Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Going Digital + Binders Light

I recently posted about my big bulky binder dilemma. I said that I was planning on using time during the summer to slim down my binders and digitize the majority of my curriculum materials. Well, it may be summer for some of you, but I'm still responsible for 21 little bodies until June 18th at 12:15 P.M.

I SAID I wanted to work on it over the summer, but what I MEANT was that this is something I'm going to obsess over until I sort it out so I am going to use every waking moment I have to fix it ASAP. And I'm glad to report that I am pretty much done with my binder clean-up.

The main reason for this purge was that I am moving to a new school. And who wants to take nasty free-left-in-the-teacher's-lounge-overstuffed-binders to a brand new room? And I'm talking BRAND-SPANKIN' new. My new school just added a new wing and I will be in a never-been-used-before-classroom. So I went to Office Depot armed with my Teacher Rewards check (almost $20) to buy some new one inch binders. Umm. The first binder I've purchased since high school was the one I used to make my Professional Look Book.  I like to consider myself a freegan when it comes to office supplies. That is to say, if someone isn't giving it away for free, do I really need it? Nope.

So I splurged and bought 8 one inch binders in my bright green color. Then came the hard part. I will be teaching first and second grade alternating years, so I wanted to be able to store my first and second grade stuff together. My county uses broad categories to group objectives that are the same for every grade level, so I started there. Social Studies has 4 categories (History, Civics, Economics, and Geography) so I made one binder for each of these categories. Science has 3 categories (Force and Motion, Living Systems, and Earth and Space Relationships) so I made one binder for each of these categories.

Then I re-formatted the standards in a way that fit my needs and put each objective in a sheet protector to serve as dividers for the binders. Then any materials that weren't easy to digitize were stored in the binder behind each objective. I don't have much for first grade yet, but all the stuff I actually use for science and social studies fit nicely into the binders. Here are some pictures of my binders.

Binder Spines with description of objectives for each grade level

Binder cover page with category title, and objectives for each grade

Objectives in sheet protectors used as dividers

Materials for objective placed behind sheet protector. The Meek Moose made these lapbook masters. I tried scanning them but the text was too light to get a clear image.

Some AIMS stuff

All 7 binders in one box. If you check out the picture here, you can see how much I've scaled back. It feels good! Notice the pile of recycling next to the box. I had already filled up my recycling bin and was waiting for the trash to be picked up so I could throw this out.

Another view of the box o' binders

So with that half of my project done, I turned to the digital side. I'm already EXTREMELY organized on my jump drives and documents folders so all I had to do was clean up a few folders and rename some to include the objective key words. I've been accused of having too many folders on my digital storage. Folders, within folders, within folders. I love it. Not sure if anyone cares much about it but here are a few screen shots:

Science folders

folders within folders
 Social Studies - a folder for each category
Folders with objective clearly labled
 folders within one of the objective folders
I also spent the time to create and set up folders by objective for first grade materials. Even though I won't be teaching first grade until the 2014-2015 school year, I know I will start collecting materials early. When someone emails me something for first grade, I will be glad I already have an organized home for it.

After everything was in it's place, I immediately backed up all my work onto DVDs. I have an external hard drive somewhere in my closet, but incase of total failure, I've got the DVDs to get me back to base camp one if needed. Hopefully this has been useful to some of you. Now I need a new summer project. . .

As always,


  1. You are KILLING me. Summer project: Binderize me. Organize me. Turn me into you. And now I'm horribly embarrassed by my lap books...I need a donut.
    The Meek Moose
    The Meek Moose on TpT

  2. K Mo, Heather beat me to it ... but couldn't I be your summer project? Come on out to beautiful California and organize my computer files. Your files are AMAZING! Love all the files within files. I will be taking your ideas and running with them this summer!!! Thanks a bunch!

  3. So impressed! I spent yesterday downloading all of my new products from Teacher's Notebook, then I created folders to really organize all of my digital files. Now I need to go through paper files and do what you did. Mine aren't too bad though because I did a lot of organizing last year. I still need to get an external hard drive, though.

    Don't Let the Teacher Stay Up Late