Needed cheap pocket dividers

Discussion in 'General Education' started by kidsr#1, Jun 26, 2009.

  1. kidsr#1

    kidsr#1 Companion

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    Jun 26, 2009

    I am planning on using STAR binders this year. (Like MOOSE, BEE, IPOD binders). I plan on each student needing 6 pockets in their binder. I could almost split a pack of dividers with two students, but was wondering if there was a cheaper way. Does anyone know if there is an inexpensive way to make these? Just wondering.:confused:
     
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  3. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Regular folder files (without prongs) work well. You just use a three hole punch on them. I only have 4 pockets, so that takes two folders -- but I make them different colors -- so I can say to the kids, "Turn to the blue pocket." or "Turn to your red pockets." It helps.
     
  4. ancientcivteach

    ancientcivteach Habitué

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    That's a great idea, Rainstorm! Especially since those traditionally go on sale for a penny during the summer! Thanks!
     
  5. kidsr#1

    kidsr#1 Companion

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    Do you use the whole folder for each student or tear it in half? If I tore it in half then they would only have one red pocket, then I could get other colors, too. Either way it will be a lot cheaper. Staples usually puts them on sale and our Staples lets teachers get more than their limits. :thumb:
     
  6. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Don't tear them in half -- keep them whole. They won't hold up otherwise.

    I put stickers on each pocket as well. so the kids know them by name. For example -- one red pocket says "Important Notes Home." The other red pocket says "Weekly Homework." One blue pocket says "Study Guides." The other says "Take Home/Keep Home" -- which is for returned work that I want the student to take home and keep it there. We call it the "Take Home/Keep Home" and they know what that means. I also have a zippered pouch ($1 each at Walmart) that has a sticker on it that says "Field Trip Fees, Money, and Important Notes to the Teacher" All of my zippered pouches are green (although they are different shades of green -- some are neon green, some are forest green, some are khaki green -- Walmart changes colors each year.) This is where parents put money that I need to collect, important notes (like Put Johnny on his cousin's bus today because he's going to grandma's house after school.") or "please excuse" notes.

    I can generally get 3 years out of the zippered pouches, only 1 year out of everything else (including the binder itself.) If the folders you use as pockets start to get torn where the punched holes are -- and this happens with some kids who aren't too kind to them -- you can take them out, put clear packing tape down the spine, and repunch the holes. It works wonders.

    The colors being the same really helps. If you say "The blue take home/keep home pocket" it is easier to find. Saying "Look in your green zippered pouch" makes it clear too. For this reason, I hunt and hunt to find only green zippered pouches -- some years they are hard to find all in one color.
     
  7. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    If you are going to use BEAR, STAR, MOOSE, or whatever you call them binders, you have to start out the year using them consistently -- otherwise they don't work, so don't bother with all the time and expense of making them. You have to check them every single day. Our kids, fortunately, come in staggered because buses drop them off at different times. I have each child bring his or her BEAR binder to me each morning. I look through it. If a child doesn't have it, I want to know the reason why. I'm not easy-going about not having it -- because the kids who "forget" are usually the most disorganized kids who need it the most. I generally call home and ask if someone can bring it in, or kindly remind the parent to make sure the child has it tomorrow. (At the beginning of the year.) If you don't make it a priority, the kids who need it most will be the ones who never have it.

    I know some teachers have the students leave it on their desk and then the teacher walks around and checks them. I guess that works well for some. It all depends on how your day is scheduled and what works best for you.

    The only problem I have with these binders is they won't fit in the tiny little table drawers that my students have to use. So I put a big tub at the end of each table, and the students put their binder in their tub. That way it is out of the way, but they have easy access to it.

    WHen you hand out notes from the school (which inevitably come at the very last minute, after everyone is already packed up) you have to make the students take the binder out and put it in the correct pocket. If you let them stuff it in their bookbag, you again, defeat the whole purpose of the organization system.

    After the first two quarters, you don't really have to do much reminding -- the students already know where to put things and do it automatically. If you have one who can't seem to remember, assign them a BEAR buddy who makes sure they put things in the correct pocket if you are too busy to check it yourself every time.

