How to Organize your Reading, Writing and Math Workshops NOW!!

I am so in love with summer right now.  We are spending a much needed, relaxing weekend up north and to be honest yesterday was the first time I've shut down my teacher brain this summer.  But since a teacher's work is never done, and we woke up to a rainy morning here in Northern Michigan, I'm taking some time (just a few minutes, I promise) to start thinking about setting up my data tracking workshop binders for next year.

Last summer, I created my ideal reading, writing and math workshop binders and for the first time I felt organized and did a better job at conferring and meeting with strategy groups with fidelity.  I base much of that success on my binders.

This year, I'm planning to make a few small updates to make these binders even better so today I'm making a list of those tweaks and I can't wait to get started.

If you're interested in learning more about these amazing binders, here's a bit of my post from last summer.  I'm also planning to take pics of my binders from this year and post those later this week so stay tuned.

Post from 8/3/13 -

I've BUNDLED together my workshop binders and I'm beyond excited to use them in my classroom this year.

I've used conferring binders for several years, but they've always been a mish-mash compilation of ideas from all of the conferring gurus.  My favorites are  Patrick AllenThe Two Sisters of course, and Jennifer and Gravity (introduced to me last year by our literacy coach).

I've scoured the appendices, copied pages, resized, reworked, but nothing ever seemed to be "exactly" what I needed and wanted.  And nothing ever talks about how we should confer during Math Workshop.  So in my desperation (since conferring with my readers, writers, and mathematicians with fidelity is a goal for this upcoming school year) I decided to create my own ideal conferring binders. 

My ideal workshop binder looks a little like this:  
  • Cute cover pages and dividers to help keep me organized
  • Monthly calendars so I can schedule ALL my strategy groups and daily conferences (isn't it funny how if it's not on the schedule, it somehow seems not to happen - please tell me I'm not the only one!)
  • Pages to take notes and set goals during strategy group meetings
  • Pages to keep track of daily conferring notes and whom I've conferred with, when
  • Places to track the books students have read, pieces they've written and math centers they've completed
  • Status of the class checklists
  • Sheets to place the labels I take notes on during conferring
  • Sheets to record data on strategy groups, individual conferences, intervention groups and assessments.  (Nothing drives me crazier than not being able to find that 'one piece' of data on a student during an IEP or child study meeting).  Now it will all be in place.  
  • Plus lots and lots more
  • And BONUS, I also had to create a section for students to use to keep themselves organized during reading, writing and math workshops.  Now they will have a place to record all of their notes, goals, strategies, requirements and track their assessment data as well.  
Whew!  Each binder is editable and over 50 pages of organized bliss and did I mention that I'm REALLY looking forward to using them this year!

Here's a sneak peek at what I've put together so far:

Look at these cute duo tang folders I found at Walmart.  They may not be sturdy enough to hold all of the pages in one, but I might divide them into sections.  What are your suggestions?  I'm still on the hunt for black/white polka dot or chevron or similar pattern binders. No luck yet.

I promised only a few minutes, so I'm headed back into summer mode now.....   I hope you are all enjoying a peaceful, relaxing Sunday morning as well!!  Cheers to summer!!!

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