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Meet Sra. Wienhold

Organization Tip - Lesson Binders

If you have been reading for any length of time now you know that I am one of those teachers who loves (teacher) organization (the extra bedroom, aka junk room at my house is another story :). I have mentioned before how I organize novelsspring cleaning my own binders and helping students get organized with student binders. Also, here are all of my posts labeled planning. As with everything, all teachers have their own style with organization. Some have piles all over their desk, but can tell you exactly where everything is. Others are completely digital and their file cabinet is the cloud. If what you are doing works for you, there is no right or wrong way to organize, but there is always room for incremental improvement. As a #deptof1 planning ahead is critical for my sanity, as I teach all levels of Spanish with many preps. 

As you know I am all about the binder, so today I am going to share some strategies that have worked well recently when organizing novel and story unit materials. I also have all my files on google drive (which currently needs some organizational help due to not paying attention if I am logged into my personal or school gmail when I create and upload files). As I have previously mentioned, most of my units now are now based on TPRS novels, as well as cultural and storytelling units from Martina Bex. You can see the overview of my trimester 1 curriculum in this post

After my first year I created an awesome binder with tabs for every textbook chapter, for materials to be saved from year to year. While a great idea in theory, most of it sits untouched as I have moved away from that textbook. Last year I was an organizational mess starting storytelling and novel units, because I had not yet created my trusty binders. It took me until the very end of the year to finally get it together and put reusable materials by unit and chapter, in sheet protectors, in binders, but I am SO glad I did. They are not anything fancy, just labeled tabs on the sheet protectors separating each novel or unit. 


my not so fancy labels for each unit on sheet protectors

Each section is in chronological order or the unit. The main thing that I keep in the novel binder are reusable activities, such as ordering sentence strips, task cards, and anything that requires effort to cut. If you are really on top of it, these could be laminated, but I have not gotten that far yet. Each activity goes in its own sheet protector, which can be taken out for that day's plan, and then easily collected and returned for next year. If you are just starting out you can have the first class do the laborious cutting, and then save them for future use. Or if you are really lucky you may have a high school assistant in your room or in the office who is looking for something to do and would be glad to cut. 

small cards with character quotes can be reused 

These two pictures below show sheet protectors with activities for the day. I like to have everything ready for the nest week on Friday, so I pull all activities, slap a sticky note on them for the class and day, and put them in my magazine holders behind my desk, for activities for the upcoming week. I just put the sheet protector out with the activity, use them, and have each class return them to the folder. At the end of the day they can be returned to the binder for next year. 


ordering sentence strips 

Besides binders, my main organization for novels is a big Google Slide show that has pre-discussion questions, during reading questions, follow up activity instructions and more. I project it each day as we are reading, and also post the entire thing on Schoology at the start of the unit for students to access. This way there is no excuse when they are gone, since they know what we are doing the next day. 


For Martina's story and cultural units, I print out the entire detailed, wonderful plans and put them in sheet protectors by unit in another binder. I also put reusable class sets in here by unit as well. This way I am saving a couple trees by reusing the plans each year. 

wonderful lesson plans by Martina Bex organized by unit

I like to plan for a whole unit at once, pulling all items that need to be copied and cut, and then clipping them all together so the whole unit is ready to go. Below you can see the magazine holders behind my desk with all activities for a unit ready to go. 


These magazine holders came from the Target $1 spot a few years ago & are great for organizing future materials. I used to have one for each day, but now I like to sort items by level. 

What are your tips and tricks for staying organized?

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