Quick and Simple Steps for Student To-Do Lists

Posted by Kathryn Roessler | Upper School Learning Specialist on Apr 27, 2021 4:52:00 PM

Create Quick and Simple To-Do Lists using the Stickies app that will "stick" in your memory and improve student organization. 

As a Learning Specialist at an independent high school in Alexandria, VA, I have learned that some students have varying working memory capacities. Oftentimes, it can be difficult for those students to hold information “in their mind’s eye” in order to then do something with it. Both attention and anxiety can impact working memory as well.  If your child or a student is having trouble focusing or if they are feeling anxious, it may reduce their working memory capacity. In reality, nearly all middle and high school students are still developing important executive functioning skills, 

though some students will experience more challenges with skills like planning and time management than others. Let's look at how we can support adolescents through this development.

Steps to support planning skills and time management

In the Academic Support Center classes for middle and upper school students, we encourage students to use the Stickies app on their Mac computers to support their working memory and planning skills. We ask them to create to-do lists for homework assignments, numbered in order of priority. Furthermore, we encourage them to add reminders - including a reminder to check their email daily and set up teacher meetings for extra help.

Overall, I like Stickies because they are easy to use and stay visual on students’ desktops. They can also be customized and moved around the screen as needed. I encourage the teachers with whom I work to remind their students or advisees to use this helpful tool. 

Stickies are very helpful for my own to-do lists. I have one for daily and weekly to-do list items, one with my Zoom link for quick copy and pasting, and another for important notes. I also have one that lists information I need to remember, like which college counselors work with which letters of the alphabet, how to dial voicemail, and so forth. Maybe Stickies would be helpful for you, too? If so, check out this resource geared towards creating to-do lists using Stickies

How to Use Stickies to Make To-Do Lists in 5 Easy Steps

Screen Shot 2021-04-27 at 2.32.57 PM

  1. Use the spotlight tool to search for the Stickies app. When you first open it, you will see pre-written stickies notes. You can type directly on those. 
  2. To make a new note, click the File menu and New Note
  3. To increase or decrease the note size, drag the lower-right corner. 
  4. To change the font, click the Font menu, and then select Show Fonts. Select from the font options, and change the size if you would like. 
  5. To change the color of the stickies, click the Color menu and make your change. 

Parents, you may also encourage your child to use this tool for school, chores, athletic schedules, and more. Planning and time management are great habits to model for your kids and for them to learn and adopt early in their academic development.

On St. Stephen's and St. Agnes Upper School campus, we set the highest academic standards through a demanding college preparatory curriculum. The academic program gives our students a firm grasp of fundamental skills and develops their ability to think and write creatively, critically, and independently. In addition, we provide support to our students in order to help them become more effective learners and successful self-advocates. 

Our learning specialists provide assistance with many different skills, including:

  • Organization and time management
  • Completion of a homework planner
  • Study and research skills
  • Reading comprehension
  • Implementing a strategic approach to writing assignments
  • Assisting with setting up teacher meetings
  • Monitoring anxiety related to academics

To learn more about St. Stephen's and St. Agnes Upper School and our Academic Center services, request more information here.

Topics: Insider, Teachers as experts, become ready, Looking at private schools, Upper School, Academics, Middle School, Academic Center, executive function

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