Organizing from the start is the key to a great year with this idea by Norma, a Kindergarten Teacher in El Paso, TX.
Here’s a low-tech but highly effective organizational system I have used in my many years of teaching. This idea is so fabulous; I wish I had it in place from my very day of teaching on.
The Joy of the List!
To get and stay organized, I keep a large 3-ring binder on my desk at ALL times. Inside this binder, I store lists, such as the following:
- Master class list of student’s names (useful for many tracking purposes from homework to collecting field trip money)
- Map of the school plus a map of all the fire exits
- Daily and weekly class schedule
- Colleagues’ e-mail and cell phone contacts
- Students’ home e-mail addresses and phone numbers
- Student information sheets we collect at the beginning of each school year
- Emergency phone numbers
- Confidential list of health concerns (allergies, medications, etc.) from the school nurse
- Field trip contact names and numbers, plus a list of dates (as these are scheduled ahead of time)
- Important dates including Back to School Night, Parent-Teacher Conference dates, dates for standardized testing, etc. (I keep this master list of important dates in my computer and can easily update and print out a new list as the year progresses.)
In addition, I include a plastic pocket page protector for each student In these pockets, I store correspondence to and from home, phone call documentation, copies of e-mails with parents, copies of report cards, annotations of progress and concern, summaries of conferences, copies of teacher observations, etc.
I also punch holes in manila envelopes and use these to collect money for class trips and book club orders.
I also use label dividers to separate each section of my organizer notebook.
This folder stores a set of master activity pages that can be duplicated and used anytime in the school year in the event that I am absent for an extended period of time.
This binder system is really quite easy to set up and has saved me lots of time and energy through the years. I never find myself scrambling for information and rest assured that it helps my teaching assistant and substitute teachers as well.
Barb J says
I LOVE this idea! I have something similar set up, but need to revamp it a bit this year to be even more effective!
Paulette Pattengill says
This information on organization is very helpful. I keep copies of everything on both my computer and my flash drive, but I’m really liking the idea of a binder. Must try this!
Thank you for this idea! I am always “tweeking” my organization within the classroom. I really am excited to try this one out!
These are some great ideas! I, too, keep a binder – but not so extensive. Would you please tell what size binder accommodates all of your ‘files’?
Sharon M says
It is my 3rd week of school and I really need to get more organized. Thanks for the tips.
Sarah C says
What an awesome idea! And such a simple idea at that! This is great! It would also be a good resource for a substitute who is in your class. She can use that binder to take roll, learn the schedule for the day, etc. Now I must take a trip to the office supply store!
I use a binder as well, but I keep my substitute activities elsewhere because of my class sizes. I loved your idea for the envelopes–I may use this to collect classroom work instead of hauling it in something separate. Thanks!
I used a 3 inch binder last year – I TRIED anyway – but wasn’t successful because I didn’t use it efficiently. When I saw your list of suggested items to keep in the binder I made note and organized my binder pretty much the same way. We’ve just finished the 2nd week of school but I already feel much less stressed about where to find some of these papers. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for sharing. I have a similar system, but reading about yours makes me think of what eleemosynary I need to add to my binder. I also use binders for striding units of study in. Makes it easier when using the unit and e drugging is in one place.
I have kept a few smaller binders with similar info the past couple of years, but I love your description of having it all in one place! With 26 students I am concerned about it fitting into one binder, but I am going to create a plan and see what I can do… thank you for sharing!
I have a very similar binder, and I love it! Here is the list of items in mine….
lesson plans, student roster, emergency contact information for students, medical information, crisis drill steps/directions, sub back up plans & necessary information, staff meeting notes with extra paper, and my favorite — a print off of each month of my Google Calendar. (When I find out about assemblies & other items that need to be added to my agenda, I don’t have to keep each little piece of paper or email. I write it on the calendar and go on my merry way. Plus, all of my personal dates are already on there. Before I print, I enter the entire school year’s schedule and all of my students’ birthdays.)
**I found a great idea on Pinterest last year & loved it so much. I use a cookbook stand to hold my binder up on my desk so I have more counter space. I will never go back!**
Thanks so much for repeating this entry. A nice, fat binder is the first thing I plan to buy for September.
Astute Hoot says
Awesome tips! I’m going to share this with the new teachers I work with.