Teacher binders can be used for a lot of different things. I only use two in my classroom, but my teacher binder keeps track of all the data I need to be an effective teacher.
Education and Data go hand in hand…but what information should we be tracking and more importantly how do you organize all the data so we can use it to guide our instruction? I’m giving you a peek inside my teacher binder so you can see how I organize all the data.
I don’t use notebooks or binders much for organizing papers. I find it’s much easier to organize all the paper teachers have to keep track of in drawers. However, I have two binders or notebooks that I use. One is the substitute notebook I set out and keep information in it for when I have a sub.
The other one is my teacher’s binder. I use a three-ring notebook to keep all of my student data. The reason I don’t use files or drawers is typically when I’m looking for a page or information for a student, I am looking for something specific and not a group of things. It is much easier to go into a notebook to find the specific paper than to flip through files of paper or stacks of paper.
Now let’s go inside my notebook inside my teacher’s binder. I have multiple tabs to keep things organized.
Student Log-In Information
The first section is for student login information for their Chromebooks and different websites that we use.
Parent Contact Information
In this section, I keep information on how to contact parents. My school requires parents to fill out a form that has all of the same information as the contact form in the picture. Parents have so many forms to fill out at the beginning of the year with the same information, so I just make a copy of the one from my office and keep it in my binder.
There’s also a page for tracking parent communication. I typically only track on this page any phone calls or talking with a parent in person. There are some communication codes that I can use but I don’t track email or text because I save all parent emails in a folder on my email and I take a screenshot to save any messages from Class Dojo since I don’t give out my phone number.
I keep track of my students’ reading levels. My district uses Fountas and Pinnell, so I also keep a lot of that information in this section. I keep different resources to reference as I am benchmarking students.
I also keep track of my reading groups. In 4th grade, my reading groups don’t change very often and we often read chapter books during our small groups. Therefore, my small group plans often last for several weeks. I will keep those plans in my teacher binder because I will take my whole teacher binder to an IEP meeting, parent conference, or an academic team meeting. This way I can reference the information I am teaching students in small groups.
This is where I will keep track of things we’re tracking like multiplication fact fluency. When noticing different things about students I use a teacher observations form. I have one sheet for a student if they are struggling in several areas or I use one page for one skill or topic that multiple students need help with. Typically I use this on an end-of-unit test. For instance, once take our place value test and noticed that several students struggled with rounding, I will track that information and use it to plan my small group lessons.
I often track the behavior of multiple students by listing their names and recording different data throughout the day. A clicker is a great way to count behaviors to see patterns and repetitiveness and record my results. “Think Sheets” are also kept in my notebook for students to fill out if they’re struggling with following rules and directions. Sometimes I have parents request daily information about behavior, so I’ll use calendar-type trackers to send home.
I don’t always need all of these trackers, but having a variety helps. Some years I need to track how often students leave the classroom, so I use this to track that to see if it’s a health issue or if it’s an avoidance of work issue, to see what’s going on.
I keep track of any RTI interventions that I’m giving to a student, so parents and admin can see the type of support a student is receiving. I also keep an accommodations list for my students who have an IEP, 504, or are receiving ESOL services.
The next section is medical information. We get a printout from our nurse with any diagnosis and medicines, inhalers, or anything that they have in the nurse’s clinic.
Leader In Me
We are a Leader in Me School, so any professional development that we went to and things like that are in this section. Along with any guidelines from my district that I have such as our grade weights and requirements, and how to use different platforms, I have it at my fingertips then when I need to reach tips.
If you’re curious about how to stay organized with all the other teacher paperwork, check out this blog post on how I use drawers to keep track of all the other paperwork.