Saturday, February 19, 2011

Introducing the WOW Binder! It's WOW.

I can't take credit for it, I didn't invent it, but whoever did is a genius.  There are many variations of a take home folder/binder out there, but this is by far my favorite.  Let me introduce you to...THE WOW BINDER!  WOW= We Organize Work.  The kids take home this binder every night, and they leave it on my small group table as soon as they walk in the door in the morning.  I check through the binder for lunch money, notes from home, homework, and to see if they have completed their reading log. 

Start with a 1.5'' white binder.  Insert adorable paper of your choice labeled with the child's name and class name.  I found the cute stick kid paper at Wal-Mart! 

When you open the WOW binder, the first thing you will see is the directions page.  I put it in a clear page protector.  The directions page tells the parents about each part of the binder.

On the backside of the directions page, I have a nine weeks skills checklist.  It lists all the skills we will cover for that nine weeks.  I will highlight any skills that parents need to work on at home. 

The front inside cover of the binder holds our weekly newsletter.
After the directions page and skills checklist, there is a zippered pencil pouch (see through).  This pouch is for money--lunch money, field trips, book orders, etc. 

Next is the parent communication notebook.  I will write notes to parents here, and they can write to me!
This is a terrible picture, but next in the binder are 5 pocket dividers.  They are:  Important Papers from School, Class Work, Homework, Graded Work, and Reading Log.
Here is a reading log!  Oooh, and it's all filled out!  Good job!
To end our tour, the last item in the WOW binder is The Reading Briefcase.  It is a poly envelope that stays in the binder, and the kids put any book we have read during guided reading in the briefcase, along with poems, fluency builder cards, etc.  I love that The Reading Briefcase is in the binder, because I know books are getting home, and most likely, they won't be lost! 
So, that's the WOW binder!  I think it's pretty WOW.  What type of take home folder do you use in your classrooms?  What do you put in your take home folders?  {Let's make this a share and tell!} 















63 comments:

Erin said...

This looks really similar to the binder we used in my first grade class I did my student teaching in this fall - it works SO well to keep them organized and teach responsibility. Our kids were responsible for taking everything out of their binder (homework, notes from home, etc). We also used it to communicate about daily behavior - I don't have a class of my own yet but I'm definitely going to use this when I hopefully am teaching first grade next year.
The kids also had a Monday folder where we sent home completed work, newsletters, flyers from the school etc. It only goes home once a week.
I love the reading briefcase by the way - we didn't have that and I think its a great addition.

JenniferL said...

We do BEE books, but this is so much better! I especially like the skills learned every nine weeks being in the binder. I'm gonna have to do WOW binders next year!
http://rowdyinfirstgrade.blogspot.com/

Kinderpond said...

I would love to know how to keep these looking so nice- we did this for the first graders this year, which I was thinking was so awesome. But they didn't last the entire semester :(

I would love to hear any and all tips to make them more successful.

Jennifer

Kim said...

That is FANTASTIC! Thanks for sharing such an amazing idea with the rest of us!

Sass Class said...

I LOVE THIS!!! I have used purchased agendas and they have worked well but we are out and no money for any more. Did the school provide the supplies for these or did you? Trying to figure out the finances for next year.

Amanda said...

Thank you for sharing your blog! I am awarding you the Stylish Blogger Award! http://love2learnandshare.blogspot.com/2011/02/stylish-blogger-award.html

AbbyS. said...

I do binders in 3d grade but I will be adding the pencil pouch and briefcase idea to mine!! I love this. Thanks so much for sharing!!!

Mrs. Larremore said...

Sarah,

I just awarded you the Stylish Blogger Award. See my latest post for the details.

April

http://larremoreteachertips.blogspot.com/

cassandra said...

Would you share your nine-week checklist with us...I love this idea!

Anonymous said...

I really like the W.O.W. binder. It is so inclusive! It's also much harder to lose a binder than the Take-Home folder that I currently use! Thank you for sharing!

Ms. Morgart said...

