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Filing System

Compiled By: NCPinkTchr

Not sure how to file all of those papers and lesson plans. Here are some creative ways to get them organized in your filing cabinet.

filing system
Posted by: sj

BUSINESS--forms, test scores, workshop notes (in order by date, with name and place of workshop on the tab. I finally decided I could find workshop stuff easier this way than by topic because I could remember where I first saw/heard it)
UNITS--science and social studies topics (First, make a list of topics that are covered in almost every elementary grade. Make headings and sub-headings. Then number your headings. These will be the numbers of those topics from now on. You can add sub-headings as needed, always numbered with the heading number. After 20 years, I have my topic numbers memorized! Alphabetical didn't work for me because I could never remember what word I'd called it, so I went to subjects because I can then know "about" where to look. For example, if I want something on rocks, I look in file # 13, which has the heading of Earth, and which includes subheadings of ocean, soil, rocks, etc. You can also add new topics easily by simply adding another number to your topic list.
MATH--look over the math objectives for all elementary grades. In TX, ours are arranged in domains, which work nicely as topic headings, which I number and have subtopics much as the Unit files do.
ENGLISH/LANGUAGE--Also numbered, grouped into Grammar, Composition, Literature, with headings behind each.
READING--alphabetical by skill, such as summary, main idea, sequence, etc.

If a heading or subheading gets really full, like my Thanksgiving heading, I holepunch and put these into a notebook that fits in the file cabinet right where the file would have been, labeld on the spine. Also, I glue an original of things I will make copies of later to the inside of a file folder so that I never lose the original. Each item in every folder is labeled with then name of the folder in which it belongs (all of my Rock stuff would be labeled 13-Rocks). If you don't put it back in the same place every time, you'll never know where to find it! And...if you're lucky enough to have an assistant, they can easily refile for you if things are labeled.

BINDERS with sleeves are reserved for sets of originals, maybe a set of reading worksheets. I also have a binder of testing items that I use to evaluate students, as I find these useful no matter which grade I teach. I keep one binder that I call my Handy Book that has things I use often and yearly, such as a sleeve with a lined paper transparency, copies of parts-of-speech jingles, and such that I frequently want where I can get to them easily. I make myself keep this notebook thin so that it doesn't get junked up.

CD's One of those cardboard boxes you can buy from Harriet Carter for organizing your bills--it has 31 slots--is perfect for holding CD cases. I burn a lot of my own CD's with units I've written, Powerpoint presentations, etc. Last summer I started converting some of my vast paper files to discs by scanning and saving to CD's some of the examples of artwork and crafts so that they wouldn't take up so much room any more. Most of what I create now is on computer, but there'll always be those paper files, too.

BOOKS--all of my personal library of books are numbered to match the numbers of my UNIT files, then filed into a file cabinet. The books I own but allow children to handle are grouped by the major topics of the grade I'm teaching into large Sterlite drawers by 6 weeks so that I can just pull out a new drawer and put one away to switch out.

THINGS--For all of those manipulatives and demo items (like my shell collection, the teeth molds the dentist gave me, the jars of glitter, the sets of flashcards, the teddy bear counters, my seed collection, etc) I use the smaller semi-transparent Sterlite drawers. These require no label because I can see what's inside, but look very neat. They are wonderful when you have to move to a new classroom--which I've done 4 times in the last 6 years!--because you're already packed!

TEACHER SUPPLIES--like my day-drawers, markers, blank transparencies, scissors & holepunch, staples & paperclips, etc. I keep in the 8x11 stackable Sterlite drawers that come 3 in a unit. These fit neatly behind my desk on a bookshelf that holds my binders. Everything is handy, easy to put away, and still looks organized.

My best advice is to create a system that you could use even if you changed from K to 1st to 4th to 2nd to 1st and back to 2nd like I have! I've used my numbered system for nearly 20 years, and it has worked through quite a few grade changes.

Now, if I could just find the top of my desk!!! No, no matter how organized you are, you never get ahead of the mess!

I hope this helps!

Posted by: mab

I have a 4 drawer filing cabinet at school and in that I file according to how much I need the files. For example: In the top drawer comes math and reading probe scores,spelling, then all my math files, then Language, religion, science, social studies, handwriting, then posters, misc.These files have all the extra worksheets, activities that come with the text.
In the second drawer is all the reading and phonics. Third and fourth drawers are paper drawers, like handwriting paper, spelling paper, etc.
At home I keep theme files in a 4 drawer cabinet. These would be like different countries, special days, like Columbus Day, President's Day,etc., then I have files for different books and stories (activities) then science units,like weather, anomal habitats, plants, etc.,and social studies units. In the second drawer are all the files for the different skills for Math ( I teach 2nd) so I have a file for Money, telling time, place value, etc. Files for different reading and Language skills follow, and then my art file. These files contain activities, worksheets, plans, everything I would need to teach a unit or reinforce a skill. The third drawer is a file for each month, starting with January. These files contain things specific to this month. January would have worksheets, activities, notes, etc. MLK would be in a separate file in the top drawer if I had enough stuff for it. The bottom drawer has books of masters that I have used off and on. The ines I use all the time I keep at school. It also has my religion files.
Did I explain it clearly enough? I just take out the files I need and take them to school and take them home when we finish. It works for me!

