Student Organization and Binder

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by MrK, Apr 9, 2015.

  1. MrK

    MrK Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2015
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    1

    Apr 9, 2015

    Hi all.

    I'm a first year teacher at a small school teaching high school history classes. In my classes, we analyse a lot of primary and secondary sources which means that I'm killing a lot of trees. But, of course, I get a good number of students who are very disorganized and forgetting their stuff.

    My question to you all is if I should require binders for next year. I've been playing with the idea of letting the students have either an electronic online binder or a physical binder. But I'm thinking that's too complicated for everyone.

    What is everyone's experiences with binders? Do they work? Do they not?

    Thanks everyone!
     
  2.  
  3. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2013
    Messages:
    1,016
    Likes Received:
    38

    Apr 9, 2015

    In my experience, it REALLY depends on who you teach. I could "require" a binder until I'm blue in the face, but my school is so low SES that unless I'm prepared to supply the binder to 30%+ of my kids, it's not going to happen.

    However, if you teach in an area where that's not an issue, then go for it.

    What I'VE started doing this year (which I ADORE) is making little booklets for each unit. We have a print shop that will make them for me at no cost, so I pull together graphic organizers for each day for notes, all the class work materials (primary sources), homework assignments, practice SOL questions, anything I want them to have for that unit and then have it printed off in one book. So, for that unit, the kids just have to bring the book back each class. Then, on test day, I collect them all and grade the work. Only issue is I have to be prepared for the whole unit (which for me is 5-9 classes) two weeks in advance.

    Whether you do binders, booklets, interactive notebooks, etc, it has been my personal experience that it has helped a TON with my lower-level freshmen (75% of my students). It helps them stay organized and they study more with everything in one place (not crumpled up in bottom of bookbag).
     
  4. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    Messages:
    2,292
    Likes Received:
    122

    Apr 9, 2015

    A few years ago, I started requesting (by law I can't "require" anything) composition notebooks. In fact, this year I asked my seniors to have two. One is called the Resource Notebook, and it's where notes, guidelines, and vocabulary goes. My wisest students will take this along to college, because there's a bunch of useful material in it. The other is the Compbook, and that's where I have students respond to prompts, answer review questions, etc. I will often give them a page to annotate and respond to copied landscape format--I reduce the font and make it two columns, so they can glue it into the Compbook. (We use a lot of glue sticks!) I only collect and grade the Compbook, usually about twice a quarter. It's a system that's worked well for me. Composition notebooks are small and cheap; my students manage to have them in class almost every day, and when they don't I give them a piece of composition book paper salvaged from previous years' discards to do the work on that they insert into theirs later.
     
  5. miss-m

    miss-m Groupie

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2014
    Messages:
    1,200
    Likes Received:
    599

    Apr 9, 2015

    This is such a good idea. Composition books are so wonderful for notes and responses to things! Plus, unless you start ripping out pages, they're REALLY sturdy.
     
  6. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,770
    Likes Received:
    1,004

    Apr 9, 2015

    I have used a binder system since my first year. Here are my thoughts on it. A binder system will work depending on how much effort you put into it. For instance, years that I graded binder organization and would have students check each others' binders for compliance with organizational standards, I would have far more compliance than years (such as this one) where I went a little lax, and didn't add binder organization as part of the grade.

    Some students decided to use folders this year and not use the organization system that I offered to them this year. This resulted in a lot of lost papers and homework not being turned in despite it just being in the binder (since they didn't want to take the effort to look through the entire mess in their folder/binder).

    I think next year I will be strict on it again, as I've noticed that it actually helps a LOT of kids. Last year I've had parents extol the virtues of my organization system telling me that their students who aren't organized in any other class and are failing other classes were passing mine and staying organized. It helps with ADD students in particular, and keeps them organized enough to succeed.

    For the past two years I've also been doing lab notebooks in composition books. I love how they look and the feel of them, unfortunately, they're almost impossible to grade. I would have to collect everyone's notebook and it would take up so much space that I would have to do all of the grading at school (I prefer to grade at home). Next year, I will simply do labs as a section in my binder and collect just the labs I need.

    You do need to be proactive if you do binders. You have to figure out what to do with old units (are you going to collect them, toss them, etc.?), and if you have different components, how do they organize them. You also have to keep in mind that students have other classes. I used to require students have a separate science binder. It would take up too much space in their backpacks. So I opted to let them use a shared binder with a dedicated science section (some kids took this to mean that they didn't need a binder at all which is a problem I will address next year).

    In some cases you will have to provide a binder, if the student doesn't have one at the beginning of the year, or if their binder falls apart. It's also sometimes tough to describe your binder organization to new students who missed the beginning of the year and your detailed explanation of how to organize the binder.

    Sometimes it will confuse parents. But ultimately, I feel that in the long run, that places the responsibility on the student, and it ultimately helps the student.

    One of my goals is to keep from giving them ANY loose papers. Once we start loose papers, everything ends up loose and in the folder pockets. It's hard this year because I had all of my labs printed on half sheets, but like I said I'm going to make labs part of the binder next year.
     
  7. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    Messages:
    2,292
    Likes Received:
    122

    Apr 9, 2015

    Regarding grading composition notebooks: I schedule it so that I collect them the day of a test. While my seniors are taking the test, I sit at my table (where I can glance around and see them all) and grade. I can usually get through a class set in that time, since I'm grading mostly for completion. I am an extremely fast reader, though, so I do skim their entries... At least once a year some young wag decides to write something in questionable taste. I always tell those students I've left them a special comment, and I love watching their faces when they realize I did indeed read what they wrote!
     
  8. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2010
    Messages:
    6,347
    Likes Received:
    2,231

    Apr 9, 2015

    I've seen someone come up with a convention that is put on the top of every paper prior to copying it. It goes along with the organization system. It contains a letter for the type of work, a number for the unit or chapter, and a number for the item number in that section and unit. So homework might be H 3.4 That is the 4th homework in the 3rd unit. It makes it easy to order and easy to review.
     
  9. vateacher757

    vateacher757 Cohort

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    Messages:
    596
    Likes Received:
    2

    Apr 9, 2015

    Wow this is awesome!
     
  10. justwanttoteach

    justwanttoteach Cohort

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2013
    Messages:
    569
    Likes Received:
    75

    Apr 9, 2015

    Class set of notes....I have students leave them in the room. Or consider using Google docs/forms. It's all online and students can collaborate and annotate from anywhere they have a computer
     
  11. MrK

    MrK Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2015
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    1

    Apr 11, 2015

    justwanttoteach: How do you do the class set of notes? It's a really great idea, but how do you make it work? The two flaws I see are that only one on the ball kid will take notes while the other slacks or if you split the responsibility, I can see students who aren't as good at notetaking pissing off some of the more grade obsessed students.

    The Google Doc is a nice idea too.

    Thanks for the feedback, all. I really do appreciate it.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

Total: 210 (members: 0, guests: 192, robots: 18)
test