School-Based Intervention Idea from


Work Materials: Organize the Backlog of Old Papers  (Sirotowitz, Davis, & Parker, 2003)

Students are much better organized when they can identify old papers that should be saved for later review, have a system for labeling and filing these archived papers, and stay caught up by filing papers promptly.

The teacher or parent (helping adult) first assists the student in carrying out a 'paper search', rummaging through the student's backpack, school locker, bedroom, notebook, or any other location where old papers may have collected. Next, student and helping adult sort through the pile of amassed papers, deciding which should be tossed in the trash and which should be saved. (Candidate papers to save include old tests, teacher handouts, and graded homework.) Then student and adult write at the top of each saved page the subject, the approximate date that the paper was created or handed out, and any other important identifying information (e.g., the textbook chapter or page that a series of handwritten notes were drawn from or are linked to). For each subject, label a manila folder. File all old papers for that subject in the folder, organized by date or by chapter/page number (depending on which scheme seems a more useful way to group the material). Put all folders of sorted papers into a single file cabinet drawer, crate, or other easily accessible location. Then encourage the student to sort through old papers each day and file those that are to be saved away in the appropriate folder. Also, remind the student to review the contents of folders when studying for quizzes and tests.


Sirotowitz, S., Davis, L., & Parker, H. C. (2003). Study strategies for early school success: Seven steps to improve your learning. Plantation, FL: Specialty Press.

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