This year in first grade, the school has given my son a planner. I know it will help the child be organized, and the teacher will largely direct what he is to put in it. Are there any special things that we should be doing to make sure that he maximizes the benefits of using a planner? -- For Planning Answer: Most teachers believe that it is essential for students to use planners. Obviously, the teachers at your child's school buy into this view. And they are right to do so, as the students who use planners usually receive good grades, as they usually handle assignments and tests better. One thing that parents can do is to make sure that their children have their planner in an easily accessible location in their bookbag or backpack so it can be retrieved quickly when needed. Children also need to develop a plan so it is brought back to school each day. The planner should be placed in their bookbags or backpacks when they are finished doing their homework. A handy trick is keeping a pencil in the planner so assignments can easily be written down at school, and there is no time lost searching for one. Parents can also insert a list that has the books and materials that need to be brought home every night to jog their children's memories. Young children like your child may require some assistance in tackling their homework assignments. Parents can look over the assignments list in the planner and help a child decide the order in which the assignments will be done. And if school work is placed in the planner, parents should make a point to go over it every day with their children.