Red Homework Folders 1st

When I first started teaching many moons ago, I learned pretty quickly that if your organizational skills were subpar, you were in for a world of trouble. One of the things I struggled with the most was managing students' finished work. I tinkered with various methods, like mailboxes and file crates and just handing  it back to them when I was done grading with a wish and a prayer that it would actually get home to the parents somehow.

After many years and many methods, what I'm doing now seems to work better than anything else I've tried. Just thought I would share in case any of you struggle with this like I did. Man, where were teacher blogs and Pinterest when I started teaching? Oh, that's right! They didn't exist yet! Seriously, I did not even have a phone in my classroom when I started teaching, let alone internet access. We didn't have to chisel our lessons in stone, but I did have an actual chalkboard. I am making myself sound oooooold, but it's not like we had to hide from dinosaurs at recess or anything. {I'm 41 for the record. How did that happen so fast??}

Anyway, I digress. Back to organization.

Tip #1: Take a number
Assign each student a number and have them put that number on every paper. This makes it easy-breazy to put your students' work in order before you enter grades or get it ready to send home. Seems simple enough, but it took me 3 years before I saw someone else do this and I had one of those V-8 moments. I also number many, many things in the classroom so that I can re-use them next year without making any changes.

Tip #2: Have a strict return policy
Be sure your students know how to return homework and other finished work. My students have 2 folders in their desk. One red, one green. Red means stop. Green means go. The red folder stays at school and any unfinished work or work not yet collected goes in the red folder. Green is the homework folder. Green folders go home every day with notes, homework, handouts, etc. I  never randomly have kids return work to the finished work basket. I have my daily helper collect each assignment and turn them into the basket all together. If someone is missing the assignment, the helper tells me. This eliminates the "I put it in the basket, I swear!" conversation.

Tip #3 Get off the Friday Folder train
So many teachers struggle with Friday Folders. Now,  I like alliteration as much as the next girl, but having everything checked, graded, filed and ready to send home on Friday turned me into a giant stressball. Now I give the kids some Fun Friday time every week and that's when I try to catch up on grading, but I don't have the pressure of having to have it all done before they leave.

Tip #4 Recruit volunteers
I have the same mom who comes in every Monday, affectionately known as my Monday Mom {ha! Got my alliteration in there after all!}. She takes all the graded papers and organizes them into a pile for each kid and tucks them into their weekly work folder.

Tip #5 Invest in your folders
I spend a chunk of change each year on these plastic folders. They will last all year though. I ask for gift cards to office stores at the start of the year and most of the time I get at least a little bit to help defray the cost. Check with Office Depot to see if your school has a savings card plan with them. We have a special card that we can show them at checkout and we get a pretty significant discount on some items.
I'm a dork and make little labels for each folder with clip art that looks like each kid. In all honestly though, the kids end up loving that and they take a bit more pride and ownership in the folder when handling it.

Tip #6 CYA
Include a sign off sheet in the folder for the parents to acknowledge the fact that they saw the work from that week. I also like to have a place for comments so I have additional documentation of parent contact. If they are writing "nice job!" every week, they can't all of a sudden storm in and demand to know why I didn't teach xyz using the blah-blah method if they've been complimentary the entire year. Click on the pictures below to snag a copy of the note I send home with the first folder of the year along with the parent signature page I keep in the weekly folder.

Hope this helps someone out there who may be struggling to find a simple system that works :)

P.S. Be sure to stop by this weekend. 

I'm having a contest that you won't want to miss!

Your learner will be equipped with several materials as the year goes on. As the materials are added to your learner's backpacks they can be found on this site with a brief description of their purpose and use. 


O.W.L Folders



Your learner will have a take-home folder, or O.W.L folder,  in their backpack every day when they return home from school. O.W.L stands for Organized Learning Daily. Please take the time to check this folder nightly, as it may contain notes from the office, from me, homework assignments, or other important information that you should have in your hands. Emptying the folder nightly will also lighten the load in your child's backpacks, and keep their folders in good condition for a longer period of time.



Sight Word List (Download List)



Sight Words are words that are most commonly used in text that your child will come across most often while reading. These words do not always follow the conventional spelling or pronunciation rules and can cause children some difficulty during their beginning stages of reading. Knowing these words by "sight" will help your child be able to focus on the more important content words in a text. In order to help your child on their reading journey, a list of all the sight words that we will be working on throughout this year has been provided (click the link above for the download). Please study these words with your child nightly.



R.E.D. Folder 


The R.E.D. Folder, in essence, is a homework folder for reading practice. R.E.D. means Read Every Day. At the beginning of the year, your learner will most likely not be reading at an independent level. But, to get the responsibility rolling, we will begin using the R.E.D. Folders to bring home phonics, sight word, and alphabet readers to help support the beginning stages of reading. Please check their backpacks nightly for this folder. If the folder is not in their backpacks, don't worry, from time to time I will collect the folders for assessment of skills or extra practice in the classroom.  




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