Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Updating Teacher Binders

Admission: I haven't updated my teacher binder (cover, divider pages) since I created it five years ago.

That's right, it was 2008.  Don't believe me?  Here's the post.

No wonder I was feeling ready for a change yesterday as I tackled the next organizational chore on my summer to-do list: sorting through binders.

When Uncle Sam decided to move my family from Alaska to New Mexico, there was no way I could bring every single teaching resource with me, so I became a binder queen, sorted through all of the reproducible books I had, tore out the pages I thought I might need, divided them by month into wide, three-ringed jobbies, and donated the rest.  It lightened the load considerably from what I started with, but the binders, August through May, were chock-full.  

As my husband has retired and we've been in our home for almost two years now, I decided that it was time to look through my stash of reproducibles and whittle down as much as I could to free up some much needed space in my classroom cabinetry, though I really just wanted to update the covers on the binders that I've been using for lesson plans, student data and subs.  It took self-bribery to motivate me: You know, if you take care of the monthly binders, THEN you won't feel guilty about decorating the other ones.

I may have also promised myself an iced vanilla chai as an added incentive.

See the eleven binders on the middle shelf?  They're no longer there.  I worked the stash of October-May reproducible pages down to TWO BINDERS.  Teachers are natural hoarders but let me tell you, the occasional purge is liberating.  Since the pages I removed are being donated to a local pre-school program, I don't feel like anything is being wasted. 


And my reward to myself?  Reworking the covers of my frequently-used-binders!

First, I had to trim a piece of 12 X 12 scrapbook paper so it would slide into the clear pocket/sleeve on the front cover:

Using page 5 of Kimberlee Fulbright's free Editable Teacher Binder, I used cardstock to make cover pages for my lesson plan, student data, substitute teacher and quarterly reproducible binders.  I also used page 5 to print off divider pages for the quarterly binders: math, reading, writing, science and social studies, art and music, and assessments that I slid into page protectors.

To the left is the original cardstock size, on the right is the trimmed version:

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After gluing the back of the cardstock, I adhered it to the scrapbook paper and smoothed out air bubbles and wrinkles with a brayer:

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Saving ink, I printed in grayscale/black and white since I knew I was going to add cardstock punches that would provide a happy pop of color.

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Sticker time!

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After sliding the page into the sleeve/cover:

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Bright and happy and hard to miss, organized binders save me a lot of time when planning, tweaking, and tracking down info.


Need some more binder inspiration?  Visit:

~ Lindsey over at The Teacher Wife: How to Create Your Own Teacher Binder

~ Jenny at Luckeyfrog's Lilypad: Teacher Binder Remix

~ ... and Mrs. H at Once Upon a First Grade Adventure: Project Binder-ize!


  1. Thanks so much for linking to my post! I really like to have a main binder, but I need to work on curriculum binders soon! I LOVE how you added the pop of color!

    Luckeyfrog's Lilypad

  2. Love it... love the extra scrapbook part to add a little special touch! I need to work on my binders. One is my unit binder (the MOST important one). The other one is for meetings & such. I better get busy...LOL. Thanks for the little tidbits to make it look even more unique!

    Kimberlee @ iTeach 5th & Digital Doodle Designs

  3. Your new binders are just beautiful! I love how coordinated they are. Thanks for sharing your creativity!!
    Kindergarten Kel

  4. Love the binders! I need to add something to mine too!

    Down the Learning Road


As always, thank you for your comments, tips, suggestions and questions!