Monday, June 10, 2013

My School Binder/Bible

My whole life (basically) lives inside a pretty little binder by Vera Bradley.  The binder color is Viva La of my classic favorites!  It came with these wonderfully colorful tabbed inserts and coordinating labels (although I used my old faithful, DYMO label maker for the tabs).  
In the beginning of the school year I thought about what would be important to have at my fingertips throughout the entire year.  This binder, after all, would sit front and center on my desk all year and go home with me each afternoon.

I decided on the following tabs; to-do (which has turned into a calendar...more about that later), daily plans, common core standards/curriculum, grades, and a parent log.

The daily plans is where I outline what is being introduced that day.  These are not "full" lessons with objectives, etc.  I try and make this format user friendly since it often has to be modified or scrapped altogether.  Being a teacher means being super-flexible. Almost nothing works out how I plan it.  Ahhh... in a perfect world.  A girl can dream!

I scoured TpT (Teachers Pay Teachers) for a free, cute downloadable calendar template for 2013.  I found one on a site that is typically for primary grades.  Deanna Jump, I think now famous due to her remarkable income generated from TpT, had a great free calendar that has worked out beautifully for me this year.  I'm hoping to find another one over the summer...fingers crossed!

Next, I have a grade book (just a class list grid) where I can jot down grades or check off student names for whatever it is we are doing.  Right now...I am collecting permission slips for our field trip. Our district, like many, has been using Power School for grade input on the computer.  There is also an app, which makes it really convenient when I'm grading in bed or on the couch.  I've actually taken the iPad and some papers while waiting at the doctor's office.

Then, it was a must to include the standards and our current curriculum.  Our plan for the math included many changes and supplements to accommodate the common core learning standards.  I used this master list as a scope and sequence and as a check list.  I would highlight all standards covered by specific lessons and activities in my classroom.

Another added feature is a great zipper pouch by the Martha Stewart Collection at Staples.  It's clear so you can easily see what your reaching for.  I use this one for stickers, post-it notes, post-it tabs, and marking pens.  It comes in so handy when I'm grading a set of papers at home (or at the dentist's office as luck would have it today).

I'm continually tweaking and improving...or trying to improve...most of my organizational systems.   The binder has actually worked quite well this year and not required too much alteration.  Although, I think I will add one more tab next year for collected data.  We collect so much benchmark and diagnostic data that it gets difficult to keep track of it all.  

I already have a new binder ready for organizing next year.  It's another one of my classic favs from VB...Hello Dahlia!

If it has a home and it's easy to find...that's the key to keeping it all together.  

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