m.O.O.S.E Folders/Binders

Discussion in 'First Grade' started by jaszmyn, May 28, 2008.

  1. jaszmyn

    jaszmyn Comrade

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    May 28, 2008

    Hey Fellow teachers.

    Next year I was thinking of using M.O.O.S.E binders or STAR binders (whatever the acryonym). Has anyone ever used these with their first graders? Are the little ones able to keep up with them? What do you include in them? I am going to definatley use a binder. I am so tired of those flimsy, old folders. No matter how much you laminate them they still look old and worn by September.

    Do you all purchase your own binders? Do the parents purchase them? I would like to purchase the ones for my classroom, but I need to find them cheap. Also....those of you who use this organizational system, what inch binders do you use 1" or 1/2"?

    Thanks in advance for your great advice!
     
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  3. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    The district I observed provided the students with one. The MOOSE binder contained info on points of contact & district policy/guidelines. I think it even had the school calendar. Each school calendar day had a page where teachers can indicate events & activities going on. Parents are required to sign off - Some teachers opt to view it once a week depending on the grade. I don't remember if K was required but 1-4 was. It looked like a bound notebook. I think it was not thicker than a 1".
     
  4. love_reading

    love_reading Comrade

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    Honestly, at this age it really depends on your parents. I put them together this year and only about 8 of my kids consistently used them all year. The rest lost theirs. :( I will not do it again. Hopefully you will have a more positive experience!
     
  5. jaszmyn

    jaszmyn Comrade

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    yeah I hope they don't loose them either. Considering they can be costly to make. The kids are kinda young, but they have to learn responsibility at some point.
     
  6. jwilliamson

    jwilliamson Companion

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    Well, I am not first grade - but we use them. The parents, students, and teachers alike ALL love them. They are great!

    Also, since "being responsible" is one of our class rules, the students have to pull a card if they forget them. They learn very quickly to bring it to class EVERY single day!!

    As for cost, we purchase them ourselves every year and ask the parents to cover that cost once school starts. Not every parent does, but most do.

    Definitely worth it, in my opinion :)

    I used a 1" binder this year. But, I am going with 1/2" next year. Either size will work, it just depends on how much stuff will be going in there.
     
  7. amedinaoh

    amedinaoh Companion

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    I plan on using them this year..which isn't far off...July 7th! Ha! I teach first grade and they were pretty responsible bringing in their folders each day. I asked for 1.5" binders because I thought I would add a spiral notebook to keep in there for their spelling homework. I am also having them keep a zippered pouch (among other things) for money, notes, and a FEW pencils for homework. I really like this link:

    http://www.teachingheart.net/moosebooks.html

    I'll let you know how it goes since most school don't start until August. We are a year round school with nine weeks on and three weeks off.

    I am having parents purchase the supplies for the notebooks but I work at a wealthier school with only 10% free and reduced
     
  8. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    I use BEAR binders (same thing as Moose) and I love them. I wouldn't teach without them again. The kids stay organized, the parents get the notes home, I get the notes the parents send, money doesn't get lost, and parents know if something is suppose to go home and stay home, or if it should be signed and returned.

    I use the zippered pouch for money and notes, but I don't let them keep pencils in it. Otherwise, it becomes to crowded, and then pencil marks all over everything, etc. Then they start puttiing some crayons and an extra eraser, etc...and the next thing you know, the money gets hidden by it all, and the result is it the pocket no longer works for the purpose...

    I have one pouch and four pockets. THe pouch is for field trip and picture money, and is a place for parents to put important notes to me.

    Pocket 1 is Important Notes home. All flyers from the school, notes from me, and really important things go here. The next is the homework pocket, They keep their weekly homework packet and study guides in this pocket, and it is where I collect their homework on Fridays....

    Pocket 3 keeps their reading log, and (if they wish) a composition book or extra notebook paper for homework.

    Pocket 4 is call the "Take Home/Keep Home" and it is where all returned work goes. I check every day to make sure it is empty, so I know the work went home to the parent, and isn't just building up in this pocket.

    The binders we use also have a clear pocket in the front and in the back. Many students manage to fit their library book into this pocket (most books will fit, because the plastic binder pocket stretches quite a bit.)

    I love my BEAR binders! It teaches children to Be Efficient and Responsible = BEAR ! ! !
     
