Peer Checker

  • Situation

    I have a student who is pretty disorganized and I always have to spend time with him before and after each math class to make sure he has his assignment, materials or homework etc.  He is in 5th grade and I really think kids at this age should be able to do this on their own.  His special education teacher feels he needs additional support to get himself organized but it is hard to do this when I have 28 other students in my class.  Any ideas?

  • Summary

    It does sound like this is a student who could use some assistance in getting organized, regardless of his age.  Students with disabilities may struggle to plan, organize or execute a plan well which results in lost homework, missing materials and also frustration for the student and teacher and parent.  One idea that could benefit both you and the student is to use a volunteer peer to “check” on this student to see if he or she has materials and is ready for class and has homework assignment.  Provided the peer is a good match, most kids are willing to receive help from a classmate rather than an adult.  This would free up some of your time before or after class to attend to other students as needed.

  • Definition

    A Peer Checker (or Buddy) refers to a willing and capable peer to assist a student in some way…in this case, to help a student prepare for class and home assignments.

  • Quick Facts

    • Child's Age: 6-10, 11-13
    • Planning Effort: Low
    • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Pre-requisites

    The student in need of help is willing to accept help from a classmate.


    The peer helper is supportive, organized and feels comfortable assisting the student.


    An adult willing to train the peer and oversee the implementation of the strategy.

  • Process

    1. Talk to the student with organizational difficulties and offer a Peer Checker as one possible solution.  Have 2 or 3 students in mind that might be a nice match and gather input as to his preference.  Choose a peer who is empathetic, friendly, organized and has good grades.

    2. Meet with the potential Peer Checker and ask if he/she would be willing to help.  Explain his or her role.

    3. Along with students, develop a simple checklist (see sample) of items that need to be ready for class or home, assignments that need to be completed or homework that needs to be turned in.  This list would be individualized to a specific student’s situation.

    4. Select the time of day (e.g. right before class in the locker area, right after class at desks) where the Peer Checker would go through the checklist along with the peer in need and check off each item as it is completed.  Initially, the peer may need more frequent check-ins but over time, these should be faded to the point that the student needing the extra support is using the checklist on his own.

  • Documents and Related Resources

    Adapted from: Practical Ideas that Really Work for Students with ADHD (McConnell, Ryser, Higgins)


    Practical Ideas That Really Help Students with ADHD (sample retail site to purchase Practical Ideas that Really Work for Students with ADHD)


    Peer Checklist (Word document)


    If you have questions or concerns about the Watson Institute’s use of this information, please contact us.