Organizational Skills for Visual-Spatial Learners (page 2)
Most, if not all, visual-spatial learners (VSLs) are accused of being hopelessly unorganized. However, it has been my experience that these right-hemispheric learners (think "absent-minded professors") truly can find a needle in a haystack. My son, Matt, for example, whose room on any given day may look as though multiple tornadoes have hit, never ceases to amaze me in his ability to locate just the perfect LEGOTM piece he was searching for.
It is important to note in the illustration above that, as long as each person is capable of finding precisely what he or she needs, in a reasonable amount of time, neither one's method of organization is better than the other's. This is an area where, "to each his own" is the rule. If someone (likely a teacher or parent) were to force the child on the right to "organize" the way the child on the left has done, he would likely never find another document again. His new system, or structure, of organization would be completely foreign to him and he would not be able to imagine, or see, where his belongings were.
Organization for many VSLs is a stumbling block. If your visual-spatial children find that they are losing important paperwork (like homework!), or toys or money, they need to start developing and implementing some system of organization. The new method must be their own, though. It simply will not work to try to become organized under somebody else's (like a parent's) system. If you think green folders are appropriate for all science work, for example, but green is meaningless to your children in connecting papers to science, then they can't use that system. They must create their own meaningful strategies that they can understand and remember. Here's how to help get them started:
Be sure to visit office supply stores and other places that carry a variety of products designed to help with organization. Color-coded envelopes, files and pocket folders are perfect for storing specific papers. Colored index cards are a great tool for note taking, and the use of a Day-Timer or Palm Pilot to record due dates and appointments are all tools available for the visual-spatial learner. Do you ever wonder why so many organizational products have come on the market in recent years? These must be the inventions of the visual-spatials among us to help themselves and others like them.
Linda Leviton, a member of the Visual-Spatial Resource Access team and a visual-spatial learner herself, writes:
VSLs are either horizontal or vertical organizers...if they are horizontal, they need a long table (preferably not deep) to put out (and leave out) works in process. If they are vertical, they need places to create stacks. I bought myself one of those paper sorters with cubbies and have it right next to my computer (with labels for each section) and that's how I do it. (L. Leviton, personal communication, May 31, 2004)
When we homeschooled, each of my children used a Teacher's Planner to record their daily assignments. In fact, sometimes homework from different subjects was recorded in different colors. There are several varieties of planners available, including ones that show a week-at-a-glance or a month-at-a-glance. You can find them at local teachers' supply stores. Encourage your children to choose one that offers plenty of room to write or draw important notes about due dates, expectations, assignment details, and other appointments. We used these planners as checklists, too, which added to my childrens' sense of accomplishment as they crossed off each assignment.
Linda Leviton also advised:
As for schoolwork, I have one word for you...pockets. Forget binders and putting holes in things. They need something they can shove papers into, and if you color code the pockets you have a better chance of the right paper getting into the right pocket. My preference is a folder with each class having its own colored pockets (one in front and one on back)...front is for current work or something to be turned in, back is for reference or past work. Just don't expect them to punch holes or get papers in sections that involve opening or closing anything; stuffing is what they do best! (L. Leviton, personal communication, May 31, 2004)
Matt's personal method for ensuring that he remembers to take his homework folder, lunchbox and water bottle to school every day is to pile them all up at his place on the kitchen table. Then, when he finishes breakfast, he takes it all immediately to the car. The few times he has left one of those items somewhere other than the kitchen table, they didn't make it to school.
Reprinted with the permission of the Visual-Spatial Resource. © 2004-2007, Visual-Spatial Resource. All rights reserved.
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