  9. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    I would love to use the binders but they are expensive!
    Well, Staples has poly binders for 25 cents around Back to School time. I don't know how sturdy they would be. That would actually be cheaper than my 88 cent poly folder that I usually buy. I wonder how much the zipper pouches are at Staples.
     
  10. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    I get zippered pouches for 97 cents each at wal-mart. I collect them back up at the end of the year. They tend to last 3-4 years easily.
     
  11. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    I used the acronym S.T.A.R for Students That Are Responsible and my kids got the picture early in the year about how IMPORTANT is was to bring your STAR everyday. Some kids panicked when they didn't have their STAR with them when they came to school that I had a few parents come back to school with their child's STAR in hand. I thought to myself, wow, they really understand that there are no excuses. I have to say that it kept my homework and take home book procedures much more easier and efficient. My kids kept their take home book and homework in their STAR and just turned it all in in the morning. THey knew where to find things (their reading logs, schedule for specials) and where to keep their lunch money (in the zipper pouch). The zipper pouch thing worked great because I didn't have problems with kids stealing other kids' lunch money. And if a child did lose their lunch money, I always reminded them about the rule of keeping it in their zipper pouch. That was the end of that!
    I love having the STAR binders. I will definately do this every year!
    I have the parents purchase them with the other school supplies and the zipper pouch. Luckily, if any parent is not able to buy the zipper pouch, I always get a handful from The Dollar Tree for the kids who need it. Very cheap! :up:
     
  12. buck8teacher

    buck8teacher Devotee

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  13. buck8teacher

    buck8teacher Devotee

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    I like the idea of collecting the zippered pouches and reusing them!
     
  14. jaszmyn

    jaszmyn Comrade

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    I think that I will try it this year. Most of you posting are 2nd and 3rd grade teachers, so I am still a little concerned about the responsibilty of 1st graders. I will get a 1/2" binder. I will go ahead and by them. The school ask parents to buy each student a agenda planner at the beginning of the year. I don't think it would be very receptive to ask them for more $. I have been able to find some good deals though.
    The agendas are good but they only serve as good communication and not all comprehensive for homework and such like the STAR binders are. I will use STAR as well. I think it may be more relatable to 1st grade students. Thanks for all your wonderful advice. Keep 'um comin'.
     
  15. katenar

    katenar Cohort

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    Last year I found a great deal at Big Lots on binders. It was something crazy like $1.50 each and they were pretty nice. I also picked up zippered pouches there too for about $0.50 each. They have lasted all year.

    I bought everything needed for the binders in the beginning of the school year so it was consistent and ready to go the first day. The parents paid $5.00 to cover costs and they loved it.

    Also, I know you are concerned about 1st graders handling these binders but I think the idea of Moose binders started with the younger grades. I was more concerned it wouldn't work for the older grades. I think it's all in how you handle it. You can find a list of acronyms here - perhaps you'll find one that goes along with your theme or something. http://www.smithsroom.com/MOOSE_Acronyms.htm
    Here is a website of a Kinder teacher who used Bee Binders. http://cfbstaff.cfbisd.edu/whitea/bee_binders.htm

    Here is a 1st grade teacher http://www.mrsmcdowell.com/bee book.htm and here is another 1st grade teacher http://www.jmeacham.com/bee.book.htm Perhaps you'll get some ideas from them. Good luck!!
     
  16. teaching1st

    teaching1st Companion

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    Jun 3, 2008

    concerned with time

    Having these binders seem like a great idea, I'm just concerned with how time consuming it would be. Those of you who use them, do you have your students put their homework in and spelling lists in and newsletters and such? Or are you having to do all the work? Is it possible for someone to tell me what the responsibilities of the teacher are and the responsiblities of the student? This way I can see who does what. Thanks in advance!
     
  17. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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  18. katenar

    katenar Cohort

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    Well since I teach 4th grade it is my student's responsibility to put the things in. Be careful if you do use binders - some of my kids in the very beginning had a hard time opening the prongs up.......that maybe difficult for your kids. :eek:hmy:
     
  19. RugRats

    RugRats Companion

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    I have a homework folder along the lines of STAR... I actually think I'm going to use that acronym for next year.

    I teach first grade and my students are wonderful with remembering it each day. I had two students that couldn't for the life of them remember it, but they had other issues as well so I found alternative means.

