Saturday, January 17, 2015

Bright Idea: Monthly Theme Pockets

Hi Friends,
   Another month...another batch of bright ideas!!  Today, I'm linking up with a bunch of other bloggers to share some bright ideas that make our teaching lives a little easier.
  I don't know about you, but super messy desks are my worst nightmare. I just can't stand to see all the papers and things hanging out of them.
Not to mention how much work gets lost in the deep, dark depths of this mess.  Papers don't get turned in, and the loud cry of "I can't find mine" is heard 'round the room!

  Well, friends, I'm here to tell you about monthly theme pockets. Have you ever used them?  They are such a great way to keep student work organized.  Plus, they are super easy to make and keep up with... two of my favorite things. 
 Basically, these theme pockets are large sheets of construction paper folded about 1/2 of the way up and stapled on both sides. 

I make labels for the units we are doing in a given month. 
This month, it was plants, weather, 100th day, and winter animals.

 We typically focus on one unit per week, but there are some months with fewer or more pockets. This month just happened to have four.  During our unit, the kids place ALL of their related work in their pocket....crafts, worksheets, conference sheets, writing, anything we do or make.
At the end of the month, I put them all together to make a portfolio.
I line all the pockets up, staple them all together & use packing tape to secure the edges.
That stuff can really stick! Plus, it covers all the staples! You could use cute duck tape, too.
This is an example of the pockets put together before anything was added, but I wanted to give you an idea of how they're combined.

Of course, when the pockets are full of work, the portfolio is MUCH bigger.
That packing tape really holds it all together, though!

Then, I wrap another large sheet of construction paper around it.
I choose the same color as the back pocket, and just tape it to the back. It doesn't go all the way around, but when it's taped, you can't tell. It looks like a book!  
I print out cover labels, and the kids just glue it down.  This is the what the finished product looks like!

Here's another example of a pocket we did back in October. The kids just love these, and it's a great way to keep all that junk out of their desk.
Everything has a place.... just like I like it!

How about grading?? I either a) take up the pockets at the end of the unit & grade the papers, or b)take up individual assignments throughout the unit & when they are returned to the students, they are placed in the pocket.  

Not only do I love these things...and the kids, too...but their parents always love having these little snapshots into their child's learning.  Winning! :)

I hope you like & can use this idea. If you do, I'd love to hear about it.
Don't forget to check out these other bloggers and their AMAZING bright ideas. I always find something I can use in my classroom :)

As always, thanks for stopping by!
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Just click the little icons at the top :)

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  1. I love this idea of monthly pockets!!!! I am all over this. Thanks for sharing.

    Fantastic First Grade Froggies 

  2. This is a GREAT idea. I think I will try it for our next focus! thanks
    Hanging Around In Primary

  3. What a great idea! I get so sad when my kids just shove their work in their backpacks to be thrown away later on. This would be a good way to get everything home intact for the parents to see.
    Also, I just about thad a heart attack when I saw my name tags on your desks :-) Made my day here!

  4. What a cute idea for keeping work organized. Love it! =)

    A+ Firsties

  5. Fabulous idea! Thanks for posting pictures, too!

  6. I love this idea! Do the kids help with constructing the pockets? Or do you or a volunteer have to do them? What a simple solution to an annoying problem! Thanks for sharing!
    Stephanie from First Grade Bangs

  7. I sure wish you were my daughter's first grade teacher! Not just for this idea (which, as a parent, I LOVE) but for all the great and fun ideas you have!!


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