At this time every year many parents ask me what sort of planner, diary or App should their child use at school. It is great that parents are keen to assist their children with organisation and time management at the start of the school year. I encourage you to keep reading to find out why students should use a planner/diary/App.
Some children will be keen to use something to manage themselves however many more these days actually don’t see the need or point. This unfortunately for many can lead to poor organisation, time management and in turn lower academic results. Time and time again I see students become anxious and overwhelmed as the year progresses and their workload increases and see that they are trying to manage without using any form of planner or online tool to assist.
With the increase in technology many school now provide tasks and deadlines on school portals. This is great for students to know what they have and when it is due. However this does not help them to actually manage their time and that is why planners, diaries or Apps still have a very important role to play. Many of the schools I work with and talk to, are continually grappling with how to solve this issue and go from having compulsory diaries to not having them for a year or so only to often reintroduce them again the following year.
In the workshops I conduct for Year 6 students I speak about the importance of using a diary and teach them the basics of how to use it. From this stage on it is important they get used to using something to manage their time so that by the time they enter the senior years this becomes a daily habit. Recently I had one child explain to me how he uses a simple notebook to manage his time and he was asking if this was okay. Naturally I said yes if it is working for him and it doesn’t matter what students actually usually it’s just important they find the right tool or solution that suits their needs. This can be a simple notebook, a diary, a planner, a wall calendar, an electronic diary like google calendar, or one of the many Apps available such as My Homework.
Usually I recommend that students use a paper dairy initially to get used to using it and often the act of writing also assists to commit tasks to the brain. Once they get the hang of it then I usually say just find the right tool that works for them.
To manage ones time, students actually need to ‘see time’ or in other words make time visual. Usually for a planner or diary it is important to have a week to a page so students can see ahead of time. There is nothing worse than using a day to a page diary and flipping the page only to see something is due the next day that they haven’t even started. As many parents would know students often live in the ‘now’ and not the ‘not now’ so the more they can see ahead of time the better.
Another useful tool can be to print off a monthly calendar on A3 paper and stick this on the wall. I usually suggest to students who are keen to do this that they print the months for the term or semester at a time. Here is one link to free printables though there are plenty of others available online.
If you have any further questions about what your child should use or how to get them to use it then please get in touch.
PS since this BLOG was written I have now produced and sell a reusable student whiteboard planner – for more information or to purchase one click here.