    Personally, I love BEAR binders. Once everyone gets into the swing of it, it is really helpful to both students and parents.
     
  8. kidsr#1

    kidsr#1 Companion

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    Jun 26, 2009

    Thanks

    :) Thanks for all of the suggestions. Our third graders and up have been using planners/assignment notebooks for several years now. My principal at the end of the year let me order 2 inch binders that would allow for their planner to fit inside in the rings also. My kids earn classroom dollars each day their planner is signed. These dollars get added to their paycheck at the end of the week. Unsigned planners receive card flips (time off recess...) Two days in a row, more time off. Not having it at school (time off recess).

    I understand completely about consistency! :)
     
  9. ancientcivteach

    ancientcivteach Habitué

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    Jun 27, 2009

    Rainstorm, we're implementing these (BEACH) binders next year - thanks for the tips. Our kids are in teams, and the homeroom teacher is taking point on the binders. I could see where checking for them everyday is important - do you do anything other than call the parent if they don't bring them?

    I was thinking about a version of the "desk fairy" for binders as an incentive, I just haven't thought of something I could call it that would work for 5/6 graders.
     
  10. RainStorm

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    If calling home doesn't work, then it is usually the parent who is the issue, not the student. However, the student is the one who suffers. If calling home doesn't work, I flagrantly bribe the student. "If you have your BEAR binder tomorrow morning, I'll give you a blow pop for being so responsible. But if you forget -- no blow pop!" Hate to say it, but it works. I'm just very discrete about it -- I don't want others "forgetting" in hopes of getting a blow pop -- yanno?

    The other issue sometimes is that parents don't check the binder and they don't remove what is in the Take Home/Keep Home. Again, telling the student "When you get home, take everything out of the Take Home/Keep Home and give it to Mom (or Dad or Grandma, or Auntie.) If you come in tomorrow and it is empty, I have a treat for you!" Hate to say it but bribery works with some kids.

    I hear what you are saying about the "desk fairy" thing -- but personally I look at it as "this is a requirement." There is nothing to reward -- you must have it. End of sentence. But that is just my take on it, and I can certainly see what you are talking about.

    One other hint -- have a replacement cost figured out. There will always be some parent who will send in a note that little Lulu has lost her binder and needs a new one. This irritates me to no end. There can only be so many places it can end up -- especially if the parent is really checking it everyday.

    My response is a list of the components and specific colors that the parent can go to the store and purchase themselves, or I tell them that for $7.00 I can do it for them. (That is my actual cost -- I use durable binders rather than the cheaper economy ones because they last better.) Amazingly, the lost binder always turns up after I send that list home!

    I've also had students spill food (maple syrup) or drink (orange soda) all over the pockets -- in which case, I make the parents replace those pockets. Fair is fair. There is a note in a clear pocket listing the rules of the BEAR binder -- and one of them is to never eat or drink while you have your BEAR binder out. I don't want to have to touch those sticky, icky pockets everyday!

    I've had nothing but positive comments at the end of each year about my BEAR binders. Parents do appreciate having something to keep all the notes and returned papers so organized. This year, I got a grant funded through Donorschoose.org which paid for next year's BEAR binders! I already have everything -- I'm just waiting to print the labels and assemble them.
     
  11. dcalhoun

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    Jun 28, 2009

    What are star binders?

    What are star binders? This was just my first year teaching. Will be my 2nd if I can find a job...
     
  12. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I use a modified binder that I make out of the heavy vinyl folders with pockets. I use a blue pouch, and a 9x12 manila folder. The folder is for the learning centers I send home for homework. I also include a weekly behavior form that has to be signed every day. My students know this is a requirement and they hand me their binder as soon as they enter the room. I use the binder as an opportunity to teach responsibility and rely heavily on my students reminding their parents to sign daily.I have the occasional parent that won't comply and I deal with them on an individual basis. My students are not rewarded for bringing their binder back, but they better have a pretty darned good excuse for not bringing it back! Even my lowest cognitively functioning children get in the routine of bringing the binder every day.
     
  13. kidsr#1

    kidsr#1 Companion

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