I decided on N.E.O.N as my acronym (as my classroom color scheme is black with neon colors). It stands for Navigating Everyday with Organization and Neatness. I got this particular acronym from Ginger at Ginger Snaps, though my binder was very different. One major difference is that these binders never left the classroom.
Here's the cover, which each student colored. 32 identical binders? They definitely needed names and a bit of personality! Most of them were into the neon idea and used highlighters. They turned out cute! (Bad Blogger, Bad Blogger)
|Click the picture to go to the Google Doc.|
Inside, we put three folders, all labeled (with cute labels that I cannot seem to find an electronic copy of right now).
- Each student had a red folder. One side was labeled "Ready to Turn In" (see my post linked above for why) and the other said "Miscellaneous." (New vocab word for some students on the very first day of school!)
- Each student had a blue folder for Language Arts.
- Each student had a black or yellow (their choice - because I couldn't find enough black ones) for social studies and science. (I alternate teaching these two, so students never need both)
What students kept in them:
- Front Pocket of Binder: Bathroom Pass, Daily Behavior Log
- Red Folder: Work ready to be turned in and work that didn't "fit" anywhere else
- Blue Folder: Any work in progress for Language Arts, especially Writing Workshop and Reading Workshop papers
- Black/Yellow Folder: Any work in progress for Social Studies or Science
- Back Pocket of Binder: Any work that involved construction paper (you know how it's too big to fit in folders? Well, it fits here!)
What I liked:
- Students' desks were more organized than last year, when they just had folders in their desk.
- Many kiddos felt like they were organizational super stars. They bragged to other classes about them.
Needs to Be Improved:
- Wow, did some kiddos accumulate work/papers in there! I tried having a whole class clean out every other week, but the kiddos who needed it the most didn't really pay attention.
- Some kiddos (those same ones) jammed paper in, so it wasn't organized, papers were crinkled, and it was just a MESS!
- The holes on almost every students' folders ripped during the year. Major pain to deal with. (Cute story side note: I had a about six students who at the beginning of the year were an academic mess - no organization, no effort, nada. I worked with them and their parents very closely to get them on track. All but one made huge progress. When students were cleaning out their desks at the end of the year, I commented to one of the successful ones that I was amazed at the great condition of his NEON binder. His response: "Well, you know how at the beginning of the year ... well, I wasn't as good at being a good student and I never used my binder. So really, it's only half a year used." It made me smile to be reminded of how far he had come and that he knew it!)
Better than the folders from the year before, but not everything I'm looking for.
Will I Do It Again?
Not the same way. My teammates and I have already talked about having school-to-home binders this year, so NEON binders may still exist in my room, but their purpose will be different. I blog about it more once the idea is more settled in our minds.