Friday, September 5, 2014

The First Week of School: BINDERS

Happy Friday! Our first week back to school is coming to an end for the Chicago Public Schools. One of my favorite things that we've done this week in middle school is creating and setting up binders for each student. 

As teachers, we spend a LOT of time telling students what not to do. Don't lose this paper. Don't forget to bring materials to class. Don't leave your work in your backpack. Don't leave your homework at home. Creating a color-coded binder system is a great way to teach students what they should do. 

How to create 105 perfectly organized tweens and teens in a few key steps:

1. Purchase 3 ring binders, clear folders with pockets, and a supply pouch for each student. You can get these materials at Office Depot, Staples, or Target. We purchased ours from Office Depot.
  • Zipper Binder: Ours is a Five Star brand 2 inch trapper keeper. It's made to last the hustle and bustle of being a middle schooler. It includes an inside zipper to keep smaller items. 
  • Pencil Pouch: This is where students can keep pencils, pens, highlighters, and their PBIS "Husky Bucks".

Buying these supplies for an entire middle school is not cheap. Some schools are able to provide these supplies free of charge. Others ask for students to purchase these on their own. Another school has parents pay a supply fee and then has the teachers purchase the materials as they see fit. We had a donation to help get our supplies in order. You can also go onto Donor's Choose. 
2. Take the time to set up the binders as a class. Two of our amazing Learning Specialists, Ms. Nguyen and Ms. Cohen put together a powerpoint that clearly went through each step.

3. Get to organizing! Give students time to set up their binders, make theirs look like your example, and help one another out. This initial set up takes a while but IT IS WORTH IT! It took each middle school class about an hour to get everything all together. 

4. It doesn't stop there! Refer to and use this binder in every class, every day, for the rest of the year, for the rest of their time in middle school... heck, for the rest of their schooling career. Make sure students are carrying it in the hallway. Give students time to put materials away in class. Forget about diamonds. These BINDERS are forever! 

Off they go! 

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