This is similar to what I have this year. I love the idea of presenting the skills for the grading period! I also have a reading strategies page and comprehension reading strategies page in the binder as well....thanks for giving us such a great idea!

Plants seeds of knowledge...for our future! said...

I teach Kindergarten and I use TIGER binders with my kiddos to help teach organization skills and responsibility. It is never too young to start. I include the money folder, class expectations and rules rhebus, homework calendar, school calendar, daily schedule for parents and a folder for take home papers and bring back papers. It works great and has really helped my students with organization.
Jenea
www.seedsofnoledge.blogspot.com

Jodi said...

I love your blog. I have awarded you The Stylish Blog Award. You can check it out here.

http://fun-in-first.blogspot.com/2011/02/award.html

Anonymous said...

I would love a copy of your nine week skills lists. Could you please, please, please post them on this site?

Mrs. McHaffie said...

Love it! We do BEE Books (Bring Everything Everyday) for first grade and I did FISH Books (Family Involvement Starts Here) in Kindergarten! I include pretty much the same contents. I do love how you have the skills learned section though! That is too cute... or should I say WOW!

Thanks for sharing! Love snagging good ideas from you!

Beg, Borrow, Steal
www.mchaffiek.blogspot.com

Sass Class said...

I love these. Do you purchase everything or does your school do that for you?

Kelly Zakrajsek said...

I LOVE this idea. It begins to get the kids ready for the grades when they have to do it all on their own!

ChiTown Girl said...

I'm curious as to who buys all the binders and all their components? I assume your school, since there are so many parts involved. It seems like a rather expensive venture. I make "homework folder" for my class every year, that I have to purchase, then I label them with labels I make on my computer at home, put in clear pocket protectors for various things, etc. I also send an explanation letter to the parents. I send homework packets home on Monday, then they're returned on Friday. I gotta tell ya, by the end of the first month, about 75% of the folders are lost or ruined. It's just not worth spending the money on something like this for me, as I would have to foot the entire bill.

That being said, I LOVE this idea, and will definitely file it away, just in case I ever escape my current situation. ;-)

Sarah said...

That is a great idea! I recognixe Scarlett's Muffins - you use Exhursions? I am piloting it for our school this year.

Ms. A's Class said...

Love your blog!
I've awarded you The Stylish Blogger Award!
Ms. A
www.oceansoffirstgradefun.blogspot.com

Mrs. Thiessen said...

Those are FABULOUS!!!!! My class has Panda Folders, but these would be far more durable and easy to communicate with.

Thanks for sharing such a great idea!!!!
Alexandra
http://thefirstgradesweetlife.blogspot.com/

Sarah Cooley said...

@ChiTown Girl and @Sass Class...the only thing I purchase for the binders is the paper for the front cover, the labels for each divider and the poly envelopes for the Reading Briefcase (about $10 for a class set through Office Depot). The other supplies are very inexpensive and are on the kids supply lists. 1 binder, 1 notebook, 1 pencil pouch, and 5 pocket dividers! In my 3 years in first grade, I have never had anyone lose a WOW binder. {knock on wood.}

@Kinderpond--most of the binders really hold up well, but there are a few that I may have to ask the parents to replace about half way through the year. I let my kids keep them in their desks throughout the day, but I know there are some teachers who keep them in a bin or on a special shelf to keep them safe throughout the day!

ChiTown Girl said...

Ah...I had a feeling that's how it was done, and sorry to sound so whiny again, but that would NEVER happen at my school. I can't even get our parents to send pencils and/or crayons. I have to supply EVERYTHING. Scissors, glue, crayons, pencils, and so on and so on... That's why I haven't upgraded my homework folders yet. Thanks, though, for the insight. :)

Cindy Hutter and Tanya Wildman said...

Binders are awesome! I use them for everything. Our students have binders,too!
I also awarded you the Stylish Blogger Award!
:-)

Andi said...

I have BEE Books. I supply everything (including the binders) because there is NO WAY I'd get the supplies I needed for the books from my students. I've included many of the same things you have in yours but not the 9 weeks Skills Checklist. I really like that.

