Saturday, January 5, 2013

The One With The Binder

I'm sitting here working on lesson plans and I realized I never showed you my binder.  

I can't believe I have forgotten.

Over the summer while I was spending countless hours on Pinterest, I kept seeing all these teacher binders.  

I immediately thought to myself "What a good idea".  I like to be organized or at least I like to appear to be organized.  A one stop teacher binder was just the thing for me.

Problem was nothing I found on Pinterest was a perfect match for my needs.

Somewhere in that time I also discovered Erin Condren and her teacher planner.  I really liked them, but again they weren't a perfect match.  Not to mention their price tag.  What teacher can afford that?

Not this teacher!

I decided to make my own.  That way I knew it would be a perfect match for me.  It's nothing special, but after using it all first semester, I can say it works for me.

I used an extra 2 inch binder that I had around the house.  I created the cover using Microsoft Word and used scrapbook paper to fill in the extra space. 

 I also did scrapbook paper in the spine.

I have nine sections inside my binder.  Wow - that sounds like a lot!  Guess I've never really counted.

I use the dividers with pockets to separate each section.  This allows me to put papers and things that aren't ready to be filed away.

Section # 1 -Calendar
I printed a monthly calendar from here.  This is an easy way for me to keep track of days we are out of school, dates of chunk test, school events, as well as personal appointments that require me to miss work.

I keep the current month on top - moving the previous months to the back.  

Section #2 - Important Information
This section includes things like the master schedule for middle school, duty schedule, and sports schedules.  
It is also where I keep a list of students whose pictures and work are allowed to be posted on my class webpage.

Section #3 - Professional Development
This has a few handouts from workshops I have attended, but it is primarily certificates or forms I need to prove I attended the workshops.

Section #4 - Science
This is the beginning of my lesson plans.  I have a different section for each subject I teach.  The first section is for Science.  It comes first because I teach Science the first two periods of the day so it just made sense to me.

A perfect example of why I like the dividers with pockets...I can store things in the pocket in front of my Science lesson plans that I'm currently working on.  This helps ensure that I always know where they are.  For example, I keep a list of students and the textbook number that has been issued to them. 

 I also put lab worksheets in the pocket that are ready to be copied and stored in my file trays for the week. 

There is another set of these labeled Thursday, Friday, and Next Week.

I also made my own lesson plan template to suit my needs. 

Section # 5 -  Pre AP English
This section contains lesson plans for Pre AP English.  Again I made my own lesson plan template.

Section #6 - English
More lesson plans.  I use the same template here for lesson plans as for Pre AP English.

Section # 7 - Remedial English
More lesson plans.  Same template.

Section #8 - Attendance

I used Excel to create a chart to track attendance.  I can usually fit a month on each page.  I have a page for every class.

Section #9 - Gradebook

Though we key our grades in Pinnacle - an online gradebook - I like to keep a hard copy for myself.  I created a chart in Excel to record grades.  It is very similar to my attendance chart.

So there you have it - my one stop teacher notebook.

I love it!  It helps me stay organized.  Nine out of ten times I can refer to my binder to find what I am looking for.

So if you can't find the perfect printables on Pinterest or somewhere, I say make your own.  Your binder needs to suit your needs and not someone else's needs.

If you see something here that you think will work for you, let me know.  I'd be happy to share any thing I created with you.  I can you email it to you so that all you have to do is change my name.


  1. I have nominated you for the Liebster Award. Come on over to my blog for the details. Your blog is great! Check out my blog:

  2. Wow! How organized!
    I have created a Blog Log for Middle School Teachers. Click here if you might want to join or find out more info.
    Happy Blogging

  3. Looks like everyone else has said it, but I’ll say it too—WOW! Your blog is so inspiring with so many great projects and ideas. I particularly like this post about how you organize your binder. I love organizing, and I am also and avid binder user. I think they really put your mind at ease, one stop shop as you said.

    I am just beginning my journey in becoming a teacher. I worked in advertising for some time, and it just wasn’t the right fit. I am just finishing up my middle level education endorsement courses this summer, and can’t wait to apply what I’ve learned from your blog to my future classroom. You’ve sparked a fire inside me to use my own blog to document and share my own ideas.

    I also really like the structure of your lesson plan and how you have a column for the common core and state standards. It’s like a mini cheat sheet!

    Thanks for sharing your talents! Best of luck to you.

    1. Sara,
      Thank you so much for your sweet words. I truly love what I do. :) I pray that you will love it as well. Congrats on entering this crazy, wonderful world of education. I look forward to the beginnings of your blog.