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Teaching Strategies for Organizing Take-Home Folders

Janelle Cox

If you’re looking for teaching strategies to keep your classroom communication organized, then you must give your students a take-home folder. A take-home folder is one of the single most important tools a student has, and it’s the best home-school connection a teacher (and parent) can have. Not only is it a great tool for communicating with parents, but it’s also an effective and efficient way for students to learn responsibility. Students will learn quite quickly that they must bring their folder to and from school each day in order to get credit from their teacher. Here we’ll take a brief look at how they work, as well as few teacher-tested teaching strategies on how you can use them in the classroom.

Teaching Strategies: The Take-Home Folder

There are a few ways that you can design a take-home folder. The first way (which is usually meant for older students) is simply a folder that has two pockets in it. One side of the folder is labeled “Keep at Home,” while the other said is labeled “Return to School.” Each day, students bring their folders home and have their parents sign a paper saying that they’ve looked at everything inside of the folder.

The next way to design a take-home folder is to use a binder. Many primary teachers like to use a binder because it can hold more papers, since students have a lot of information that needs to be communicated to parents. In the binder, students can have their reading log, communication log, classroom rules and schedule, monthly calendar, and any other important information that the teacher wants to communicate with the students and parents.

Teaching Strategies and Ideas for Take-Home Folders

Here are a three effective teacher-tested strategies and ideas for using this efficient tool.

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Use Student Mailboxes to Store Folders

One teacher-tested teaching strategy that teachers found to be effective is to buy a mailbox station to house the take-home folders. All you have to do is purchase a few plastic drawer organizers and write each students’ name on the front of each drawer. Each morning after students take out the contents of the folder and place it in the appropriate bin (homework, parent notes, etc.), they take their folder and put in into their personal mailbox. This mailbox can also store any important papers that need to go home. Once contents are in the folder, then it’s the students’ responsibility to take all of the contents in the mailbox and sort it into the take home folder before they go home each day.

Use a Milk Crate to Organize Take-Home Folders

To store take-home folders, use a milk crate. Place hanging file folders with students’ names on them and have students place their folder into their own pocket in the morning. Each is a simple and efficient way to store and organize student folders all in one spot.

Velcro Folders to Students’ Seats

Another innovative ideas teachers love to use is to Velcro a file pocket folder onto the back of their students’ chairs. Each morning after students empty their take-home folders and place the contents into the appropriate bins or baskets, students place their folders into the file folder on the back of their chair. This is not only a great way to keep students’ important papers altogether at their seats (which helps to eliminate missing papers), but it also saves space.

These are a just a few favorite ways that teachers like to use take-home folders in their classrooms. What you are favorites?

How do you organize classroom take-home folders? Do you have any teaching strategies on how to create, organize, or implement them in the classroom? Please share your thoughts and ideas on this topic in the comment section below, we’d love to hear from you.


Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.