Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Daily Folder Dilemma

I don't know about you all, but every year the whole Daily Folder thing makes me crazy.  It seems like within the first nine weeks I'm already replacing folders or duct taping them back together.  All of the important papers are flying out all over the place and homework seems to disappear.  I was determined to fix that once and for all this, voila!  

Now, I know I am not the first teacher in the world to try out the whole binder concept.  I've seen the STAR binders, the BEE binders, and all of those super cute ideas.  It was just that none of them had exactly what I wanted, so I decided that I would make up my own.

In the front of the binder I have three plastic page covers.  In the first one I put our weekly newsletter.  On the back of the newsletter each week I print one of these handy little literacy handouts for parents.  They are a freebie from Primary Punch and I LOVE them!  In the next page protector I have my homework procedures for reading, math, and spelling.

Behind that I have the kid's login information for Xtramath.  If you haven't checked out, it is a fabulous (FREE!) tool for math fact practice.  It tracks your students progress and introduces new facts as they master the ones they are working on.  We use it almost daily in the classroom and I encourage parents to use it at home as well.  Next, on the green paper, I have our sight word list for the year.  I assessed my kiddos early in the year and checked off the ones they knew so the parents would know what they still needed to practice.

Next up are the dividers.  Behind the first two dividers are my spelling lists and challenge lists for the ENTIRE YEAR.  I got them from Sailing Through 1st Grade, and they go along with the Open Court Imagine It series.  Now each week I just tell my parents what lesson we are on in the newsletter and they can find the appropriate list themselves.  One less thing to type out in the ol' newsletter!

After that I have my reading and math homework...again, for the WHOLE YEAR.  No more passing out papers weekly, then collecting them again on Friday.  I use the Comprehension Notebook and  Daily Math Notebook from Jodi Southard.  

I love that both of these resources are broken up into one daily task for each day of the week.  It's a great reinforcement tool for those comprehension and problem solving standards and the format for each week is the same, so my kids know what to expect.  This helps them become independent and successful.

I'm super excited about my binders for this year and I'm hoping they hold up all year.  If not, I guess I will have to bust out with my cute pineapple duct tape and do some binder surgery.  So far my parents are loving it, and I am loving not having to run back and forth to the copy machine to get ready for the new week!

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