Today friends, we are going to count the ways.
First, a small photo montage (click for links) to celebrate you in all your fabulousness.
From the very simple
To the wonderfully bedazzled
To the stylishly practical
Is everyone else smiling?
Now, on to the ideas...the ideas...SO MANY IDEAS!!
In my classroom, I was partial to the standard (yet simply elegant) manilla file folder. (I save the decadence of the fancy pants folders for my own personal use...call me selfish.) I used these file folders for absolutely everything.
Clearly, some of the most obvious uses include, well, filing things and using them as regular folders. I will not state the obvious. I am sure you are all dutifully filing away in your classrooms already. (Although just thinking about all that filing and organizing gives me goose bumps!)
Here are some of the other ways I used these gems:
* As personal dictionaries. I created four pages with spaces for words under every letter of the alphabet to staple inside the folders (roughly 6-8 letters per page depending on the popularity of the letter....poor X got fairly shafted space wise). On the front, I glued a page with all our sight words just for some extra practice. And viola! Children added new spelling words, vocabulary words, words of interest as they encountered them. They (voluntarily I might add) used their dictionaries throughout the day (reading, writing, social studies, science...you name it!)
*As table-tent Word Walls. Yes, our sight words were posted at the front of the classroom, but that didn't mean that everyone turned their little heads and actually looked at them. SOOOO...I put thirteen letters on each side and filled in our words of the week (a.k.a. sight words) on each table tent as they were introduced. Sounds like a lot of work - totally wasn't. My friends popped these suckers up on their tables during writing and all of a sudden - no more excuses for misspelled words.
*As table-sized strategy charts. Strategy charts are all the rage these days. Whether we're reminding our friends the different ways they can utilize a non-fiction text, walking them through the writing process or guiding them through a math problem...WE HEART THE CHART! I'm sure they are hanging around your room in all their glory HOWEVER imagine having them right smack in front of your friends faces! Simply copy your fabulous chart on 8 1/2 x 11 paper, glue and you've got it.
*As table tent center directions. Why kill yourself explaining a center each time a group uses it? Instead, print the directions out, glue them to a folder, slide it into your Ziplock bag for that center and you're done.
* As signs around the classroom. We all know that using cardstock = longer lasting signs. I used to use manilla folders to make signs for each table of students, staple the folder to a piece of yarn and hang it from my lights. My Super Colleague would staple the folder around a hanger and do the same thing. I've also seen teachers use this strategy to hang signs over various centers or areas of their classroom to label them. Any way you slice it - it's awesome.
* As covers for particularly fabulous writing. About once a month, we celebrated our writing which meant agonizing hours creating covers. Enter the file folder. Sturdy, plain enough to draw on and already folded perfectly in half - it was a life saver. Just cut off the little tabby thing and you're good to go.
Those are just a few ideas. Perhaps you're rolling your eyes and thinking, "Uh, all of these ideas are so obvi." Perhaps you're taking copious notes. Whatever. But you know what? It feels good to share. I'd LOVE it if you shared your ideas, too.
Sharing is caring, friends...sharing is caring.