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Reflections From a Washington, D.C. Teacher

Posted by 
Mitch Weathers
December 7, 2015


December 2015 NEWSLETTER: Reflections from Adam Evans

We visited Ballou High School in the summer of 2015 to introduce the staff to Organized Binder. Within a month of that training Adam Evans sent the following email to the Ballou faculty. I appreciate Adam's honesty around his reluctance to implement and his observations afterward: 

"Good evening, Knights.

I just wanted to follow up with these reminders and let you know I was very reluctant to implement the Organized Binder system, but most of my students have bought it fully....

Some of what I’ve noticed:

  • Students who miss class have their classmates, our class Table of Contents, and a sample binder with which to catch up on lifelines, agendas, and a table of contents.  Working in groups, the students are helping one another get caught up.
  • As they copy the Agenda you can hear the audible gasps when they notice homework has been assigned.  You can also preview the next few classes in order to show you have a plan.
  • I’ve been struggling moving to a 70 a 90 minute period, so I have actually built in a day to review for tests and complete incomplete work.  I go through group-by-group and make sure they have all the needed materials.  At the end of the class, I just ask students to turn in “G3, G4, and G6.”
  • Once the students are tasked with finding their work and engaging with the organization system, they see the relevancy of it.  I had a student today who had a bit of a fit because I was requiring her to number her pages.  I asked her to turn in the work she insisted she had completed.  As soon as it was found she realized she had a little more work to do and actually apologized for her earlier comments.

One of the best things about Organized Binder is it is encouraging me to be deliberate in both lesson planning and distributing materials.  When students realize there is a well-organized plan on the part of the teacher, they will exceed your wildest expectations.

I know we’re all working hard – and a short week is never an easy week – but know we are already doing great things as a team in these first three weeks.  Our kids are worth our best, even if they don’t know it yet.

Go Knights.



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