    I use a folder with the three prongs inside. I've used a 1" folder that I found to be too big for first grade. Then I went down to 1/2" which worked out great, however, I was tired of them taking up so much room!!!!!!

    On the outside I have their name and our room number. I also have color cut outs for numbers, colors, hundreds chart, shapes, etc. glued on. I laminate the folder and it lasts the whole year!!!

    I include a pencil sized zipper pouch for money and notes only. That is in the very front.

    Right behind it is a letter sized zipper pouch. That is for their decodable book or reading group book. Nothing else is to go in this pouch.

    Right behind that are various notes for parents that give them important information they will need throughout the year and a school calendar.

    The front pocket of the folder is labeled Return To School. This is where students put their homework each night and any permission slip or letter I may need signed and returned.

    The pocket in the back is labeled Stay at Home. This is for any flyer the school is sending home and any informational letter that I do not need returned. They also put their graded papers in this pocket.

    I have two baskets in my room. They put their folder in the basket at the beginning of the day and pick it up in the other basket at the end of the day. If their folder is neat and tidy they earn one marble for the class. I put tally marks on the board to show how many marbles we need to add to the jar.

    They earn no marble for messy folders. They lose a marble for forgetting their folder. They earn 5 extra marbles everytime the whole class has a great folder day.

    My students LOVE it! They take such responsibility for it. I let them make no excuses. Even if their mom or dad comes to talk to me. No folder, no marble!

    I've used this is first grade for the past 3 years.

    Oh yeah, I do give them a grace period the first month of school. Staring September though, it's nothing but business!
     
  20. teaching1st

    teaching1st Companion

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    So after the students have turned in their folder you put in all their papers in their folders and then they pick it up in the other basket? Does that take up your whole prep period? I did something similar as you did and laminated the folders, but still some of them manged to get ruined. Just checking their behavior chart daily took a lot of time.
     
  21. RugRats

    RugRats Companion

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    Oh gosh no. They put all their papers in their folder. It's part of the end of day routine. Pick up items from cubby, pick up homework folder, put it all together. In the beginning I walk them through it very slowly each day, but within a week or two they have it down... for the most part :).

    It gets to the point that all I'm doing is taking out homework and checking folder for neatness. Takes about 10 minutes of my prep time for doing that and marking completed HW in my grade book.

    During our morning routine they empty their folders with the exception of notes from home and homework. Decodables go in their decodable bag, ready for reading later in the day. Money comes right to me.

    I will admit, there are always a student or two that manage to mess up their folders. They're never messed up so much that they can no longer use them though. I always make a few extra folders in case they would like to buy a new one from me.
     
  22. teaching1st

    teaching1st Companion

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    Okay, thanks for letting me know. I may try it out this year.
     
  23. jaszmyn

    jaszmyn Comrade

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    I will to. I don't think it will take much prep time each day. Probably at first, but once you get a system going. It will all gel together. Now I am just trying to decide if I want to use 1" binders or 1/2" inch ones. The sections I plan to include are...

    Zipper pouch for money/ flash cards

    classwork to keep

    homework

    important notes

    absentee excuses/make-up work
    (I will probably put this in a sheet protector)

    Also in a sheet protector in the back will be
    (Monthly calendar/newsletter/lunch menu)

    And their weekly behavior sheet will be in the back pocket.

    For home/school communication- I may just have the children insert their school required agenda's in this section (It has three rings for a binder.)

    So I guess I might want to use a 1" binder to accomadate the agenda and all the sections.
     
  24. jaszmyn

    jaszmyn Comrade

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    Also Teaching 1st, If you feel like it may take to much time. Just scale yours down and make it simple to fit your needs. Only include 2 or three sections. I see it this way.... The kids gotta get it home somehow. At the end of the day I am usually sending home loose papers of school notes, classwork etc... The have to pack it up in their bookbags, at least this way it would all be in one place.

    After you have put in their behavior during you planning, return their binders. Ask the students to todays classwork out of their desk, chairpockets, cubby's, mailboxes etc.. and put it in the right section. Then pass out homework and have them put it in the correct section. Then do the same with important notes from school. This should take no more than 10minutes at dissmissal time. Do it as a class everyday! Then eventually they will catch on.
     
