I’ve gotten the organizing/downsizing bug this summer. I've seen all those cute binder labels on blogs and Pinterest. I am an organized person, but I never thought I can fit my stuff into binders. I mean it is 23 years of stuff! I read those wonderful posts from Clutter Free Classrooms, but never thought I'd jump in and do it. Now I am. I printed out some cute binder covers from Teachers Pay Teachers and felt compelled to use them. WHAT WAS I THINKING??? I only brought home a few files to go through this summer, so I only had my first two math chapters, my first reading theme, my October file, and some miscellaneous things. But I’d thought I would give it a go.
Materials I am using: 2” binders (bought for $11.00 for 4 from Costco), sheet protectors (bought for $11.00 for 250 in a box from Costco), index dividers with pockets ($3.89 for 8 from Target), cute binder graphics (from Brooke Hilderbrand on Teachers Pay Teachers), colored duct tape, gallon sized Ziploc bags, 3 ring hole punch and a LARGE recycling bin!
I am also one of those wonderful weird people who doesn’t like holes punched into my papers…you know because it copies holes on their worksheets and look so icky (I know weird right?). So I thought how would I use my binders without punching holes in each worksheet. Sheet protectors. A lot of them! And did you know that you can copy right from the sheet protector and not have to take the sheet out of it??? Time saver! That is why I put things I will use in the sheet protectors double sided with the answer key in the middle. That way I can just take my binder or sheet protector down to the copy machine and boom, done!
Did you know you can put masking tape on the edge of a Ziploc bag and it becomes hole punchable? I read that on Pinterest, but never tried it…until today! I didn’t have any masking tape at home, but I used some colored duct tape I had. It was easy to do. Just taped it to my counter, cut off the excess, and wrapped it around. And they held a lot more than the index divider folders and it was a lot cheaper. That is why I will use the Ziploc bags for all the extras I’m not ready to get rid of yet.
Here is what it looked like during (can you see my floor??? NO you can't!)
I put things that I use, or think I will use in sheet protectors. I then took things that I may use (you know once you see your student’s levels and get to know your class) and put those in the Ziploc bags. I also made a Ziploc bag for higher level things to challenge some higher level students.
I put games and center stuff in the index dividers in the front of that chapter. The next index divider folder is the start of the next chapter. I don’t have the entire first quarter files home, but by using a 2” binder, I’m hoping to use 1 for each quarter.
Here is what it looked like after...
I've got to say, I finally cleaned out some worksheets I've had for too long. I think that is the hardest thing for teachers to do...clean out. But I might use it one day, right…ever say that? I do all the time. No longer…it’s time to clean up and downsize! I’m sure the janitors will love that next summer. My goal is to keep going with my organizing throughout the year. Each month I will do a monthly binder and each new chapter I teach I will add to the curriculum binders. Wish me luck…and happy cleaning!