Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Teacher Tips Tuesday!

It's Tuesday again (can someone please slow the summer down!). 
 I'm super excited to have yet another fabulous blogger!  Today I have April from The Idea Backpack here!  She has some great organizations tips for you!

I am excited to help in Tori’s Teacher Tips Tuesday. My name is April Walker and my blog is the Idea Backpack (ideabackpack.blogspot.com). I taught for almost 4 years. For the last few months I have been working as a technical writer because teaching jobs are so difficult to obtain! It has given me a new appreciation for writing, formatting, organization, and editing though. I live in Dallas, Texas. My teaching experience is with grades 3-6 for English and Social Studies.

My natural bent is too over-think and make lists for everything. In my several years of teaching, I did learn a few things about organization though. I have seen lots of teacher-bloggers making really cute binder covers for a main teacher binder. I have been making binder covers myself, mainly because I want to move most of my files over to binders. Here are a few tips on a teacher binder, though.

A Teacher Binder

1) Dividers!

Get dividers in different colors and sizes. I love the dividers with pockets. Why? Well, as much as having the perfect binder with all the right sections sounds perfect; the truth is in the middle of the chaos of your day, you don’t always have time to hole-punch things. You can always throw lessons and handouts in the pocket to be hole-punched later. I also love the dividers with pockets because they are larger. This allows you to also use normal dividers to allow for even more sub-topics of organization. For example, I might have a pocket divider for the first six weeks and then behind it other dividers for tests and lessons or a divider for each subject.

Avery Multicolored Plastic Insertable Tab Dividers, 8-Tab

The picture of the purple folder/pocket thing is great, too, to throw in your binder. You can store all sorts of extra whatever in there. It closes up too, which can be helpful.

2) Make it your own

Just because someone else has one set of categories doesn’t mean that is right for you. I have tried having dividers for each subject, reading groups, and even a divider for each six weeks. I like keeping my lessons and copy of all activities and tests in the binder. It makes it easier when I have to run and make a copy of something. When I taught multiple grades and subjects, I had a binder for each grade. Then within each grade, I had a section for each subject. I always include a general section at the front for school info, field trips, parent logs, etc.

3) Put sections for things you will really use

Some years my sections were based more on what I was told had to be in my binder than what was really useful for me. Make sure you re-evaluate as well. If it's not working, change it up.

A Teacher Notebook

I would also recommend having a college-ruled notebook. I like having a 3 subject notebook. I didn’t like taking my teacher binder to staff meetings because it was too bulky. I found a notebook to be easier. I use the first section for meeting notes, the second section for writing lesson planning ideas and to-do-lists, and the third section for professional development.

It is a little pricy, but it comes with a little calendar, pockets for all those meeting handouts, and post-it flags. You can find them on sale, too.

My biggest struggle was probably taking and storing anecdotal student notes on reading and other types of conferences. How do you organize your teacher binder? What sections do you find essential? If this has been helpful at all, I would love to hear from you at ideabackpack@gmail.com.

Thank you so much April!  I LOVE learning about new tips from others...especially things that have worked out well!

**Remember to stop back tomorrow as I will be reviewing some products of a blogger friend as I link up with Jessica Stanford's Product Swap!!  I'm excited!**

Last thing... I'd love to have YOU be a part of Teacher Tips Tuesday!  Please email me for details...it's super easy!
Thanks for stopping by!