filing system
Posted by: tweet

I'm a color-code freak. i color code EVERYTHING! I have 2 file cabinets. One is divided by subject in each drawer-math, reading, lang. arts, social studies/science in one drawer, art and seasonal in one. Within each drawer, I have color coded file pockets for every skill. For example, in math I have one for place value, one for even/odd, greater/less than, add. facts, sub. facts, telling time, etc. Same for lang. arts and so on. In the reading drawer I also have a file for each read-aloud book I use. I like the file pockets, because I can drop anything in there without fear of it falling out and getting lost. The other file cabinet houses my folder games and activities for each subject. Those drawers are coded exactly like the other file cabinet, divided by skill--all the place value games, even/odd games, etc. I took it one step further and divided them into one person games and games for 2 or more.

Then in a moment of insanity last spring I began a new system that I continue to work on now. I purchased 1-inch binders and 5-tab dividers for each week of the school year. I labeled the dividers for the subject areas I teach. Then I am putting a copy of each activity, parent letter, idea, etc. in the notebook in the appropriate section so that in the future, rather than fumbling through all my master files for what I need for next week, it will already be there, ready for the copier. I can change out the papers in the notebooks as need be, but I won't always have to fish through the entire file every single time.

Files about school matters are kept in my bottom desk drawer. I also have two management notebooks. In them I have many dividers. I include sections for schedules, class list, seating chart, sub info, parent contact sheets, etc. It's handy all in one place at my desk.

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Filing system
Posted by: Debbie

Hi all,
My four drawer file cabinet at school is organized by subject then more specifically by topic...Content areas on top, Language Arts second drawer, Math next then all the professional stuff on the bottom-kid folders, etc. In the Language Arts drawer, I have folders for assessment/evaluation, shared and guided reading, literature conversations, authors, strategy lessons; in writing-process and more specific lessons; handwriting, and spelling stuff. In math, everything is organized by standard, process and product...(see NCTM principles book if you don't have it yet, it's a terrific resource!)
Hope this helps. If you don't have access to a file cabinet, all of my class stuff is filed by subject in plastic organizers-the kind you can add either letter or legal hanging folders. This way, when you do get your own classroom, you can use the organizers (the ones with lids work best for me) for the kids writing in process, and other folders you need to access immediately.
Best of luck, and have fun student teaching. ;-D

my filing cabinet
Posted by: Newbie

I have a drawer for each subject that I teach and then a drawer for administrative/paperwork stuff. For the subject drawers, I have a folder on each unit that I taught over the year. Inside each folder are all the materials I would need: lesson plans, schedule of lessons, master copies, tests, etc. The admin. drawer has a folder for referrals, progress reports, faculty meeting agendas, etc. Everything is in alpha. order.

Here are a few
Posted by: Mrs. G

1. I label file folders for each day of the week. When papers are copied I place them in the folder for the day of the week I will be using them. I place them in a paper tray on my desk.

2. As soon as I grade and record papers I place them in a file folder to be handed back at a later time. This way I can get a lot of papers off of my desk that aren't necessary. ( I place this file folder in a paper tray some where else in the room off of my desk)

3. Notes and forms- this is an area that I am still working on. I try to take care of any notes from the administration as quickly as possible so I can throw them out. All test results that we have are on a county database and in the students cum folder, so I don't have to worry about keeping these things. I only keep papers that are important or that I need to act on. The others I toss out.

3. Subject matter- I label file folders for each chapter I teach in a certain subject. Any activity that goes with that chapter I stick in that folder. Then they are stored in my filing cabinet. I only need to pull out the chapter I am work on each year.;)

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My filing system
Posted by: Barb

One way I keep track of copies is in a rolling file cart with files for each month of the school year. This has been great b/c I can just pull out Sept.(for example) and have all of my back to school stuff, saints for the month(Catholic school!), letters for parents, etc etc all in one place. I also use labeled files for all the other misc. topics--book reports, time tests, etc. I love hearing everyone else's ideas--I am always striving to be more organized!

Posted by: Bertie

My filing system isn't perfect, but I can find what I need quickly. Unfortunately, like you, I sometimes pile stuff, so I try to devote one lunch or planning break per week to catching up my filing.

Instead of one file per core subject, since you have so many articles and print offs saved, you might prefer several files per subject. For example, not just a file for "math" but a file labelled math; addition, math; subtraction, math;geometry, math;fractions, math;telling see what I mean? Because they all have "math" listed first, they'll be together in the drawer but now you'll have a file for each item you've saved.

Since we use a basal reader, so I have a color coded file for each story in the series, so I know where to put things that go with each story. The files are the same color as the cover of the reader, and they are numbered which makes them easy to put back. (ie, this week I'm on the fourth story in the red reader, so my stuff is in the red file #4. I have a separate file for stuff we study in phonics, say, long vowels, and vocab practice.

I also have a large file for each month of the year, so if I find things that go with Thanksgiving or New Years I know where to put them. Hanging files don't slide down and disappear, but the stuff in them tends to curl up, so I still use the old fashioned paper ones. Each summer I go thru all the files and trim them down to keep only the best stuff.

