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Thursday, August 23, 2018

What Do I Need to Copy?

Since the school year has just begun, or is about to begin for some of you, I wanted to share one of the best organization systems I've used, copy binders!

Nothing like lesson planning and thinking to yourself, "Now...what did I use for that activity last year?"  I had this happen.  A lot.  I also would arrive at the copier with one sheet I needed for a subject, but I had forgotten another one I wanted to go ahead and copy.

Don't get me wrong, I kept files for every unit and even color coded my file folders so all science was green, all math was red, etc..  Each unit was labeled and had its own folder.  The contents of those folders were pulled and put back in (usually..ha), but in no particular order.  The problem is, they held anything related to that unit including references or posters.

I found myself getting frustrated, because even though this was "organized" it didn't help me in the linear sense.  I wanted a way to remember everything I needed to copy for math, and I wanted it in the order that I used it.  Enter my binder organization method:

Here are some of my binders, not all are pictured.

Looks simple, right?   Well, it is.  Even more simple is how I set it up.  Instead of sitting down and thinking out the entire year at once, I decided to build my binder system as I went through the year.  So, I bought a 1 inch binder with a clear cover (these are cheap!) for each subject (math, science, social studies, reading, ELA/writing, word study) and I also kept one called "General."  General was where I kept things like copies for their take home folders, letters I sent home to the entire class, field trip letters, volunteer letters, Scholastic book order forms, etc... It also held all of my beginning of the year info sheets!

I also bought a box of regular sheet protectors like these.  I should note, you don't have to buy the absolute top of the line for these...since they aren't being pulled in and out everyday.

I kept these binders on my shelf, and every time I made a copy, I made one extra and slipped it into a sheet protector in the binder.  I made sure to put it after the last thing I copied to preserve the order in which I used it.  Once the year was over, I had every subject with every copy I had made in order.

I placed a sticky note on the last thing I copied to make this even easier. (You can see some sticky notes sticking out of my binders!) Once the year was over, I could even put in dividers for each unit to make things more simple.

Now, I feel I should say that I still kept my file folders too.  As I said before, not everything was something that I copied.   However, I loved being about to come in, grab the subject binders I needed to copy for that day and head to the copier without having to dig through folders!  It also helped me get rid of things I realized I didn't actually use from year to year.

It may not be something you feel you need, but I just wanted to share because I loved having this organization method!  It helped tremendously and it was something I did over a year so it didn't take a ton of my time.  Time is too valuable when you're in charge of 25 students all day!

If you like my covers, you can get them along with matching binder spines here:

Click red "P" to pin, anywhere else on the picture to get the covers!

Let us know how you organize!  Have you found a solution that works for you?

Cheers and Happy Teaching!

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