  25. teaching1st

    teaching1st Companion

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    Thanks jaszmyn for the tips. It sounds like it will be doable. Like everyone has mentioned, at first it will take longer to get the routine down, but then it will get quicker. :)
     
  26. TeachnRox

    TeachnRox Companion

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  27. Erin Elizabeth

    Erin Elizabeth Groupie

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    I used moose binders this year. I won't be doing it again. My advice to you is make sure you're not creating more work for yourself, and really, really train the students how to use their binders. Even if it takes a whole month! Otherwise there is no point in using them.
     
  28. buck8teacher

    buck8teacher Devotee

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    A first grade teacher in my building calls her GO Books.
    GO-Get Organized
    In it she has:
    Front inside pocket: Reading Log/Take Home Book
    Plastic Sleeve: School Mission Statement
    Plastic Sleeve: Weekly Newsletter
    Student Planner
    Plastic Folder
    1st Side: Return to School
    2nd Side: Keep at Home/Important Papers
    She has the kids put a red dot on important papers parents need to look over.
    Plastic Sleeve: Parent Notes with accompanying notebook paper.

    I think it's a great scaled down version that still sets up students for success!
     
  29. mrsc_teaches

    mrsc_teaches Companion

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    Jun 6, 2008

    USING THE MOOSE IN K

    Hi,
    I used the moose binders with Kinders this year. We called it a fish binder. I had no words just a theme to remember. The most important thing I did was include a letter in the front in a page protected sheet about the binder. The line that was bolded highlighted and everything else was, IF YOU LOOSE THIS YOU WILL BE RESPONSIBLE TO PAY TO REPLACE IT. I also then stated I got the items on sale during the summer and other times throughout the year they would be more expensive. I had one child do some type of damamge to the binder and the parent replaced it and I never would have known except they bought a white binder instead of blue. I mean replaced the cutout on the front and everything. I want to also say I teach in a low socioeconomic area and I just made sure to let the kiddos know to return that binder.
    I am going to use a poly folder this year instead of the the 1/2inch flexi binder. Some of the kids were fascinated with opening the rings. Have fun and remember to stress the importance of returning it. Some of my kids did loose free time by not remembering them over several days but that did not happen often.
     
  30. Pooh42

    Pooh42 Companion

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    MOOSE notebooks

    I too have toyed with the idea of wanting to use these binders/due to low socioeconomic situation-but was concerned about the cost, students not returning them, losing them and destroying them. I had several students loose their plastic homework folders-so can you imagine what will happen to the binders.

    Does anyone have a acronym for the monkey or jungle binder:confused:
    thanks
     
  31. TeachnRox

    TeachnRox Companion

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    I love what everyone is saying about the MOOSE Binders, and makes me very anxious to try them. But a couple of ?s...

    I have a ? that hasn't been asked....Do you start using these the first day/week/month of school? Do you wait until Open House to explain the format to parents or do you just jump in? I was thinking of starting out with just a folder, for the first week or so...your thoughts?

    Secondly, this year I had daily folders, one side had a conduct sheet and the other was the side to leave at home. I glanced at them during planning. I had a team mate who had the kids put any notes and such in a tray so she didn't have to go through 21+ folders. I was going to give this a shot this year. So, how do you all check the folders? Is it possible to train the kids to take out notes and such, so that you aren't spending your planning time flipping through this entire binder (lunch money/note pocket, behavior chart, parent communication section) ?

    Sorry for the rambling...appreciate any/all thoughts or ideas :D
     
  32. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    I gave them their BEAR binders on day one! It was important to have them ready before the first day. I modeled, modeled, modeled, how to use them and gave little prizes (bookmarks, stickers) to the ones who followed directions.

    I found it best to glance in the pocket as they came in, rather than have them put them in a tray. Otherwise, the children who are terrible about giving notes to the teacher "forget!" Go figure!!! It only takes a second...I do it as they walk in the room. I never "collect' their binders -- that would just be too time consuming. They can open it to the correct place and then I just have to glance. Mine come in to the room in a stagger -- so it is easy, but on a few mornings (due to special programs) they all come in at once. On those days, I say "open to your notes section" and then I walk around the room quickly. It really takes less than a minute once they have the hang of it.
     
  33. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    I introduce my students to their STAR Binders within the first couple of weeks of school. Only because I don't purchase the binders myself, I have the binders on the school supply list so I give parents a week or so to purchase all the school supplies. By the 2nd week, if there are one or two students who didn't purchase one, I usually just give them one. But right after that, I get the ball rolling!! The sooner the better!!

