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Heidi Allen #1

Using Organization, time management and check lists with students with ADHD
Organization, and
Skills (HOPS)

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most
commonly diagnosed childhood disorders. Several of the primary
symptoms of ADHD relate to problems with time management and
materials organization, which can be seen in school settings as
forgetting to complete or losing homework assignments, difficulty
planning for the completion of long-term projects and tests, and problems
keeping binders and backpacks organized.
Making good use of the hours and minutes of the day requires
planning, prioritizing, and sticking to a schedule. These skills
don't come easily to children with attention deficit disorder (ADD
ADHD). Teachers can help students with ADHD learn these

How can you help
your students do a
better job of
organizing their
academic work?

Practice time estimation. Make a game out of predicting, timing, and checking students'
estimates of the time needed for various activities. How long does it take to walk from the
classroom to the school office? How long does it take to complete an assignment? Ask
parents to help their child estimate and time various activities at home.
Use an analog clock. Digital clocks are easier to read, but an old-fashioned clock with hands
gives students a better sense of how swiftly time passes.
Set a timer to motivate targeted behaviors.
To help with transitions, for example, tell students they have five minutes to finish their
work, and set an alarm to signal when time is up.
Make sure students begin tasks promptly. Children with ADHD often use delaying
tactics—like sharpening a pencil—to put off doing tasks they find boring. Stand next to your
students that tend to take too much time to get them started. If punctuality is a problem,
include it as a goal on a daily report card or as part of a behavioral contract.
Put it on paper. A written class schedule provides structure for the school day and breaks
time into meaningful chunks. Review it each morning, and refer to it throughout the day,
noting the time allotted for each activity.
Teach students to Use a “to-do” List. Attach a daily to-do list to each desk, and see that
your students get in the habit of crossing off accomplished tasks. Have them add personal
reminders—like "bring lunch money to office" or "return library books. Encourage parents to
use checklists to improve time management at home.
Lead students in recording assignments in their planners. Take a few minutes at the end
of the subject period or school day to lead students in recording assignments in their planners.
Present assignments both verbally and visually, and post them in a designated place in the
room. Remind them tp check their planners on a regular basis. Instruct students to enter an
assignment on the page showing the date it is due. Make sure it's done correctly - AD/HD
students tend to write things in the wrong place - or assign "study buddies" who can check on
each other. (Choose a well-organized partner for a student with ADHD.)

Heidi Allen #1

Provide assignments on a typed page. If a student has difficulty copying assignments,
provide them on a typed page that she can paste into her planner.
Color-code academic materials. Use green for all science notebooks, binders, and folders,
plus keep related classroom materials in matching green bins. Select other colors for other
Post steps for routines. Hang colorful signs to show where homework, lunchboxes, and
parent-teacher correspondence should be placed. A reminder about dismissal might read: Did
you clear off your desk? Did you pack your book bag? Do you have your jacket, lunchbox,
and homework assignment?
Simplify the flow of papers. Provide each student with three clear, pocket-type folders labeled "Mail," "Homework to Do," and "Completed Homework."
Schedule a class clean-up. Provide time for students to de-clutter their binders, backpacks,
and desks. Hold periodic inspections, and award prizes for tidiness.
Provide structure for long-term projects, and break projects into manageable steps.
Post deadlines for each stage and refer to them frequently. Let parents know about these due
dates, as well.

Langberg, J., Becker, S., Epstein, J., Vaughn, A., & Girio-Herrera, E. (2013). Predictors of Response and Mechanisms of
Change in an Organizational Skills Intervention for Students with ADHD. Journal Of Child & Family Studies, 22(7),
Langberg, J. M., Epstein, J. N., Urbanowicz, C. M., Simon, J. O., & Graham, A. J. (2008). Efficacy of an organization skills
intervention to improve the academic functioning of students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity
disorder. School Psychology Quarterly, 23(3), 407-417.
Langberg, J., Epstein, J., Becker, S., Girio-Herrera, E., & Vaughn, A. (2012). Evaluation of the Homework, Organization, and
Planning Skills (HOPS) Intervention for Middle School Students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder as
Implemented by School Mental Health Providers. School Psychology Review, 41(3), 342-364.