I’ve posted before about my teacher binder. As an organizationally-challenged person, I had to find that one thing that would hold me together as a teacher… and my binder is it.
I love this thing. It’s within an arm’s reach at any given moment (home or school) and keeps me sane. And honestly? Creating it was simple.
Unfortunately, my teacher binder had seen better days, so it was time to perform a little overhaul.
While I’m working on my own, I thought I’d share 5 steps to creating your own teaching binder!
1. Plan first.
For me, the easiest way to do this was to gather all the papers I thought I wanted in my binder, and split them into piles. This will help you know how many dividers and what size of binder to buy. Don’t forget that you can use the space in front of and behind the dividers!
2. Get the supplies.
Pick a binder you LOVE (for me, color is huge) and splurge for the heavy duty one. Believe me- you’ll be using this thing a lot.
I also picked dividers that had pockets and were easy to write on (and erase, if I change my mind later).
A friend gave me Vera Bradley binder clips, and I use this one to pin my lesson plans to the cover so that the 2-page spread opens instantly when I open the binder.
This binder clip also adds just enough “cute” to make me smile whenever I look at my binder! It sounds silly (seriously who has designer binder clips) but I probably see it 20 times each day. Worth it.
3. Think about the covers.
What are the things you constantly need to reference? For me, a cute cover with my name on it would be okay- but really, I need my class list, my current Post-It list, and the weekly newsletter (with spelling & vocab. words, academic focuses, etc.).
Normally, this would have a class list, which I didn’t show for obvious reasons, and there’s usually a Post-It list or two. Still… I like how clean and neat my binder looks on my desk! (Plus, the color stands out if it does find its way into a pile.)
4. Think about order.
What papers do you need access to the most often? My lesson plan pages go in the front because I reference them throughout every day, and my calendar goes next.
I put any lists for quick reference (computer logins, school schedules, curriculum maps, policies, etc.) in the reference tab.
My Student Info tab holds my data (so useful when I plan my small groups at home!), but also copies of anything like IEP’s, ILP’s, RTI plans, and documentation.
The back includes things I might need to look up once a week while planning, but not daily, like my standards lists and my archive of planning pages/ meeting notes.
Once you’ve decided, write on the dividers. (I used a skinny Sharpie- on most surfaces, nail polish remover will take it right off if I ever change my mind!)
4. Hole punch everything and try it out!
This is the perfect time of year to give this baby a trial run and give you plenty of time to tweak it for next year!
I found out that having a “meeting notes” section was just not enough for me, so I added some extra subsections. You’ll find what works for you!
I plan my teacher binder as something that I will take to every meeting, take home every night, and use constantly throughout my day. It means that whether I’m at home, in my classroom, or somewhere in the school, I have everything I need to stay organized and up-to-date!
There are plenty of other guides out there to making a teacher binder, but it’s my hope that this can help you make the one that’s right for you. Yes, it takes a bit of time… but I put mine together in about an hour (minus shopping) and it has saved me so much more than that!