Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Yes, I'm the Queen of Binders...

Even if some of the rows are doubled and these aren't even all of the binders...I know I'm probably not quite the "queen". Ha!  I'm sure there are many a teacher...and especially a homeschool parent who uses them just as much as I do.  These last couple of weeks I've been able to do a lot more organizing with my binders.  Yesterday I had an appointment that the kids couldn't go with me on and so when I got back home, my eldest asked what I got at the store. (We live in a rural area so if I have an appointment...yes, that turns into a shopping day also as it takes many miles/minutes to get to most anywhere.)  Then he got this little smile on his face and asked, "Binders and sheet protectors?"  Tee hee!  Yep!  

That's just a selection of yesterday's.  ☺
I've never been a huge fan of worksheets, especially with preschoolers, but not a whole lot with elementary kiddos either.  However, after a year of having the kids home, I see and understand why many teachers fall back on worksheets.  They do have their place.  Here is my opinion as of now...

Worksheets and workbooks are suitable for some situations and children and not others. 

Phenomenal thought.  :-D  There really are some kids that love worksheets!  There are some that hate them.  Use them accordingly.


I have used binders for worksheets and workbooks for years!  Dry erase markers work just fine on most.  If it's a sheet that dry erase markers do not work on, I can copy the page and stick it in the page protector and they can use crayon/pencil.  FYI- I try to print the copies of these sheets on different colored paper so they don't use my master on accident.  Saves paper, dry erase markers are loved by most all children, the binders can be used with multiple children.  Ideal for homeschooling especially!
This is Kumon book I trimmed to fit in. Great "World" mazes for the older kiddos!  Binders work awesome for mazes!  No waste!  Can use it for every kid in the family...I've seen classroom teacher use it this way also.

    Work great for word searches also!

And this is a perfect approach to this particular step by step drawing book!  The nice thing is that they can erase all those extra lines quite easily!  ☺


I'm also a big Mailbox fan.  ☺  Love them!  

Been a subscriber for years for preschool and kindergarten.  I don't subscribe to the elementary ones as I can get them at the library with no problem at no cost.  ☺

Well, before 2 of the kiddos got enrolled in MVCA last year, I had to plan that they wouldn't get enrolled and we'd be coming up with our own plans.  So Mailbox was one of the first places I went to. During that time, I purchased some independent work and center books for elementary.  So last year they got used...............very little.  Ha!  They are NOT going to go to sit on the shelf and collect dust this year!  One of my concerns last year was they weren't getting enough "review".  We were learning a topic but weren't doing much with it after the fact.  So this year I have created independent work binders out of all those Mailbox books I had purchased.  I'm quite pleased!  I also had some older workbooks so even the 1st grader has some independent review work binders.  My main two subjects that I wanted to review were math and language arts.  So here is what I did.
 Upper elementary Language Arts and Math Independent Practice.

3rd Grader's math review

Everything he needs for each 'center' (that is not an item we keep out regularly) is in the sheet protector for him, ready to go.

Grade 3 Language Arts Practice Galore
Prime example of using "work sheets" in a binder.  In the right picture is an example of a page that he would not be able to use the markers because it's a color code activity.  I will copy that page one a colored paper, so he knows which one to use, and slip it into the page protector.  It's not a good thing when kids use your masters!  ☺
Non-Mailbox review for 1st grader :-)
Below is the little "self-evaluating" tool I'm going to try out with her.  She can put the paper clip on the page she did that day, color depending on the difficulty level, and then 1) I know which was was done that day so I can check it over and 2) I know what she thinks about the work. 
I'm going to try this....they open the binder, pick one of the activities on that spread of pages to do.   This way they are working with a variety of activities without me having to plan it out specifically.  I already went through the activities and know they will be review for what was introduced already.

Many of these word puzzles go right along with PhonicsWorks1 (K12 curriculum).  So that is quite nice!

Yes, I noticed I did not have any pictures of the 2nd grade binders.  Ha!  Wasn't intentional.  Just snapped a few pictures and didn't think you'd want to see ALL the binders.  :-D
Another task I got accomplished this summer was to get ALL of the Draw Write Now books into binders.  This year they'll each get one binder to work through vs. me trying to match topics.  

Book 1          and          Book 8
of the set that you can find at Amazon.  You can purchase them individually also.

Above:  a spread of pages from book 1.
Below:  a spread of pages from book 8.
 We use the concept of HWT's lined paper.  Here is the printable if you want to use it too.
Draw Write Now Writing Paper

I use the Draw Write Now series for all grades.  At the K/1 level, I suggest they use it as copy work.  And grade 2...that depends on the kiddo.  This year, he'll probably use it for copywork also.  However, last year I gave 2nd graders a choice on whether or not to create their own paragraph or do it as copywork.  For grades 3/4, we use it for cursive transpose the paragraph to cursive.  And for 5th does seem really simple for them...but he loves the drawing part and we are going to use it for typing practice.  ☺
 This year I am using binders for 3rd grade science so he has something to share with the rest of us and get some practice with presentation.  I also used binders last year for history.  They LOVED going back and seeing their past work all in an organized fashion.

Anyway...I have "extras" as well as Science 3, K12 activities all in the binder.  Each unit correlates with the K12 unit. 

In the left picture is a page protector with materials and instruction to create a project I found at...
Shenigans in 2nd Grade.
We'll use his own picture for the face like she did here.  :-)


This year, especially with 1st grade, I'm trying to keep ahead of the paper disaster and Language Arts and PhonicsWorks are in binders for the whole year already.  Activity pages, checkpoints, and any extra papers we'll be needing.  No time wasting with trying to find the paper I had ripped out at the end of the week before to PREP for the week and giving up and having to go  print another copy.  No more running around trying to find out where the lined paper got put the last time someone used it.  No more spending hours trying to organize piles of paper because I ran out of energy and let the basket overflow with 6 students' work.  Ha!

I also use binders for all my teacher reproducibles I've collected over the years to make it very easy to select the one I want and make copies.  Many many books have been broken down (or as my husband puts it "destroyed" ☺ and put into binders over the years.  It works for me!  

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