I adore file folders in the special education setting. To me, they are easy to prep and easy to set-up for the day and quickly reset at the end of the day.
Throughout the years, I have taught in several different special education classroom settings. The ability levels and level of independence ranged with each setting, but I used file folder tasks with ALL of my students.
Basic Skill File Folders
For students working on foundational learning skills or basic skills, I would use errorless file folders or basic skill file folders (that focused on matching, colors, shapes, etc). Click here to see my Basic Skills File Folders.
Reading & Math File Folders
Once students were able to work on more academic skills, I would start pulling math and reading file folders for them to work on during reading and math centers with me or a TA until the skills were mastered and could be moved to their independent work stations. I pull folders from the following file folder sets:
Tips on Prepping File Folders
I have a whole blog post on this, but I figured it was worth mentioning again in this post just incase you missed it. Of course, everyone has their own technique for prepping classroom tasks. I once worked in a school without a laminator, so I ended up purchasing materials for home to prep them and I just kept prepping them at home!
I get asked a lot about how I store my pieces. I have used library card holders when I had them on hand. My favorite way to store the pieces is in snack size plastic baggies and then I add a velcro dot to the bag to keep it secure inside the folder.
Organizing File Folders
One popular question I receive is how I organize all of my tasks throughout the year. I am a container LOVER, so you know I love organizing all of my file folders!
Storing File Folders in Seasonal Bins
I store all of our seasonal file folders in large file bins with the rest of the seasonal books, clothespin tasks, and art activities. This way, when a new month is approaching, I can just pull the bin down and switch out seasonal materials efficiently. You can grab the FREE monthly labels here!
Storing File Folders in Labeled Book Bins
For any non-seasonal file folders I used year round, I have always loved using book bins. This makes organizing the skills easy and makes setting up work stations a breeze. At the end of the school day, we reset the folders and put them back in their bins. The book bins shown are from Really Good Stuff, but I found these colorful ones on Amazon Prime that would well too.
Storing File Folders in File Bins
For folders I wanted to keep closer to me for teacher time, I always loved using these desktop file boxes. For reading and math rotations, I would use file folders at teacher time while my students were learning the skill, and then they would see them again in their independent work stations after they mastered the skill. This routine was great to ensure they maintained the skill after they learned it with me!
Organizing File Folders for Student’s Independent Work Stations
Here are a few pictures of how I organize daily independent work for our students. I love this pocket chart to pull folders for students a day or two a head of time so I could be prepared for a sub or if I need to pull more tasks in a pinch. I had the students names on labels, along with a summary of their IEP goals as a reminder on tasks had to work and we needed to collect data on on per their IEP goals. This was SUPER helpful for my TA’s!
With this classroom, I didn’t have students that were easily distracted by their surroundings or tried to escape working, so the set up pictured below was perfect for them.
In another classroom with older students, I had file folders pulled in these book bins that the students just pulled from while at the independent work table.
During rotations, the students just pull down their color, complete the tasks, and put them back in the bin and back on the shelf when they are finished. At the end of the day, or whenever I have time throughout the day, I checked their folders, took the data I needed, and reset the station for the next day.
If you are interested in reading about I set up my structured work stations to foster independence, click here.
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