    I don't have too much trouble with students giving me notes from home, field trip money etc. I teach them how to find the notes from home in their binders, then place it in my basket. I don't "go through" all the binders per se. That reminds me too much of pre-k or kindergarten going through bookbags and things like that. I feel that my 2nd graders should be able to show responsibility & give me anything that comes from home. The great thing about the STAR binders is that the child doesn't have to dig through their bookbags or forget where mom put their note. Moms and dads know where to put things like that and it's so convenient for them and myself. Parents even know to put their kids' lunch money in the zipper pouch and they know where to find any notes from me. They know where to find the monthly newsletter, their child's reading log etc. Makes everything EASY!!;)
     
  34. katenar

    katenar Cohort

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    Here are some:

    MONKEY = My Organization Notebook Keeps Everything Yearlong
    JUNGLE = Just an Ultimate Notebook to Get Learners Excited
    TIGERS =Teaching Independence Gets Everyone Ready (for) School
    TIGER = Today I've Got Everything Ready
    TIGER = Taking Initiative: Getting Everything Ready

    Check out http://www.smithsroom.com/MOOSE_Acronyms.htm for more.
     
  35. Pooh42

    Pooh42 Companion

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    katenar

    thanks a bunch:2up:
     
  36. MrsPatten

    MrsPatten Comrade

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    I did FISH books (Family Involvement Starts Here) and I loved them. However this next year we will have several more kids and I probably won't do them again because they take a lot of work.
     
  37. TeachnRox

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    Thanks RainStorm and YoungerTeacher226! I really needed to hear, that there was no need to spend planning time going through them! :)
     
  38. BevAnn

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    I've used M.O.O.S.E. type binders for the last 4 years and my first graders did very well at keeping everything organized. At my previous school I called them E.A.G.L.E. Binders to go with our school mascot and in those 3 years I only had 2 students lose their binders and so I had parents pay to replace all of their contents. This year at my new school I called them S.T.A.R. Binders to go with our Hollywood theme and it was more difficult for this group to keep them organized. Parents didn't check them as often and I found having many folders only made it confusing for them. Mid-year I switched to just one folder with the right side labeled for things to be brought RIGHT back to school and the left side labeled for things to be LEFT at home. This worked wonders for both the students and the parents. Next year we are doing a school-wide theme: teamwork and we will all be using them K-8th, calling them T.E.A.M. Binders. We'll see how it goes!
     
  39. Teacher379

    Teacher379 Companion

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    I teach 1st grade and I used these binders this past year. I bought the 1" binders using PTA-popcorn money from Office Depot at the end of the school year. They had them on sale for 2 for under $3. I called them EAGLES logs since our school mascot is an eagle.

    1. I used a mailbox system where the students put in their EAGLES binders and I can take attendance once the bell rings

    2. In the front I put a sheet protector with all of the spelling words for the units and also dolch's word list.

    3. I put in a two-pocket folder for loose papers (LEFT at home, and Bring RIGHT back)...this way the student won't have to deal with the prongs.

    Anything that needs to go home and not come back I place in their mailboxes and the student will place them in the left hand side at the end of the day during clean-up time.

    If I need the papers to come back, I (or the safety patrol) will put them in the right side of the two-pocket folders.

    4. In the back I have sheet protectors that hold the districts calendar, breakfast and lunch menus, fine arts rotation/schedule, my monthly newsletter, and class list.

    The downside about it is that some students use the binders religiously and others never end up taking the papers out of the binders...but I blame that more on the parents than the students.

    I won't use the zippered pouches next year, because by district's standards, the students are supposed to bring any money in a sealed envelope with their names (and lunch pin numbers) written on it. I figured that they can just put it on the right side of the two-pocket folder.

    I also have an in-box next to the mailboxes for homework or any notes that the students need to give to me.


    Please let me know if you have any other questions.
     
  40. jaszmyn

    jaszmyn Comrade

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    Jul 8, 2008

    That is a FABULOUS ideas for check in. Have students slide them into their mailboxes. WOW!! Then the inbox is also great!
     
  41. jaszmyn

    jaszmyn Comrade

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    Jul 8, 2008

    Super ideas teacher379. You have just been jacked for that idea, hope you don't mind. I will be using it next year.
     

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