Wednesday, July 17, 2013

DIY: Making My Student Binders

Earlier this month, I posted the cover I use for my student binders - a FREEBIE.  I had such a positive response and requests to show the complete student binder, so I took pictures all along the way as I put them together.  If you are trying to decide whether or not to use binders, let me explain why I feel it an important investment of my time and resources.


First, I want to provide ONE location which holds everything.  When my students pack their book bags, it is too easy to leave something out.  The same is true when they pack their book bag the night before at home.  If their written assignment, completed homework, study cards, notes from parents or teacher, order forms and money are in many possible and different locations, something can be overlooked and even lost.  Instead, this binder system helps the student stay organized by providing a specific labeled location for everything in one location.


Second, I want to provide a place where parents can locate my newsletter regularly. In years past, prior to using this binder system, I would send home our school newsletter as well as my classroom newsletter with weekly papers.  The problem was that the newsletter went home one week out of the month and often parents put weekly papers in different locations, so when they need to refer to the newsletter for info, they have to hunt for it, and sometimes don't find it.  In my binders, I include a clear pocket protector labeled "newsletters" for both school and classroom newsletters.  I have my students slide them in at the beginning of the month, where they stay there until the next month when I had out new ones. 

Third, I want to provide a resource location for study cards.  In years past, I would tell students to study their multiplication facts or vocabulary cards, but all too often, they were either left in their desk or at home and eventually lost.  In the binders, I include a clear, zipper pouch where parents can regularly find these resource cards when parents have extra time during the week to review them with their student.  Inside we keep our science or social studies unit vocabulary cards or our multiplication cards.  At the end of the unit, they put them in their weekly folder to go home for good.  Generally, the multiplication cards stay since we work on speed fluency once the facts are mastered. 

Fourth, I needed a specified location to look for notes and money sent to school.  Without a special place designated for money and notes, parents put these important items in various locations (book bag pockets, lunch box, etc.).  I use parent volunteers each morning, to help with checking in homework and other "housekeeping" duties.  Students open their binders first thing and leave them open on their desk until someone checks for notes, money and homework.  For this purpose, I put a label in the very front pocket so it will not be missed. 

Fifth, I want the homework to be done, not on loose paper, but on the paper that is bound in the three rings, not to be removed until the student is back at school.  In the back of the binder I included notebook paper and a pocket for homework handouts.  If homework is in a separate location other than this binder, it is likely that it may be left at home.  In my binders, the agenda (where daily assignments are written) as well as homework handouts and/or notebook paper for homework is kept in the binder.  Except for worksheets, homework is not taken out of the binder.   Worksheets have a labeled pocket as well, in he back.


Now, if I 've persuaded you to take the leap and try binders, keep reading and I'll lead you through it.  Here are the materials you'll need: 
  • 1 1/2 inch binders with clear insert pocket on the outside front (I prepare 24, which includes a few extra for possible new students)
  • lots of notebook paper (maybe 8 packs = one pack per 3 binders)
  • a package of sheet protectors
  • clear zipper pockets that have holes to fit in a three-ring binder.
  • Labels (5 sheets)



 


1st step: Make copies of your binder cover. 
 I use colored paper since it is more economical that using colored ink.
 
 


2nd step: Print all the labels you will need: 
Study Cards
Homework Handouts
Newsletters
Notes/Money
 



 3rd step:  Attach the front and back pocket labels and add notebook paper.  The "notes/money" label goes on the front inside pocket.  I attach the "Homework Handouts" label on the side of the right pocket, where I can still see the "Homework Handouts" label, after inserting the notebook paper.  





4th step:  Attach "Newsletter" labels to the page protectors and insert into the binder on top of the notebook paper.






Step 5:  Attach "Study Cards" labels to clear zipper pouches and insert them on top of the newsletter. 

I found these in color this year from Wal-Mart for only 47 cents. 



 
 
 
Step 6:  Insert your school's agenda/organizer/assignment notebook
 
Since we don't have this year's agendas until we return to school,
I inserted the one my daughter had from last year to show you where it is located. 
It fits between the zipper pouch and the notebook paper. 
 



Step 7:  Insert your binder covers.

 
 
 
 
 
And...you're done!
 
Click HERE to get your FREE copy of the binder cover page that I use.  You can add your name at year at the bottom. 
 
 
Classroom DIY
 

19 comments:

  1. WOW...this is perfect for want I wanted to do..thanks for the directions!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rosie, I stopped by your blog to get you name. Your blog is super cute! I am glad I could help. I expanded on the way I use the binders in the comment below. It may provide further clarification. Thanks for your comment and I welcome you back soon.
      -Susan

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  2. It's funny how I was thinking of making binders last night and I read your post this morning. Must be a sign :) Do you use this binder for only math notes and hw?
    Thanks for sharing!

