Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Importance of Binder Rings

Always put your task cards on a
binder ring!
I shared the other day about introducing my new third grade students to math centers. One of the centers that I introduced was "Check Writing," which has the students writing numbers in standard and written form on a specially designed check that I created just for the center. I made three sets of the task cards on cardstock, cut them out, and laminated them. I carefully put them into three groups (there are 24 task cards in each group) and put the task cards into envelopes for the students to pick up when they chose that center.

Everything was going swimmingly with my centers. At least until clean up time came. Maybe it is just a third grade thing, but clean up seems to be a disaster every day. Children who were behaving wonderfully seem to lose their minds when it comes time to put things away. This is especially true for task cards that come out of envelopes.

Now maybe I wasn't specific when I gave the instructions, but I'm pretty sure that I said to make sure that all cards that come out of envelopes go back into the same envelopes. This, of course, was not the case. When I started to clean up from the day, I noticed that one envelope of cards was very anemic while another envelope looked as if it had just enjoyed a seven course meal. Instead of returning the cards to the correct envelope, the students just shoved the cards into whatever envelope they could find. I even found some of my Check Writing cards in envelopes with Pirates vs. Ninjas, another place value center. I had to sort all of the cards (again!) to make sure they were all there.

So I wised up. I probably should have done this to begin with, but I invested in some binder rings. I put all of the cards on rings. It was beautiful. And the best part? No cards got misplaced! I am a genius. Now, I just need to remember to do it again in the future.

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