"This year, I decided that I was going to fully commit to Organized Binder. From day one, I stressed the importance of the binder and I told students over and over again the expectations I had for their binders. Students took it pretty seriously but I could tell their binders weren’t going to pass the test during the first binder check. Sure enough, when I did the first binder check, almost none of the students passed. I was nervous about how they would react, but I wanted to reinforce that I had high expectations for them and not change the set up.
For the next week, my classroom was flooded with students during lunch and after school getting their binders in order. What shocked me was that it wasn’t all of the high achievers who were trying to make sure they didn’t lose points. It was also the students who don’t hand in their homework very often and who previously were just shoving handouts in their bags. I told students to look at the class binder and at the binder checklist I had given them a week before to update their binders - I was not going to help them.
When students resubmitted their binders, I was shocked at the results. I had never seen students who were so organized. And again, what really thrilled me was the fact that it was a wide range of students who were succeeding.
Since that first binder check, I have noticed that students seem more committed to doing well in my class. It was almost as if Organized Binder made them commit a certain level of energy and effort to my class, and, once they had done that, their commitment carried over to other areas of the class. In particular, I am talking about students who weren’t successful in my class. I had one student with an F before the binder check who would barely look at me. I got the chance to talk with her while she spent time in my classroom getting her binder in order. Since then, she has been in my class six or seven times after school for extra help. She now has a B+.
The thing I love about Organized Binder is that it makes students accountable to staying organized and at the same time provides them with the support to be truly successful. For example, suddenly the disorganized student with ADD doesn’t have an excuse for not doing his homework. He doesn’t have to look for it or search through a pile of crushed papers. He knows right where it is and exactly what he needs to do. Suddenly doing his homework doesn’t seem so hard because the daunting task of finding his homework has been eliminated.
Also, one thing I’ve seen more clearly this year is how Organized Binder can actually change the way students think. After starting each day with a Kick-Off prompt, I would go over the Agenda after students had copied it down. When I collected the first few homework assignments, a huge number of students had absolutely no recollection that the homework had been assigned in the first place and would accuse me of not telling them. I would turn to their Agenda (Page C) in their binders and point out to them exactly when I had assigned the work and the due date. After these students got tired of getting 50% for late homework, I noticed that they started actually checking their Agendas and thinking about them. I started getting more questions when I went over the Agenda at the beginning of class. When students don’t know what their homework is or how to do something that was assigned, they know where to go in their binders to find out, and they actually do it. I’m literally watching them learn the thought processes that all truly successful students have.
I really want you to know how much the binder has changed my classroom. I seriously cannot thank you enough for sharing this system and supporting me.
Thanks again for everything!"