Building a better teacher binder

So today I decided that I needed a teacher binder. Why? Because I have no idea where half of my lesson plans are, my standards are in a different spot than my lessons, and I’m moving in about a month which means that the other half will probably disappear too. Now, organization is not my strong suit. In fact, anyone who has ever been near my room usually runs away screaming in fear. This is important though so I’m willing to work on it.

I spent much of my day trolling Pinterest to find binder organization ideas and all I can say is- WOW. There are so many different ways to make a teacher binder that I got a bit overwhelmed. Fortunately I’m not trying to make something super fancy (yet), so I took a basic idea and am running with it. This binder will just be a home for my growing collection of activity plans and standards, so I don’t need to worry about a calendar or schedule in it. I don’t have my own classroom, so sub plans and student information sections can come later. Or in another binder later. Later, nonetheless.

My idea for this binder was to create a lesson plan template and copy the relevant information from my assigned plans onto it. This way, every plan has the same format and it’s easier to copy them. I will figure out how to add downloads to my posts hopefully, so that this format can benefit other people too, but until then you’ll have to take my word for it. I like it. It includes spaces for the Objective, Goals or Standards, Materials, Procedure, Key Questions/Statements (that the TEACHER should be making), Extensions, and a healthy section for Notes. Several of these plans will be pure experimentation on my part, so the notes section will be a place where I jot down what worked, what I changed, and how the children responded. It’s a work in progress, but I think this template will be helpful when I’m trying to come up with lessons.

As for the binder itself, it will be divided by developmental domain (gross motor, fine motor, language/literacy, cognitive, social/emotional, and artistic). My standards for each domain will be in the front section so I know what to reference when setting goals for the children. Since I primarily teach preschool, the standards that I use come from the Work Sampling System and the book Developmentally appropriate curriculum: Best practices in early childhood education by Marjorie Kostelnik, Anne Soderman, and Alice Whiren. Once I start spending more time in kindergarten, I expect to run into the Common Core Standards a bit more. Regardless, each domain’s standards will be the first page in their respective sections. This way I can easily reference them.

I am also setting up a special folder on my computer for lesson plans with my template, plans, and standards in it. Easy access at all times.

I’ll let you all know how it goes. I’m looking forward to this experiment with organization and hopefully will be able to post pictures and printables next time!

The true aim of every one who aspires to be a teacher should be, not to impart his own opinions, but to kindle minds. -F. W. Robertson