I have toyed with a plethora of ways to organize my curriculum over the years.
- I tried one big binder- It was too big and bulky and I could never fit all the dividers I wanted
- I tried using file folders in a drawer- It was too difficult to find the files and I never seemed to be able to keep things in the right order
- I tried printing as I went- This was just a waste of time and paper
- I tried keeping my papers organized by each grading period- This was the worst of all my ideas!
This year I decided to try something that was more time consuming as the others up front, but it has been a breeze after the initial work.
I decided that I wanted to keep a binder for each of the topics that I teach.
I made a list of all the topics I needed binders for:
- Figurative Language
- Point of view
- Context Clues
- Text Structure
- RPS (Root Word, Prefix, Suffix program I created)
- Sub Plans
- Study Guides
- Editing and Proofreading
- Quotation Marks
- Double Negatives
- I vs. Me
- Comparative and Superlative
- Staying on Topic
- Transition Words
- Fragments and Run ons
- Essay Writing
- Descriptive Writing
- How to Write and Essay
- Short Stories to Choose From
- Novel Units
- Monster Novel Unit
- Night Novel Unit
- Outsiders Novel Unit
- Hunger Games Novel Unit
- To Kill a Mockingbird
- Anthem Novel Unit
- Animal Farm Novel Unit
- Miscellaneous (for those activities that don't fit into any one category)
I waited until Wal Mart had their back-to-school binders on sale for 80 cents each and I bought enough for all the topics.
I also bought a buttload of dividers so that I could break each binder down into specific sections.
Reading Topic Binder Sections
I made a concerted effort 3 years ago to make sure each of my reading topics had:
- Powerpoint and/or Prezi Presentation with movie clips
- Identifying in Song Lyrics
- Identifying activity in short sentences
- Short stories that exemplify that topic
- Extra practice (I put extra practice questions/activities here in case my kids need more practice)
Writing Topic Binder Sections
Because I like to create editing and proofreading units in one packet that include:
- Guided Practice/Examples
- Practice Questions
- Multiple Choice Test
- Fill in the Blank Test
I just made each writing topic its own divider tab!
Novel Unit Binder Sections
I prefer to read all my novels in basically the same style so my kids know what to expect so I make sure that each novel has:
- Pre Reading Prezi
- Vocabulary Activities
- Chapter Questions and/or Quizzes
- After Reading Activities/Projects
- Final Test
Jazzing Up Your Binders
I bought extra large mailing labels and created fun covers to put on the front of each binder
I bought small mailing labels that I printed the topics on and place on the spine of each binder
Putting It All Together
I printed ALL the pieces of my curriculum topic by topic and place them into each binder with the appropriate dividers
Here is a look at the finished product:
|All of my binders across three student desks|
|I keep all of the binders on a shelf next to my desk (Can you tell I didn't think through sticker placement to keep them all even until about halfway through this process? I plan to correct that this summer!)|
When I am making my copies I only need to grab the binder/s that I need
When a co-worker asks me, "Hey, have you got anything extra on Symbolism?" I can just hand them a binder
When I feel like creating new materials and need to know what topic needs to be beefed up, I just pull out a binder and check out my divider tabs to see what looks a little weak.
The whole endeavor cost me about $35 dollars and quite a few hours of my time (with printing 1,000s of pieces of paper).
A few big binders or file folders might work better for you, but I love this system and plan to keep it for a long time!