Posted by: jockmackenzie | May 3, 2010

Getting Organized – title page, contents

A title page with a table of contents on the back offers a possible technique to help students with organization. With each unit comes a new title page.

Providing the title page and table of contents alone is insufficient. The whole concept of organization must be made a classroom priority. When notes and handouts are the order of the day, the process of recording them and putting them in the right place needs to be emphasized. (See the entry titled “Getting Organized (and trying to stay there) for an explanation of using chart paper as an over-sized table of contents.)

I used the example above when teaching a “Poetry and Song” unit. The title page was given as shown but we re-visited it quite often. As we learned the terminology of poetry, we would return to the title page and use our Middle School Alphabet (see entry of the same name) to add the terms. We ‘represented’ the words whenever possible through the use of varying calligraphic styles, color, placement, and border design. What began as an extremely plain title page became, for many, quite a work of art.

Shown below is an example of what the title page might look like part way through the unit.

In a perfect world, all students would have binders with dividers. Subject areas would be tabbed. Each binder would likely have no more than two subjects of work. The classroom might offer individual student folders kept in plastic organizers on a back counter.

Sometimes we have to achieve a happy medium. Look at your own desk and see if you are living proof of ongoing organization. I never was . . . and continue to have only moments of glory. Perhaps this picture of my own desk may underline my point.

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