Wednesday, September 26, 2012

M.O.N.K.E.Y. Folder

So I said I wanted to blog about my homework/communication folder but never got to it. I'm finally getting to it! :D

Before I begin, I must give all credit to the original idea to, Ms. Stienstra, my Master Teacher in second grade. She taught me well and really prepared me for my first year of teaching.

Last year, we were the first grade Superstars so we had S.T.A.R. folders. This year, we are the first grade Marvelous Monkeys so of course we need M.O.N.K.E.Y. folders this year!

I know some teachers use binders and other use folders. My master teacher (the Outstanding Owls) used those poly three-prong folders (the plastic kind). I really like them because they are very durable and don't get destroyed easily so I definitely wanted to use it for my own classroom. They definitely survived the entire year of first grade last year!

Here is the cover to our M.O.N.K.E.Y. folders:
The blocked out part is the student's first and last name.
Personalized by and for each student! This was one of the first things the students saw when they reached their desks on the first day of school. They got to color this along with their name card that I use for attendance. I collected them, laminated them, and then taped them onto the covers of each folder. In case you were wondering, the students don't receive their MONKEY folders until the second week of school (since I need to you know...apply their personalized cover). During the first week we used first week folders which I collected the second week of school to never be seen again until the first week of the next school year.

And now...inside the folder! (in order)
1. empty page protector - for decodables and anything small that might get lost easily.
2. M.O.N.K.E.Y. Rules - picture below

3. Monthly progressing monitoring calendar picture below. I use a clip chart in my classroom and at the end of the day the kids color the color their clip is on in the corresponding day on the calendar. This template was taken from a third grade teacher at my school and then revised for my own classroom.

4. A list of sight words, divided into three sections (we test the kids on sight words every trimester for report cards).
5. A page with all the OCR sound/spelling cards on it which I received at my district's new teacher OCR training. The purpose is for the students to refer to them for spelling help once we have flipped all the cards (around mid-year).
6. Penmanship Chart of uppercase and lowercase letters.
7. The 100 number chart - Mainly for students to use at home when completing their homework but some students like to use this during math lessons.
8. Book Bingo - An optional reading "program". Students get prizes for completing different parts of the bingo card. They have a whole year to complete the card if they want to. And they get a new card once they complete one.
9. Binder paper - Parent communication section if parents want to write notes to me.

The pockets in the folder are also labeled "Return to School" and "Leave at Home".

And that's my class's MONKEY folder! I really love using this sort of homework/communication folder because it really instills a sense of responsibility in my students. Plus I also like how each one is personalized for its owner. When I passed these folders out I pointed out to my students that their names are on the folder and emphasized how the folder belongs to them and not their parents so it is their job to be responsible of it.  During the first couple of weeks when a student doesn't bring his/her MONKEY folder to school and comes to me and tells me their parent forgot it, all I need to do is ask them if the folder belongs to their parent. That's all the reminder they need. And they have been doing a wonderful job being responsible with their MONKEY folder so far!

Quick story to share. One of my five year olds forgot her MONKEY folder at home which also happened to be the same day homework was due. She came to me and took full responsibility and told me that she forgot her folder at home. Her mom emailed me later that morning telling me that she had taken the folder out to sign the homework packet but forgot to put it back into her daughter's backpack.  So even though technically it wasn't my student's fault for not having her MONKEY folder, she still took full responsibility of it because, as she told her mom, the homework and folder belong to her! I think they really get it! :)


  1. I use D.O.G. (Daily Organized Girls/Guys). Love them! I don't feel like I am organized until I get them going. I like the idea of using another folder until the others are sent home. I'm going to try that next year. Thanks.

  2. I'm guessing your classroom has a dog theme this year?? I love all the different acronyms we can use for our folders. They are all so cute and brilliant! :)