Page 17 - File Name
P. 17

 can earn points twice a week to be exchanged for a reward. The reward system is an important part of these programs to motivate the students. Although ideally students would see the benefits of good organization in the short and long run and would intrinsically be motivated, the direct choice between tidying up and doing a preferred activity is tough for many of us, and especially for adolescents.
Grade 5 Teaching Assistant Tess Harley and Student Learning Coaches Seije Ward and Gary Shannon have been an invaluable part of the pilot, supporting the students and making the weekly checks on student progress. “Before we can expect them to keep a tidy desk, we first have to help them get it tidy,” said Ms. Harley.
“Therefore, I initially sit with a student to get all of the contents of the desk and the cubby out and help them get it organized. After that, it will be easier to do it themselves.” A shorter version of the checklist is taped on students’desks to serve as reminders, and seems to have contributed to student success, even if occasional reminders are also required from teachers. One of the students enthusiastically showed his organized desk, including the taped reminders, to his Student Learning Coach:“This will help me stay organized,” he said.
When students struggle with their school work, they do not necessarily need academic support. Often they need support in strengthening their organizational skills, which then makes
it easier to focus on academics: tidy desk, tidy mind.
Of course, as individuals we all have our own ideas of a working organizational system. As one student said,“My desk was‘my way’tidy, now it is strange! I cannot find anything.” Another student had trouble seeing the benefit of implementing a system for his notebooks. “Okay, my desk is a bit messy, my Math notebook is lined instead of squared because I also use it for writing. And if I cannot find a notebook, I will just get another one. What if I don’t mind?” he asked. That is where the reward system comes in. But we also gently
give them this message: “If you don’t mind, it will get harder for you in Middle School.”
For the most part, the students have been grateful for the help in getting them organized. Others in the classroom often watch with interest and approach Ms. Harley later: “What you just did there with his desk, could you also do that with mine?”, while pointing at the piles on their desk with a circling finger. This way, Ms. Harley and Ms. Ward extended their support to other students as well. There were even some students who asked whether they could join the group.
All in all, the pilot seems to have been quite successful in preparing the students on their path to Middle School. As Grade 5 teacher and teamleaderTimScarrottpointsout:“Theseskills take some time to improve. If we start straight away at the beginning of next school year, this will allow us to change the students in the group throughout the year according to needs and progress made.” More students will then get the opportunity to join for a number of weeks and we hope to enjoy more of those moments where the participating students cannot hide their pride when we meet them in the hallway: “I did all my homework AND I brought it to school!”
Renske Oort FIS Teacher
ES teacher Renske Oort completes a student check list (above); everything in its place (opposite page)
  June 2023 FIS World 15

   15   16   17   18   19