Organizing Files

At the beginning of last year, I moved into a classroom that had seen many teachers come and go.  It was apparent to me that no one had really called this classroom home, as there was a mish-mash of stuff everywhere.  Being a pretty neat and tidy person, I set to work on decluttering and getting rid of old materials before the school year began.  As I started to go, I realized what a huge project I was beginning.  I found health curriculum from the 1970's, writing resources from the 1980's, and worksheets that were blue and smeared from an old ditto machine.

During the first month of school, I stayed late a couple nights to organize the filing cabinet, just to do an initial purge.  I bought metal frames and hanging file folders to organize everything into.  I separated the materials into drawers of math, language arts, science/social studies/art/health, and the last drawer for behavior management and monthly files.

Then as I went through the year, I realized that I was not using the files that were already in the cabinet because I wasn't really sure what was in there.  And I was adding a lot of resources that I made and bought from TpT.  I decided to organize it all by standard.

Here is the math drawer:




Each standard gets a file folder.  I put the standard number on the tab and the standard itself on the front of the folder.  Inside each folder are my I Can statements (I use the ones from Surfin Through Second), worksheets, and centers that correlate with each standard.  I keep all my centers in plastic page protectors and label them like Katie from Teacher to the Core does.  When I saw her post, I thought it was genius!    

Now when I go to teach a specific standard, I just pull the folder and choose which materials I want to use.  I think it will really help me this year with planning.  It also helps me see which standards I don't have a lot of materials for and need to stock up on at TpT!

If you are interested in the 2nd grade common core labels, you can find them in my updated 2nd grade Learning Targets pack!


How do you organize your files?

8 comments

  1. LOVE this post, NIcole. Thanks for sharing. I was actually jus talking with a co-worker yesterday about organizing CC files. I can't decide between a binder or files. I currently have all of my math resources in binders (but I'm running out of room for binder space) and way back in September I had purchased a bunch of colored hanging folders to add CC labels to them. That sure didn't happen. I think you've convinced me to switch over to the filing cabinet.
    Courtney
    Teaching in Paradise

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    1. I used to organize resources in binders, too, but I think I like the filing cabinet better. Those big binders can be so bulky, and it's so easy to just grab the folder I need to bring home or take to the copy room. I saw your new folders on Instagram and they look great! I hope the system works for you, too!

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  2. Great post! I have a silly question about the logistics of your system. What do you do if, for example, you purchase a product from TPT addressing multiple standards? Do you take apart the packet and file them according to the specific standards? Same with specific activities that might address more than one standards? I am so OCD about having things in the "right place" that if I can't find a perfect spot for it, I completely give up on my system (YIKES! I think I have a problem!). What do you do in these situations?

    Rae
    Mindful Rambles

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    1. Hi Rae,
      Some TpT products are a series of math or literacy centers. I would break those up and file by standard. But say it is a science unit that encompasses several writing and language standards? I would probably put that in my science drawer under the science theme. I hope that helps! If it's holiday, I'd put it in my monthly files.

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    2. Thanks for asking that question, Rae. I was wondering the same thing :P

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  3. Hi there! I love a post about organization! Haha! I teach at an independent school, so I don't organize files by standard, but by subject and then within a subject. For example, I have a math section then a folder for math challenges, assessments, games, etc. I also was dying for a mailbox for my students work to hand back to them, but those were expensive (and I needed 2 which also ate into my space), so I bought a bunch of letter holders and stacked them - "mailbox 1" and then hung and labeled file folders in a cabinet that was donated to me - "mailbox 2". The kids just open the drawer and take out work from their file that I graded and they can take home!

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    1. I got a set of mailboxes from Donorschoose a couple years ago, but I used to use hanging files in a crate for passing back work.

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  4. THIS is a fabulous idea. I love it. I am trying to make my room feel like my own, and this would completely make things work well for my writing curriculum with Common Core! Thank you for sharing your idea!

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