My parents love this binder. Although, it can be a pain to keep up with (especially since I only have a 35 minute planning period.) But, my parents love it and it is CYA for me.

Brandy said...

When I taught, I did this same thing only I called it something different. In addition to what you have, I also had a place to record their daily behavior and an information section that housed info such as the lunch calendar, school system calendar, class monthly calendar, etc. I taught second grade and the students were very proficient in removing all of the things out of the binder that needed to come out and be placed somewhere else. I would check whatever else stayed in them after that. They knew to leave their binders on top of their desks if there was something inside I needed to see. Otherwise, it went into their cubbies for the day. My parents loved it...me too!

For the people who worry they won't last, use Avery brand binders (seem to last MUCH longer!) I always had some that I could reuse each year. I also printed up binder rules that went on the back cover. Each child and parent had to sign the rules. I bought everything for the binders with my own money because in the school system I worked for we were not allowed to tell students to bring supplies. All we could do was say "we need these things if you are able to donate any." Needless to say, we didn't get all we needed.

Anonymous said...

Could you post your quarterly expectations list? I would really like to see this as well. I do a FROG Book...love them. I had to put the cost for the first year out and then put the binder and pencil bag on the supply list so now I have a supply. If they have to be replaced during the year the parents get a new one.

mireya aguirre said...

I would love a copy of your skills list! My e-mail is yayaagu@aol.com.

Thank you!!!

klannon said...

I too would LOVE to see your skills checklist! I think this would be a great resource to add to my binders. I LOVE the idea of hightlighting the skills the kids need to focus on at home! p.s. I just used your Pair of Pears project and the kids LOVE it! It was a perfect project to reinforce all the homophone work we have been doing. Thanks for all your inspiration. If you prefer emailing the skills list I am klannon65@gmail Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Would also love to see the list of first grade skills! Love your site!

Emily said...

I would love a list of quarterly expectations too! My email is ejo.evans@gmail.com

Sarah Cooley said...

@ everyone...I will ask my friend Kim if the skills checklist is okay to share! {She developed the checklist!} If she gives the okay, I'll post the PDF soon!!!

Jackie said...

Thanks Sarah for letting us know about checking with Kim. I have been checking back everyday to make sure I didnt miss the posting! :0)

Miss Adams said...

I do something like this in my classroom. I call them STAR binders (Students That Are Responsible) and I have 3 page protectors with a class list, a description of my classroom discipline policy, our class rules, a copy of the 10 commandments and our memory work for the week (I teach at a parochial school). Then I also have 3 folders--reading log, Homework, and a keep at home folder. We also have the zipper pocket in the front. Our school planner is in the binder too.

I'm going to have to add the reading briefcase next year. I love that idea!

Kerri Roberts said...

I have used KID Books the last two years in Kindergarten. I LOVE it!! I chose K.I.D (Keep It Daily). my parents like having it too. Anything important goes in here

Megan said...

I am a first year teacher and love this idea! It is a wonderful way for parents to know what will be expected of their children. I would love to see the fourth quarter, first and second qaurter sheets to start planning for next year! Thank you for all your wonderful posts:) They have helped me through my first year!!

Jessica Watermelon :) said...

This is amazing. I can't wait to use it next year. I love feeling inspired :)

-Jessica
http://wonderfulwatermelon.blogspot.com/

Miss Diss said...

my first graders had a WHALE last year (weekly homework and little extras) and they are super similar to your WOW binders. I added a handwriting page, class list, and their Friday folders (they're http://www.thepageprotectorstore.com/ and you can totally hole punch them if you use a heavy duty punch). I love that Smith's Room has a ton of acronyms for these... you can make your binder match your room theme, your school mascot, or anything else!

http://www.smithsroom.com/MOOSE_Acronyms.htm

AshleyM said...

Love, love, love your 9 weeks skills checklist! Would you please send me a copy of one (or all of them)? I teach 2nd grade but would love the template to modify it for my grade level! Thank you so much!!!!

Ashley from Auburn, Alabama
ahmchugh@auburnschools.org

Anais Novak said...

