I. HEART. THESE. BINDERS. Parents love these binders! I have used these for several years now, and the original idea came from http://www.teachingheart.net/. It is a great way to teach kiddos organization and it helps the parents keep everything for school in ONE spot and not scattered throughout the house! :)
When I taught Kindergarten and had a garden/bug classroom theme, I called them BEE (Bring Everything Everyday) Binders. I have since moved up to first grade (and changed my theme, of course :) ,to jungle) and I now call my binders Jungle Books. :) Check out Teaching Heart's site for OODLES of cute names to coordinate with your classroom theme or school mascot!
Here are the components of my binder:
Front cover ~ I have the title of the binder, the child's name, my name, grade, and school.
Inside front pocket ~ Important Papers ~ This is where I send graded papers and school announcements home, and where I check for any paperwork from the parents.
Money Pouch ~ A zippered pouch for parents to send in lunch money, Scholastic book order money, field trip money, etc.
Planner ~ Our school uses planners for grades 1 - 5. The students write a message each day and they mark their behavior color on the calendar.
Communication ~ I put several sheets of notebook paper in this section to write notes back and forth to parents. It is great for LOTS of reasons: a note is not crumpled up in the bottom of the sweetheart's book bag AND it is FANTASTIC for documentation. The notes stay in the binder for the entire year.
Newsletters ~ I hole punch and place all of my weekly newsletters behind this section. This is great for parents to reference throughout the year for sight words, etc.
Calendars ~ All calendars (school calendar, district calendar, lunch menus, Mystery Reader schedules, etc) go in this section.
ABC's of First Grade ~ Our team gives this to parents at Meet the Teacher. It is an alphabetized list of classroom and school policies. This is also wonderful for parents to reference later on in the school year.
Back Pocket ~ My students put their take home book in this pocket. My kiddos take a book home each night to read for homework.
Materials needed to make the binders ~
One inch binder with clear pocket front cover
Labels (I use 2" by 4")
Zippered money pouch (I order clear, plastic pouches from Office Depot)
Colored copy paper
Of course, you can modify any of this to fit your classroom and school! :) Let me know if you have any questions!