I love file folder activities as much as a back to school teacher loves a vent starbucks coffee. We use file folder activities for everything from independent work, teaching social skills, direct instruction, and academic teaching. We are kind of obsessed. But anything that you have that many of needs a good organization system. It doesn’t matter if you have a whole boatload of amazing resources if you can’t find them when you need them. Our classrooms are crazy busy and you need everything accessible at the second you need it. If not, that sneaky kiddo will be halfway down the hallway before you can say “hold your horses.”
I revamped my file folder organization last year and after some time giving it a real life go around – I am still obsessed with this system. This system is so easy and most importantly everyone in my room (ie. paraprofessionals and substitutes) can maintain this system as well. You can’t do it alone so make sure your system makes sense to other people!
1. Get your file folder activities into groups based on type of activity
I grouped mine by matching, match picture to word, nonidentical matching, basic categorizing, advanced categorizing, sort by size & color, literacy, math, and sequencing/social skills. I decided to store mine in crates (because I can steal them from the cafeteria) that I put on the side so I can easily see the names on the tab of each file folder. I zip tied 9 crates together to make a shelf type thing it worked perfectly!
2. Choose a color for each type of activity.
I bought these little colored stickers from amazon for less than five dollars. Label each group with the colored stickers and label each file folder activity with that color.
3. Make a cheat sheet.
Make a file folder guide to show which type of tasks each kid should be working on. We don’t want anyone working on things that are way too easy or way too hard. Download template here: file folder guide
4. Share the system with your staff.
This takes little more than a few minute quick explanation. File folders have colored labels. Bins have colored labels. Match the colors. Viola. Perfection. We all now know where everything goes and I can find everything so much quicker!
Also check out my YouTube Video of how I organize other resources here: