Thursday, March 8, 2012


All teachers know that paper flow is a tricky beast to manage, and teachers with several different preps like many of us FACS teachers have to make a little extra effort. I’ve found it works well to make the students keep all materials in one place – a class binder. I provide the binders for all students at the beginning of the year – not cheap, but then there are no excuses not to have one, and since they’re all the same size they fit together much better. I make an address-sized label for each student’s binder on the side with their first name, then place a 2” x 4” label with their full name, the name of the class, and the school mascot on the front of the binder (nice personal touch).

At the beginning of the year I provide them with a blank “Table of Contents” form, and copies of the course syllabus, rules, and procedures to keep in the binder. All notes that they take and a majority of their short assignments are kept in the binder, and students must keep track of all items on their Table of Contents.

I provide a crate for each class to keep their binders in (each crate’s color corresponds to the class’s assigned color, naturally).

Still looking for a yellow crate!

I grade the binders every one to two weeks, using the ToC page – if they don’t record something on that page, it doesn’t get graded. I keep a current copy of the ToC at the front of the room so that they can double check it before it’s do, and I also project it two or three times a week for them to add what they may have missed (I LOVE having a projector in my classroom! How did I live without one?).

Protective sleeves to guard against grimy teen paws.

Color-Coded Tables of Contents!

The advantages for them are that they always have all of their notes, and that I let them use their binders on parts of their tests. All tests have two parts: one must be memorized, the other is open binder. As you can imagine, most of the binder part of the test is application and critical thinking. 

Speaking of tests: rather than hand back tests, quizzes, papers, etc, etc, individually, I just place graded work in the front pockets of the binders along with a grade printout once a week. Saves plenty of class time!


  1. What are the 4 color coded table if contents... what does each color represent?

    1. Hi Melinda,
      Each class is assigned a color, so students can easily pick out the one that belongs to them.
      Thanks for reading!