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Bee Book Homework Binder First Grade

What, you may be asking, is a S.T.A.R. Book? Well, in my opinion, a S.T.A.R. Book is one of the greatest ideas that's been shared with me! A very talented first grade colleague (Pam Cloonan) implemented B.E.E. Books (Bring Everything Everyday) in her first grade classroom several years ago and now all of our first grade teachers use them. She shared the idea with me and this is the first time I will be using these with my third grade students, though we are using the acronym S.T.A.R. (Students Taking Awesome Responsibility).

Quite simply, a S.T.A.R. Book is a 1 inch clear view three ring binder that houses every single item that a student will need to keep organized, and provide a way to keep parents well informed of classroom activities, responsibilities, homework, and goings on. A place for everything and everything in its place is a motto that I feel is very important to instill in a child. The S.T.A.R. Book is a way to foster responsibility and teach organizational skills. If your students have never used this type of organizational tool before it will be very important to use direct, explicit instruction to teach them the ins and outs of the S.T.A.R. Books. Parents are encouraged to check all sections of the S.T.A.R. Book on a nightly basis.

I can't take credit for it, I didn't invent it, but whoever did is a genius.  There are many variations of a take home folder/binder out there, but this is by far my favorite.  Let me introduce you to...THE WOW BINDER!  WOW= We Organize Work.  The kids take home this binder every night, and they leave it on my small group table as soon as they walk in the door in the morning.  I check through the binder for lunch money, notes from home, homework, and to see if they have completed their reading log. 

Start with a 1.5'' white binder.  Insert adorable paper of your choice labeled with the child's name and class name.  I found the cute stick kid paper at Wal-Mart! 

When you open the WOW binder, the first thing you will see is the directions page.  I put it in a clear page protector.  The directions page tells the parents about each part of the binder.

On the backside of the directions page, I have a nine weeks skills checklist.  It lists all the skills we will cover for that nine weeks.  I will highlight any skills that parents need to work on at home. 

The front inside cover of the binder holds our weekly newsletter.

After the directions page and skills checklist, there is a zippered pencil pouch (see through).  This pouch is for money--lunch money, field trips, book orders, etc. 

Next is the parent communication notebook.  I will write notes to parents here, and they can write to me!

This is a terrible picture, but next in the binder are 5 pocket dividers.  They are:  Important Papers from School, Class Work, Homework, Graded Work, and Reading Log.

Here is a reading log!  Oooh, and it's all filled out!  Good job!

To end our tour, the last item in the WOW binder is The Reading Briefcase.  It is a poly envelope that stays in the binder, and the kids put any book we have read during guided reading in the briefcase, along with poems, fluency builder cards, etc.  I love that The Reading Briefcase is in the binder, because I know books are getting home, and most likely, they won't be lost! 

So, that's the WOW binder!  I think it's pretty WOW.  What type of take home folder do you use in your classrooms?  What do you put in your take home folders?  {Let's make this a share and tell!} 

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