refrigerator.
- Sunday night, direct your child to make his “Monday schedule” on the refrigerator. On Monday, as he completes each activity, he should take off the strip and put it back into the envelope. Voilà! A visual to-do list that shrinks as the tasks are completed ... making organization a habit. Each night, have your child plan out the following day with his sequence strips.
Ordinary as this planning idea may seem, be prepared for some extraordinary results. With so much new work coming in, third graders can easily feel confused and overwhelmed. A visual calendar helps it all make sense...especially when it's your child who is moving the magnets and creating the sequence. As an added benefit, you can expect kudos from the teacher when it's time for third grade math. One common third grade topic is time sequencing. With all this practice at home, scheduling and sequence at school can be a snap!
Brigid Del Carmen has a Master's Degree in Special Education with endorsements in Learning Disabilities and Behavior Disorders/Emotional Impairments. Over the past eight years, she has taught Language Arts, Reading and Math in her middle school special education classroom.