Yesterday, I wrote about the daily communication folders that I use in my classroom to help families and students stay organized with notes to/from the teacher, homework, dismissal changes, lunch money, book club orders, permission slips, work I've recorded grades from, and important papers.

But, what about all the “other stuff?”

You know the “other stuff.”  The pile of practice work from centers, the doodles from indoor recess, the ads for local afterschool programs, sign-up forms for boy scouts, t-ball, and other non-school groups. 

Yeah, that stuff.

As you know, I love a Clutter-Free Classroom and part of that is having clutter-free cabinets, drawers and even folders.

So it was important to me that all of the “other stuff” not bulk up and clutter the communication folders.

Enter the Thursday folder.

A colleague recommended it years ago and I have never turned back. You can check out yesterday’s post to see how I manage the important papers, the rest go into the Thursday Folder...and life is good.

Here are the details:
  • I use a simple, cheap folder in a bright color. The reason for the bright color is because it doesn’t come home every single day and since it isn’t as quickly engrained as our other procedures and routines, I want to to “pop out” when the backpack is opened up at home. 

  • There is no reason to get anything fancy or extra sturdy because they are only going home once a week. I find that the majority of mine always last the entire year and the ones I do replace tend to be because they were the casualty of a leaky thermos or victim to a younger sibling and not because they didn’t hold up on their own.

  • If you want to reinforce them you could run a strip of clear packing tape or decorative duct tape down the crease, but these folders are so cheap at this time of year that I find it’s better to just buy a few extras. 

  • If a paper is time-sensitive (i.e. I’m given an ad on a Friday for a community event that will take place that weekend, I’ll send it home in the “leave at home” pocket of the daily folder. But, if it can wait, it waits until Thursday to go home.

  • A lot of “the other stuff” will go right in the recycling bin when the parents receive it and many have expressed that they really appreciate this system as it cuts down on their needing to manage papers at home. 

I have made all of the printables that I use for my folders available in a packet as today’s Flash Freebie...except it won’t be gone in a flash because this item will remain free so feel free to share the link with any colleagues that you feel could benefit from it.

The free download includes several versions of the cover title and name/number labels as well as a paper you may want to slip inside when you first send it home OR attach to the inside pocket as a reminder to the families.

For more tips and ideas on organizing and managing your classroom please check out my Clutter-Free Guide. This post is part of: 

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