Future Reflections Special Issue, Vol. 14 No. 2



by Doris M. Willoughby

[PICTURE] This mother is teaching her children how to organize their notebooks. Only the children aren't blind- the mother is! How do you suppose she does this? Look for clues on page 38 in this magazine.

Do you work in the same schoolroom all day? Or do you go to different rooms for music, art, and PE? Or do you go to a different room for every subject?

As you get older, you probably will go to more rooms during one day. You probably will have more than one teacher. Even if you have only one teacher, you will be studying a lot of different things. You don't want to look for your spelling list and find math problems instead. You don't want to look for today's English paper and find last month's test instead. What can you do so you don't have trouble like that?

You need a place for each subject. You need a way to keep track of different kinds of papers. You need to know what each paper is, even if you can't read the small print.

Let's say that on October 1 you get a study paper for science. The paper is in small print, too small for you to see. Now what? You need to remember which paper this is. A good way is to write a little Braille note right on the paper. You may just put the paper in your Braille slate and write: sci st oc 1.

This could mean "science study paper, October 1." If you haven't learned Braille, you could write a note with a pen on an extra piece of paper and clip it on. It doesn't take long to write a short note like this. But now you can tell for sure what paper it is without asking anybody else.

Folders and Notebooks

Now, where to keep that study paper. One good way is to have a folder for each subject. Then you just put the paper in the "science" folder. You can keep folders in a zippered notebook or a carrying case. Each folder should be labeled so you can find it quickly. Some people like to have folders of different colors. Another way is to have a loose-leaf notebook with tabs. For each part of the notebook, a tab sticks out. (That's a little extra piece of plastic or heavy paper.) The tab you want will say "science." A loose-leaf notebook has rings that go through holes in the paper, so you can get things in and out. If you can't punch holes in your study paper, you can have a pocket folder in the notebook.

Now You're Organized

Being organized means having what you need and knowing where things are. It means working without wasting a lot of time. So now you find that study paper when you are ready to have someone read it to you. Maybe you will work on it at school. Maybe you will work on it at home. But you can find it yourself, fast! And you can find it again later if the teacher wants it.

You have a place for each subject. You know which paper is which. But what if the notebook gets too full? You don't want to carry around hundreds of papers for the whole year.

Each week you should clean out your notebook. If you don't need something, throw it away. If you might need it again but it's old, put it somewhere else. Don't just carry it around. Your notebook is for things you need right now.

Maybe you won't use all these ideas yet. But when you get older, you will. Start getting ready. Do some of these things now to help you get started. Then it won't be hard when you are older.