Saving Teacher Materials by Sue Vaughn

By admin
Apr 9th, 2014

There’s nothing more frustrating (or at least not by much) than knowing you did a bang-up job with a unit last year, but not being able to put your hands on it this year. Don’t let it happen again.

  1. First – get a large notebook for each major unit that you teach. This may involve a lot of notebooks. If you purchase them, save the receipts and itemize your deductions this year! However, businesses regularly update notebooks when they change their logos, so with just a bit of legwork you can probably get as many as you need for free. I’m a high school English teacher, and I had to procure about forty (twenty for each level that I teach).
  2. Now you need at least ten tabs for each notebook.
  3. Write the name of the unit on the spine of the notebook with a Sharpie®
  4. If possible, have a student aide (with beautiful handwriting!) write the following on
    each tab – these tab titles are mostly taken from a class that I took from Meggin (too many years ago to announce) and my own tweaking:

    • Thoughts for next year
    • Unit grade sheets (or assignment sheets or calendars)
    • Objectives / Essential Questions
    • Masters (a clean copy of any handout), a flash drive with any digital material (get a small one free with purchase, ask for extras from the boosters, etc.). Be sure to include any rubrics.
    • Vocabulary
    • My Notes (primarily lecture notes, but including interesting articles, thoughts from other teachers, etc.)
    • Writing Assignments
    • Assessments
    • Student Samples
    • Sub Notes
  6. Take the notebook home a week or two before you plan to teach the unit. Complete all your lesson plans for that unit with the notebook right there.
  7. If you make changes “on the fly,” write a note in the first section – notes for next year. For example, if it took three class periods instead of four for final presentations, note “With a class of 35, presentations took three days.”
  8. As you accumulate materials, three-hole-punch them and put them in your notebook. Other than student writing, do not attempt to save actual student work – simply take a picture of the work and put it in the “Student Sample” section. You should have a cheap digital camera at school (write it off!) for these pictures.
  9. NEVER loan a piece of your notebook to a colleague – loan the whole notebook (and note the loan in your calendar). You’ll get the whole notebook back, but you might not get the single master that you’ve loaned.
  10. A week before the new school year begins, put all your notebooks on the floor and order them in the way you’d like to teach them this year, and then put them neatly on your shelves.

© Sue Vaughn, M.A.

Shared by Sue Vaughn, M.A. | National Board Certified Teacher |

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