My first year teaching when I was in 3rd grade, I used the typical, plain old take-home folder that was made out of paper. I quickly discovered these folders weren’t the best way for kids to take things home in. Not only did it just have 2 pockets – one for stays at home and one for return to school (which limited organization skills), but it was made of paper and most folders didn’t last long at all.
After my first year teaching, I moved to first grade and started doing some research of take-home options. While looking on one of my favorite sites – Proteacher – I found the perfect idea for me. I’m a little bit of a control freak and love to organize so when I found the idea of MOOSE binders it felt like I hit the jackpot! MOOSE binders are pretty much a way for kids to learn how to organize while helping the teacher stay organized using a take-home binder instead of folder. I’m a huge sports fan and Phoenix Suns fan so instead of calling my binder the MOOSE binder, my binder is the TEAMS binder. TEAMS stands for Teaching Everyone About Managment Skills. If you do a search online, there are tons of names that have already been discovered and you are guranteed to find a organizational binder name that fits your classroom theme.
In my TEAMS Binder, I have two inner pockets in the binder, a pencil pouch, two folders, and a plastic sheet protector. In the front inner pocket, the kids keep their “Player Stat Sheet,” which is where they color in the color they were on the Clip Chart for that day. The pencil pouch is used for lunch money or important notes. The two folders have different sides that are organized for different purposes. One folder side is for “Important Notes for School,” where important notes go (as I’m sure you could figure out :-)). There is also a folder for homework, a folder for items that need to be returned to school, and a folder called “Super Duper Work to Keep.” In the plastic sheet protector, I put our special’s schedule so that it is always accessible to the parents. The back inner pocket of the binder holds a page that explains the different sections of the binder.
I absolutely love, love, love these binders! I have made these binders each year and couldn’t go back to the traditional old take-home folder. It does take some explanation time at first with the kids, especially in first grade. However, I find by this point in the year they have the organization aspect down and it really pays off. Parents also love it as it teaches their kids organizational skills at an early age and helps the parents keep track of things. Gone are those days of a folder with random papers everywhere and important papers getting buried or lost.
Below you will find pictures of the binder pages and two attachments. The first attachment is the letter I send home with parents at the beginning of the year explaining how the binder works. The second attachment is the page that goes in the back of the binder to explain what goes where.
Hope you enjoy and happy organizing!
Click here for the parent letter.
Click here for the explanation page.