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Using File Folders to Create Organizational Systems in Your Classroom

My love for organization and systems is well-known, so I especially adore finding practical and affordable supplies that help keep a classroom well-organized and ultimately, help save teachers a bit of time. I believe students learn better in tidy, organized spaces where they can focus and concentrate on academic tasks without the distraction of clutter . . . so I'm all about office supplies! Finding supplies that also add a pop of color -- like these sturdy and budget-friendly file folders from Oriental Trading Company -- makes my teacher-heart pitter-patter!

Middle school and high school teachers know how challenging it is to find the exact right pass for students at the exact right time. Students need passes to see the nurse for their allergy meds, go to the office to call a parent about their forgotten gym clothes, finish their research paper in the computer lab during study hall, see the counselor during lunch about the argument they had with their best friend on the school bus, early dismissal for an appointment with a doctor who doesn't see patients after 3pm, go to the media center, the science lab, the library, the discipline counselor . . . the list -- and the corresponding pass -- is never-ending. File folders to the rescue! Here's how I solve the pass dilemma:

1 - Fill out all the info on each pass that is going to be the same every time (usually your name, grade, and room number).
2 - Make a few dozen copies of each pass.
3 - Store passes in labeled file folders taped (or stapled) to a wall, door, the side of a filing cabinet, or a cork board.
4 - When students need a pass, they're responsible to get the appropriate form and fill in all the necessary information.
5 - Glance at the info they included on their pass and sign it.

This simple system accomplishes several things at once:

  • It saves you time -- no more digging through filing cabinet drawers or desks looking for the right pass to match the right need.
  • It maximizes your storage space -- free up that precious drawer space for papers that need more confidentiality.
  • It makes students responsible for their own needs and self-advocacy -- important life-skills. 

With five extra minutes and some packing tape, you can create a cascading file.

In addition to organizing forms and passes, cascading files can be used to collect or distribute papers to each class period, store daily classwork for absentees, organize papers to be copied or filed, or collect exit tickets as students leave the classroom.  

Here's to using five minutes and some "found space" to keep our students more organized, our classrooms running smoothly, and our decor engaging!


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