    Patti
    One Class, One Sound

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    Replies
    1. Hi Patti,
      I suppose "great minds think alike"! As for your mention of "math notes"...I use it for whatever is needed to go back and forth from home to school. I don't use this binder as a "subject organizer". Many years ago, I tried that but found students still did not write in the proper section for that subject. I gave up and just use a "classwork" folder that stays in class. If however, I want something to go home from the folder for study, I would have them put it in the binder. In the "homework handouts" pocket, I include study guides for any upcoming tests. If I assign questions from the social studies or science book, my students use the notebook paper in the binder to record their answers and they are and kept in the binder until they get to class. In the "study cards" pouch, students keep their word sort cards, their math flashcards for whatever fact they are working on, and vocabulary flash cards we make for content areas. Thanks for your input and questions! I welcome you back soon.
      -Susan

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    2. Patti, I just realized that you may have thought my "notes/money" label meant notes on a content subject. That is not my intent here. I want to use this pocket for "notes" from parents along with money. Sometimes the speech or Sped teacher needs to send home notes during the week as well, and I place them in this folder.
      -Susan

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  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  4. Wow. . .this is GREAT, but seems soooo expensive. Where do you find your binders?? Especially the ones with the pocket front--they are really expensive. Thanks for the great ideas!!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Lynn,
      Each classroom gets to place an order from our county supply warehouse twice each year. In addition to construction paper, glue and such, I order two boxes of these binders, labels, and the page protectors. The paper comes in from the students as it is on the posted student supply list, so no cost to me personally. That leaves only the cost of the zippered pouches for me to absorb. I found these for only 47 cents each at Wal-Mart. I will tell you the first year I wanted to start these, I had not ordered these binders. I went to my principal and told her about them and she was more that happy to get them for me. She only had to order one box because she found ten or twelve in the office storage closet. Ever since, I order them. They are the same ones that are sold at office supply stores, but you can find them at their cheapest right now. Another option is to put these binders on your student's supply list. My students want to purchase some supplies on their own, so if I my school did not purchase these, I would do that and I know most parents would supply them. I hope you can find a way to make it work for you.
      -Susan

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  5. This is awesome. I'm teaching a kindergarten first grade combination and I would love to use something like this. The better to keep me organized!
    Sarah
    I found you on classroom freebies!
    I Dream of First Grade
    Teaching Resources for the Classroom

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So good to hear from you Sarah. Thank you. I know these will work for you in kindergarten, since that is where I saw them used this way the first time. My daughter's kindergarten teacher, Kim Adsit with Kindergals uses them. She has some great ideas for kindergarten. You ought to go check her out. (Tell her Susan Hardin sent you. Ha Ha.) Before that, I had seen many teachers use them to try and keep classwork and student-written class notes organized by subject, but it never worked. In contrast, this is a great organizational tool that all of us love (parents, students and me).
      Thanks for visiting!
      -Susan

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  6. I found you on Manic Monday. This is a great idea. Thanks for the step by step directions. A neighbor just gave me almost 50 binders with the clear front. Now, they have a purpose!!!
    Yashika
    http://somewherebetweenfirstandthird.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yashika, Thank you. I'm glad the directions were helpful. (When my husband sees me taking all these pictures, he never asks me why any more. He knows its one of these DYI posts. Ha Ha.) That is an awesome gift this time of year! Yes, now they have a purpose and will help you and your students all year! Thanks for stopping by and hope to hear from you again soon.
      -Susan

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  7. I'm glad I'm not the only one that has the binder problem. I've used folders but you've convinced me to give it a try. Looks like a fantastic system. LeAnn 4thgrade4ever.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi LeAnn. Glad you stopped by! I'm so glad I convince you to try this binder system. I could have saved myself and my students a lot of stress had I started them sooner myself. I do still use a a couple of folders, but these stay in the classroom. In an earlier post I mentioned their purposed, but in short, I use one for Classwork use, one for holding their finished/writing pieces, and I use a composition book for math. Stop back by for a visit and let me know how they are working for you.
      -Susan

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  8. how do you organize your students in the subjects you teach? I am torn between the big binder or separating the subjects into small spiral notebooks

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jamie! Sorry I did not reply when you asked this question. First of all, I will send home anything I want my students to study at home, as a study guide sheet, and I will put it in their binder pocket marked "Homework Handouts". If there are study cards, they will go in the zipper pouch marked "Study Cards" (math flash cards or vocabulary cards). We don't have final exams so they don't need to keep up with notes from lengthy periods of time. However, even if we did, I'd rather provide them with a more concise study guide rather than something in their, often poor, handwriting. The rest of the folders stay at school. I give a bit more detail in an earlier post you'll find in the link below titled "classroom folders". I hope this answers your questions. Good luck!

      Classroom Folders

      Delete
    2. Hi Jamie! Sorry I did not reply when you asked this question. First of all, I will send home anything I want my students to study at home, as a study guide sheet, and I will put it in their binder pocket marked "Homework Handouts". If there are study cards, they will go in the zipper pouch marked "Study Cards" (math flash cards or vocabulary cards). We don't have final exams so they don't need to keep up with notes from lengthy periods of time. However, even if we did, I'd rather provide them with a more concise study guide rather than something in their, often poor, handwriting. The rest of the folders stay at school. I give a bit more detail in an earlier post you'll find in the link below. I hope this answers your questions. Good luck!

      www.3rdgradegrapevine.blogspot.com/2013/07/tackling-my-back-to-school-to-do-list.html

      Delete
    3. Hi Jamie! Sorry I did not reply when you asked this question. First of all, I will send home anything I want my students to study at home, as a study guide sheet, and I will put it in their binder pocket marked "Homework Handouts". If there are study cards, they will go in the zipper pouch marked "Study Cards" (math flash cards or vocabulary cards). We don't have final exams so they don't need to keep up with notes from lengthy periods of time. However, even if we did, I'd rather provide them with a more concise study guide rather than something in their, often poor, handwriting. The rest of the folders stay at school. I give a bit more detail in an earlier post you'll find in the link below titled "classroom folders". I hope this answers your questions. Good luck!

      Classroom Folders

      Delete

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