I really want to have these this year and wasn't sure exactly how to lay it out. I like having the skills you are working on...I haven't seen that in many. Great blog.
Anais

Anonymous said...

I would love a copy of your skills list!! I do a BEE book which is similiar and also has the spelling words for two months in a plastic sleeve. I love this idea though!!! THanks for sharing! My e-mail is mjohnsrud@glacialhills.org

Ali said...

I love your cover! Would you be willing to share? This will be my first year having a communication binder.

Thanks!

Ali
alischepis(at)gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I love your 9 weeks skills checklist! Would you please send me a copy of one (or all of them)? Thank you so much!!!!

Ashley
imaginaryfrind_ah@hotmail.com

Frosty said...

I would like to see your 9 weeks skills checklist. Would you please send me a copy of one? Thanks in advance!

Mumtaz.
mumtazdk@hotmail.com

Ruth Livingston said...

Could you please send me your nine weeks checklist and your directions page?!?! Thanks ruthmlivingston@yahoo.com

honeybear2911 said...

This is lovely! At first I thought it was for "at school" and that was why I repinned it. I have been looking for a way to keep my kids more organized at school with "unfinished work" and papers they need to keep in their desks. I love this for sending home though. It seems like something that the students and their parents might take more seriously, and therefore I'll get things BACK more often!

mefeinberg said...

I love this idea!!! Would you be willing to share your directions page??

Anonymous said...

I didn't know if you were sharing your nine weeks checklist. Thanks

Lori said...

I was actually going to ask the same thing...I would love to see your 9 week checklists! The binder is awesome! Thanks for sharing!!

Anonymous said...

Hi, yes could you please let all of us teachers, who fell in LOVE with this binder, know if you are able to share the content (especially the 9 week skills checklists)! Anxiously waiting to hear your reply!

Jaime
jam4_83@yahoo.com

Tracy Horn said...

Love reading all ur interesting ideas... Like many have asked... Would love copies of it all as well... I am really going to organize my kiddos and myself this year!!! Thanx much
Graciesmom2@gmail.com

Jaimee said...

I would greatly appreciate copies of the W.O.W binder. If you could please email them to me that would be great. Thanks

jaimee.ness@northwoodk12.com

Jaimee said...

I would greatly appreciate copies as well ... if you could please! Just started teaching first grade and this is a great idea. Thanks
jaimee.ness@northwoodk12.com

Anonymous said...

WOuld love copies of the WOW binder. I do something similiar for my first graders but definitely love your idea more :o)
robinlg@hotmail.com
Thank you!

Jennifer said...

I would love a copy of the skills checklist!! Could u send me one to simplysprinkled@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

I would love a copy of the skills checklist also. We are starting new testing practices in first grade. I think it would help our parents see all the skills we are responsible for teaching. Please send to: emoore@scsk12.org
Thanks,
Elaine Moore

Sheree said...

If possible, could I have a checklist and the WOW binder ideas too? Great ideas.
Sheree@nmax.net

Anonymous said...

Sarah,
Where can I buy the W.O.W. binder parts?? I have checked your TPT store and can't find it! Please email me! I love it!
Thanks,
katie
katiefs985@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

Hi Sarah,
I love the idea of your W.O.W binder. I am hoping to try it for the upcoming school year. Is there any way that I could also purchase a copy of all of the components? Thanks so much!

Amanda
ahollenbeck@usd261.com

Anonymous said...

Hi
I'm back in 1st grade and would love to see your direction sheet and skills checklist. Are you able to share it?

RITA RAYDON said...

I would love a copy of the skills checklist if you are willing to share it. Let me know where I can purchase it. THanks you.
Rita
rraydon@magnoliaisd.org

RITA RAYDON said...

I would love a copy of your first grade skills checklist. Please let me know where I can purchase it. Thank you, Rita
rraydon@magnoliaisd.org

Annie Won said...

I would also love to have a copy of your first grade skills checklist. Please let me know how I can purchase it. Thank you! Annie
annie.won@gmail.com

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