Typically, I utilize binder organization for my teaching supplies. A few years ago, I began having students organize binders. Everyone benefited.
I did my master’s research on organization and heartily believe that organized students learn better, are less frustrated, and are better behaved.
Here are a few reasons to implement a binder system in your classroom:
1. Easy access. With folders, students must comb through each page – and that is if the folder is orderly! A binder allows students to turn pages. Each section can be arranged by date or topic – whatever makes sense for your class.
2. Ownership. Students can make the binder system their own. They can decide what papers to keep – and which to toss. (Of course I suggest if a paper will be needed for future study!)
I print binder dividers or allow students to make their own via construction paper. In an English class, we typically have grammar, writing, reading. When we read a novel, that novel gets its own section. Sometimes work overlaps which is no biggie. I give the ownership back to students for them to decide what works in their binder.
3. Great practice. Students need help organizing! In a few years, they will be responsible for organizing bills, tax information, and work forms – with no help. Give them the tools with an organized binder. Will they prefer the binder system? Maybe not – but they will be in the habit of organizing and will know what they don’t like.
4. Classroom management. Relationships and management in the classroom improves when students are organized! Students are less frustrated, embarrassed, and off-task. When students have the power to organize their learning, they focus more on the class.
The easiest way I have found to organize students with a binder is to help them. After I give an assignment, I call students to me one at a time. We hole-punch papers, we discuss what to keep, and we decide where to put papers.
I have a hole-punch in class and I try to pre-punch papers before I give them to students. I also put binders on my classroom supply list. You can make the binders as fancy as you want. I have used a sticky note and tape for the binder’s label. They don’t need to be pretty or cost much.
Binder organization for students benefits me and my students. When my high schoolers study for finals, they can simply flip to the areas they need extra review. The binder system has worked well in my secondary classroom.