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Seven+ Reasons For Using Student File Folders

By Dr. Kathie F. Nunley
© 2016

One of your goals in establishing a student-centered classroom is to remove the need for the teacher to "begin" the class period. No longer do we want to hear that telling statement, "Let's all get in our seats so we can get started".....

Students should be self-starting each class period. One of the best ways of creating that is by maintaining individual student file folders. So, get and label bins for each class period. Then put student names on individual file folders and insert in the appropriate class period. The bins stay near the classroom entryway. Here are the benefits:

1. Students maintain their Layered Curricululm unit sheets in their folders. This prevents them from being lost / left at home. (Make extras available and/or post on the class website for home reference).

2. You can look over unit sheets periodically, and leave post it notes on them for student feedback.

3. Students can "flag" their file at the end of the class period using a bright red post it to indicate they need your help or assistance during the next class.

4. Quizzes, daily starters, notes, etc can easily be placed in the folder daily for either the entire class or individual students.

5. No need to waste valuable class time with roll call. You can simply grab remaining folders at the tardy bell and you know who is absent.

6. Students can keep "work in progress" work in their folder.

7. Students can "turn in" work via their folder - using an orange post it to flag it as having completed work enclosed.

There is no end to the color coded scheme you can use for students to communicate using the folders. Ready for a quiz, Need instructions for particular assignment, Needing make-up assignments, etc.

Again, your vision is a classroom that begins with students working, not the teacher giving direct instruction. Once students understand they are to come in, grab their folder and get to work - you are on track for a student-centered learning enviornment.

About the Author:
Dr Kathie Nunley is an educational psychologist, researcher and author of several books on parenting and teaching, including A Student's Brain (Brains.org) and the best selling, "Differentiating the High School Classroom" (Corwin Press). She is the developer of the Layered Curriculum® method of instruction and has worked with parents and educators around the world to better structure schools to make brain-friendly environments. In addition, her work has been used by the Boeing Corporation, Family Circle Magazine, the Washington Post, and ABC television.
Email her: Kathie (at) brains.org

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