Monday, January 14, 2013

Going From Files to Binders...Take the Leap with Me!

Well it is Monday, and RAINING! Notice all those capital letters. We may even have a delay tomorrow if all this rain keeps up. So on this rainy day, I am going to share how I made the leap to binders for my handout/printables/worksheets (whatever you want to call them!) storage.

First, a little background as to why I went to binders. I hated my file folders in the filing cabinet! The papers would get messy and folded and I would wind up with  all these random copies of items. I would pull out a thick folder for Irrelevant Sentences only to find two handouts, the rest were like class sets. Who needs all that? Not me anymore! When I decided to transfer schools, I knew this was the time to make the move to binders.

I gathered my supplies...binders from my college days, tab dividers and page protectors from Office Depot.

I really like these tabs because they are long enough to be viewed with the page protectors. They can be a little pricey, though!



I got this box of 200 page protectors. They are pretty thin, but for my needs, they were perfect!


Then, I set up my binders. I used my state standards to make a cover page for each binder. I separated Literacy into three binders (Language, Reading, Writing/Research) and made binders for Math, Science, Social Studies, Writing, and binders specific to TCAP (our state test) preparation. After making the covers, I typed all the tab dividers and got them inserted.

Here is the cover of my Reading Skills Binder:



Here is an inside shot of the tabs in the Math Skills Binder:


Then I was all ready for the files! I would take home three or four folders a day and place the handouts in page protectors and then into their correct section. While I was doing this, I threw away all multiple copies! Well, I put them in the recycling, but either way, they were gone!

Here are some examples of what was put in each section:

Master copies of reading games:


Assessments



Lists of words problems used for problem based learning:



And for my TCAP Binders, I made tabs for my TCAP study guides, study guide quizzes, small group skill pages, homework review pages! I am all set for TCAP review this year! Here are some shots of my Math TCAP Binder:






The  best part about the binders are when it is time to copy. All you do is take out the page protector, leave the binder opened to the page, copy the page, and place it back in the binder! I leave it open so I will remember to put it back. No more losing your master copy! 

This binder system has been working great for me this year. Anyone else use binders?


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22 comments:

  1. I LOVE Binders!! (I think I even called myself a "binder ho" in one of my posts ;). I use those dividers as well...I love having the pocket to stick things in before I organize it. Glad to see another convert!

    :) Kaitlyn
    Smiles and Sunshine

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    1. I love that term! Binders are awesome! Everyone should convert. :D

      Jennifer

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  2. I made the switch from files to binders this summer - best decision ever!

    ~Jessica
    Joy in the Journey

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    1. Jessica, I agree...best decision ever! I want to go into other teacher's rooms and organize their files into binders!

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  3. Yes I use binders. My coworkers make fun of me (lovingly) because everything is labeled, tabbed, and organized. I squealed when I received an electric three-hole punch for Christmas (which was on my list with a hyperlink). Yet, they know where to come if they lose their copy... I don't use the protectors, however, because I think that they get in the way when I'm making copies if I'm doing units and packets. I also don't like it when they stick out the end of my binder. Personal preference. I can see the advantage, though. I've actually been thinking of going to files, though, because they bought two filing cabinets for every classroom in my new building, but I'm being really resistant to that. I HATE files, for many of the reasons that you listed. Plus, all my papers curl if the drawer isn't full. Anyway, awesome job on organizing!

    Dane
    Fifth in the Middle

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    1. Diane, it does make it a little annoying because I can't run the copy through without removing the copy, but our risograph doesn't have a run through so it only comes up every now and then. I use my filing cabinet for classroom supplies and desk supplies. I put baskets in them! I don't use my desk because the teacher before me left it FULL of stuff and I would rather not fool with it. I have it up front as a table with the drawer locked.

      Jennifer

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  4. I made the switch last year to binders. We are divided into 6 weeks in my district, so I have a binder for each 6 weeks. (I teach all the math) I have 6 dividers in each folder, one for each week...I put the worksheets and activities that I do each week behind the divider. It has saved my life this year. I still have files but I know my fun, go to activities are all in my binders. :)

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    1. Katie, that is a great idea to have it divided by time frame. I would love to only teach math!

      Jennifer

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  5. Jennifer I love using binder. I even go so far to color code my binders. Math is orange, Reading is light blue etc. This way I can quickly put my hand on the exact subject I need.

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    1. Christina, if I could go back I would have color coded them. When I pull them out of the cabinet, it would be much easier to grab a certain color!

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  6. I've been contemplating switching to binders...I have the same pet peeves you described...too many things end up in a folder to have to dig through, etc. I think you've convinced me to start at the very least. Hopefully by the fall I will be able to get rid of at least one filing cabinet (of 3!) lol
    cantmakethisstuffup-hmichaud.blogspot.com

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    1. Heather, if you do, you won't regret it! But, taking it slow is a great idea. Do one filing cabinet a year.

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  7. Love the binder idea. Where do you end up storing them? I am done with file cabinets, but haven't gotten organized yet! I just started a blog and put up your button! Stop by follow me! :) http://pinkadotselementary.blogspot.com/

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    1. I store them in my cabinet! Heading to your blog now!

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  8. I, too, am known as a "binder ho"!! My colleagues chide me lovingly...but they know where to go if they cant find something! I cannot stand file folders! I still have loads of them and am working on a binder system. Mine is still very much a work in progress! I would love some advice! Come visit me!

    5th Grade Tomfoolery

    Teri

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    1. Terri, it was definitely a huge task! I only undertook it because I was moving schools. If I had not, I would have probably put it off! Working a little at a time is the best bet! Heading to your blog!

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  9. Jennifer--I'm hoping to accomplish this over the summer--the file cabinet is currently too frightening to attack without a long vacation on the horizon :) Thanks for making it look so manageable.

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    1. You definitely need time to complete it. Right before summer vacation was perfect for me because I wasn't stressed about testing or benchmarking! I could just relax and organize!

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  10. No WAY! Totally not with you on this one! I did the opposite; I went out and bought pretty file folders and I LOVE them. Binders are heavy, annoying to clip open and shut for copying, create too much pressure to organize into a specific order, and shlepping them home has given me a shoulder injury over the years.

    I love my pretty folders; I can swap one for another each week and just pop it back into a plastic tote when I'm done with it. And organizing within them is a breeze: Done this year goes in front, not done yet goes in the back. Not every group of kids needs every page, so if I skip some it's no big deal that the ones in the middle stay there. Those are the ones that I know are not my MVPs so I may need to weed out. Folders work for me!

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  11. Amber, that does sound like a good organization tool for you! I found out a few years ago that I had to find my own way of organizing. Every time I tried to do what someone else was doing, it never worked! I think I have tried it all! This is the only thing that works for me. I admit to loving pretty folders, though! I use them for my files that pertain to my current class.

    Jennifer

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    1. So true. Still fun to read up on new ways to organize though! Lots of my pins are of manipulative shelves, reading areas, caddies, etc. I'm just in awe of teachers whose classrooms look like they have their own personal secretary/stager, haha.

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  12. I have used binders for filing since I taught 2nd grade and OH MY GOSH how awesome are they! I don't have to dig through files and try to remember what I called things and where I filed them but instead can file them in order of how I would teach them, like subjects, etc. Such a lifesaver!

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