I also have one file per child, in a separate portable file box, to store their tests, work samples etc. Tucked in the back of that box is one file labelled "articles to reread" and one labelled "ideas for next time". I find its easiest to keep items I'll need soon, like notes from staff meetings, schedules, surveys, etc in a binder so I can grab it on my way out the door.

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Posted by: csteach

I have two organization systems. One is for the daily stuff and the materials I use a lot. These are held in a filing cabinet and organized by: subject. Each theme within the subject is organized by overheads, lessons, graphic organizers, student samples. So in my writing drawer under narratives you would find: one folder for overheads, one folder for student samples, one folder for teaching tools (graphic organizers). I do this for reading, writing, and math.

The 2nd system is for topics I only use once during the year, usually social studies and science themes. These items are organized the same as the above, but they are placed in a tall plastic bin which holds files. For social studies I have 3 bins, but it is so easy to grab student samples or overheads as needed.

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2-drawer file cabinet?
Posted by: jensw

How about a 2-drawer file cabinet? Put student files in one drawer and all your supplies in another drawer. You can get the plastic pencil boxes (like the 50cent ones at Walmart) to organize things. One for pens, one for notepads, one for stickers, etc. That's basically how I organize my desk anyway (has one file folder drawer and two regular drawers, where I keep my plastic pencil boxes).

I have such a tiny room that I'd love to get rid of my desk, too, but I also don't have any storage. So I really *need* that space.

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Posted by: mandyg

I actually use the old fashioned file cabinet. Here is a wordy explanation of how I organize it!!!

I devoted one drawer to each subject I teach. Please note there are no drawers for science and math because I don't teach those subjects. I took all of these files home and stored them away.

Top Drawer- Reading

Mini Lessons- folder for each skill taught (Ex. cause and effect, poetry, etc)
Guided Reading books- I have a folder for each book with the tab labeled with the level and any skill I like to teach with it (sequencing, setting, foreshadowing, etc.)
Novels- one file for each book title I have taught- I grouped these together and alphabetized the story titles to help locate the info
Readers Theaters- grouped into fractured fairy tales and others
Parent Tips and Information
*I *think* this is it. I am working from my memory so I may be missing something. Also, this file was so large it had to move down to the second drawer.*

Second Drawer- Writing, Grammar, the rest of the Reading Files
Writing Mini Lessons- one folder per topic. (Vivid verbs, beginning Middles and Ends, Using Quotations, Editing)

File for ideas for mini lessons
Starting Writers Workshop- papers for their writing folders, initial activities, books to start, etc
**In this drawer I also have all my grammar activities. I organized them into skill and then ordered them from beginning to the end of the school year.**

Sentences-four kinds of sentences, subject and predicate, incomplete sentences/ fragments
Nouns-proper and common
and so on.... I think you get the picture!
Third Drawer- Social Studies
I divide this drawer into units and put them in the order we study them. For example

Maps and Globes
Exploration and Explorers
Colonization: The New England Colonies, Middle Colonies and Southern Colonies
The Road to the Revolutionary War
The Revolutionary War
Westward Expansion
Beginnings of the Civil War
Bottom Drawer- My Stuff

Personal documentation (leave forms, references, copies of evaluations),
School forms from students (technology release forms, inclement weather forms, student handbook forms, etc.)
Holiday related files (Christmas, Mothers Day, I also include Beginning and End of the Year files here).

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Posted by: KT

I'm a high school teacher -- not sure if my suggestions will work for you, but here is what works for me:

I have a small file cabinet next to my desk for things that I need or use often. Some of the files I have:

-Memos (from the principal, district, other teachers, etc)
-Behavior (I keep a behavior log and copies of referrals)
-Extra Forms (blank letterhead, blank field trip forms, etc.)
-Grades (I keep copies of interim grades, nine-wks grades)
-Parent Contact (log of parent contact, email addresses of parents, notes from parents)
-Professional Development(print-outs of inservice hours, copies of workshop certificates, copy of prof. growth plan)
-Curriculum Resources (things I get from other teachers or workshops to help with teaching)
-Student Info (student contact info, standardized test scores, textbook check-out list)

This is just a sample of what I have. You can adjust to your needs. One thing I do is, when I get stuff (like in your teacher box, or at a workshop), I immediately go through and throw out what I don't need, then file the rest. I never let papers pile up on my desk. For original worksheets or tests, I have a lesson plan binder where I keep all of my originals.

Hope this helps

binders vs files
Posted by: Cathy-Dee

Something else I learned, not all photocopiers like hole-punched paper. Plus I find it irritating to put paper back into binders. I bought hanging files for my filing cabinet and if I would just get myself organized and file more often things would look much better. I actually find it easier to grab a hanging file folder and take it home, than a binder. Plus with files you can do so much more. One for addition, one for subtraction, one for shapes, etc., and they do not take up much room in a classroom.

I was also the pack-rat. You should see how many doubles and triples I have of some materials. I went through one year and had a ton of paper that was wasted. So now I make sure that I try to use up any extras I've made over the years.