As Grace Fleming, a homework/study tips
expert says, “The middle school years are so important for a student's academic
career! This is a time when habits are formed that will remain with students
through high school and college. It is important to lay a solid foundation when
it comes to time management and taking responsibility for the actions that lead
to school success! Middle school is the time to start using a planner the right
As middle school Counselors, Mrs. Bowling
and I often talk to students about their study skills habits. One of the first
questions we ask students is “Do you use a planner?” The answer is often disappointing.
It is almost impossible for a student to be successful at the middle school
level if he/she does not write down or record their assignments and tests in a
calendar format. This organizational skill precludes learning any other study
skills strategy. FMS provides a written planner for every student. Also,
every student with a Chromebook has access to Google Calendar, an excellent
organizational tool for recording due dates for assignments, projects, and
Please encourage and monitor the use of
either a written agenda/planner or Google Calendar by your student. Ask to see your
student’s planner or Google Calendar on a regular basis. Below is an article by Grace
Fleming that includes tips for using a planner. At the bottom of this page are Youtube videos
about how to effectively use a written planner and a tutorial
about Google Calendar.
Please take the time to review this information with your student. Study skills
are the most important skills to master for students to get good grades.
Kathryn Doyle, L.P.C.
8th Grade School Counselor
7th Grade Counselor
Tips for Using a Planner (excerpt)
By: Grace Fleming
The assignment is due
We've all been
there at some point. Somehow, that assignment due date just slipped right up on
us without our noticing. That is why
organizational skills are so important to school performance. Who can afford to
score a big fat "0" on a paper, just because we got lazy and didn't
pay attention to the due date? Who wants to get an "F" because we
forgot to put our completed project in our book bag the night before it was
organization skills can reduce your final scores by a whole letter grade.
That's why you should learn to use a day planner the right way.
Tips for Using a
the planner a part of your daily routine. Carry it with you at all times
and remember to check it every morning and every night.
in your assignment due dates as soon as you learn them. Get in the habit of writing in
your planner while you're still in the classroom. Write the assignment on
the page of the due date and put a reminder message a few days
before the due date. Don't put it off!
to use backward planning.
When you write a due date in your planner, go back a day or a week and
give yourself a reminder that the due date is approaching.
a color- coding system. Keep
some colored stickers on hand and use those for reminders that a due date
or other important event is approaching. For instance, use a yellow caution
sticker to serve as a warning two days before your research paper is due.
everything in your planner.
You must remember that anything that takes up time, like a ball game, will
keep you from working on an assignment. If you don't put these things in
your planner as time out, you may not realize how limited your homework
time really is. This leads to cramming and all-nighters.
flags. You can buy
sticky-note flags and use them as tabs to indicate the end of a term or
the due date of a large project. This is a great visual tool that serves
as a constant reminder of a imminent due date.
discard old pages. You will always
have important information in your planner that you'll need to see again
at a later date. Old phone numbers, reading assignments—you'll want to
remember those things later on.
ahead and congratulate yourself ahead of time. On the day after a big project is
due, put in a reward appointment, like a trip to the mall or a meal out
with friends. This can serve as positive reinforcement.
to Include in Your Planner
important to block off anything that consumes your time, in order to avoid
conflict and crisis. Don't forget:
blocks of homework time
gatherings, vacations, excursions
- School events
for field trips—due dates