Setting Up Your Planning Binder (Freebies)

09 June 2015 / 5 comments
Last month we asked a question about organization.  We all have our different styles to keep us organized.  One thing that most teachers have is some kind of planner, binder, digital document or folder to help us prepare for our lessons and week.  I think I may have tried just about all of them but I have found (recently) that a planning binder works best for me.

Summer is the time that I clean up my teacher binder for the year.  Actually...I start over.  Completely.

I think this reflection is important because it can be easy for me to over-stuff my binder with great resources and references. ( As I reflect on past posts that I wrote about my teacher binder, I can see this evolution in place.)  But the over-stuffing can cause me to feel overwhelmed and frustrated as the year progresses.

My solution:  Take everything out of the binder and really think about whether or not it was a resource I used or something I accessed in an alternate way. For example...our writing calendar for the year looked so pretty in my binder.  But I actually only used the digital version of it.  While I used my sight word sheets so often that I needed to print a new master copy that was not marked all up.

Once I decide what I need to keep and what I need to remove (or move to a different binder), I think about my goals for the year.
*One of my goals for this upcoming year is to vertically plan lessons; therefore, I want to make sure I have the Common Core standards in my binder but also the vertically alignment documents so that I will be ready to plan the different teams in my building.
*Another goal (as a whole building) is to be more explicit with our vocabulary instruction.  My teammate and I are creating a vocabulary list based on the poems and nursery rhymes we are using for phonological awareness and fluency instruction.  This must be in my binder!
*My third goal is to contain my post-it notes this year.  I typically have them on my binder, on my computer, in my car, anywhere, and everywhere.  I made a sheet in my binder to house these post-its!

After I have analyzed what I need and don't need, determined my goals for this year and what I will need (paper-wise) to reach them, then I can start organizing my binder to help me be as efficient as possible when I sit down to plan each week.
I gather:
*sheet protectors
*a new binder
*2015-2016 calendar
*district calendar
*all printed materials I need

I finished organizing my binder today and it feels good to have a clean start.  And next summer...I'll start all over again :)

If you are interested in any of the materials you see above, just click on the links below.

2015-2016 Calendar-Free
Wavy Divider Sheets-Free
Striped Divider Sheets-Free
Vertical Math Alignment-Free
Vertical ELA Alignment-Free
Leveled Reader Correlation chart-Free
First Grade Common Core Standards-Free

What do you put in your planning binder?



  1. Containing my Post-Its is also one of my goals next year, Em! Thanks so much for sharing all of the free pages and checklists! I have "binder envy" now and can't wait to get organized after reading your perfect post!

  2. I know this was about organization, but I think this is the first time I've ever seen the Vertical Alignment documents from ODE. Those would be really helpful in planning for my class! Love the colors you chose for your binder and organization it will bring you!

    A Very Curious Class

  3. Awesome! I want to get started right away on this.

  4. Plan on printing your freebies tomorrow and get my binder ready before summer begins! Thanks!

  5. I read a book called The Together Teacher last year, which helped a lot. I am always changing my teacher binder, which is why I also make my own because I need it to fit my needs, which are unique. Thanks for sharing.

    Kovescence of the Mind


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