When my students are getting ready for the school day and getting ready to go home, they use labels in their folders to help them know where things go. I know that many schools use binders or folders with acronyms, which seem like great systems! Mine is pretty simple and has four parts. I use a large bulletin board to model every day where papers go as needed, but very quickly students begin to think for themselves where papers go and what "kind" of paper things look like.
Though there are four parts to their folder, there are three labeled parts. So, by using three pictures on my large modeling board and having the same pictures in their folder, students can quickly take on responsibility for their own items.
We really had to practice not holding our folders upside down (since all of our hard work falls out and then we have to redo the entire thing), but as of week four, things have really begun to get smooth. There really is something to building a habit and having that habit in place for at least 20 days! I also created a "social story" type of book that shows me in photos doing each part of their daily routine of getting ready to go home.
Reading this the first two weeks of school was about 15 times more effective than me modeling it for 20 days in a row and having students model it too.
More on Responsibility in the Classroom
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