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Adapted Work Binder® Q&A

Adapted Work Binders® are one of the most beneficial ways to not only supplement your current curriculum, but introduce and teach grade level concepts on the ability level of your student.

Teachers all over the world have been implementing this strategy and have seen massive gains in student success.

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Adapted Work Binders® (AWBs) are functional for any classroom or curriculum, are easy to differentiate, and provide the learner with grade level content in a way that the child learns best.

But starting out can be overwhelming, time consuming, and honestly… really, really EXCITING!!

So today I am going to answer the questions that I receive the most about AWBs – what they are, how to use them, what supplies you need, and all of your other burning questions.

When it comes to figuring out which Adapted Work Binder® (AWB) is best for your child or student, there are 3 factors to consider:
1- Child’s current age
2- Child’s ability level
3- What subject(s) do you want to practice?

The easiest way to determine which AWB is right for your child, is to take this quick 3 question quiz. It will help you determine which binder to start with or prep next.

Now that you know which binder to start with, you need to know what supplies you need to get started.

You can typically find thermal laminators for less than $20 at WalMart or Target. I know that craft stores often have them too, and you can use a coupon on them. They’re super inexpensive!

If you are a teacher and need to order more Velcro in bulk, I suggest ordering from FeinerSupply. Just keep in mind that the hook Velcro and the loop Velcro come separately, so make sure to order both types of dots.

HOW MUCH VELCRO DO I NEED?

This is a really hard question for me to answer because it is so dependent on what workpages you start with.

You can, however, bank on having 500- dots of each (hook and loop) and at least 25 feet of the loop strip velcro. That’s a great place to start.

DO I PRINT THE ENTIRE BINDER?

No. Please do not ever print an entire binder to start. I mean, you can… but I don’t recommend it. Not only is that A LOT to print, but that’s A LOT of prep work.

I always suggest starting with 20-25 workpages, and then adding more as the child progresses through and masters those skills. Not only does this cut down on your initial prep time, but the child isn’t going to be overwhelmed in the beginning with a huge work binder.

HOW DO I KNOW WHAT TO PRINT AND PREP?

Start with 10-15 workpages, and then add more skills as the child masters and progress through the first set of workpages you put in the AWB. 

When it comes to how to prep and put an AWB together, these 2 videos will help. Video 1 | Video 2

The greatest thing about Adapted Work Binders® is that the implementation is completely up to you.

You can use it to supplement your current curriculum, use it to fill in the gaps in your curriculum, or use it as your curriculum. Because many of the binders are standards-based and differentiation is provided for each skill, you’re covered.

HOW DO YOU USE AWBs IN YOUR CLASSROOM?

We start every morning with parts of the Morning AWB®: personal pages (name, address, phone number, etc.) and all of the calendar pages (days of the week, months, weather, etc.). Each student has their own binder. So if I have 12 students, there are 12 Morning binders.

WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER BINDERS?

For the academic binders (ELA, Math, Science, Social Studies), I will create one classroom binder for each ability level in my classroom. For your classroom, it might look something like this:

  • 1 lower level binder (“I can identify…” and maybe a little matching; depending on your class, this might also include “I can trace…”)
  • 1 intermediate level binder (“I can match… label… sort… determine…” and it may include “I can trace… write”)
  • 1 higher level binder (“I can determine… sort…” and any writing pages)

Again, this is just one example of what it may look like in your classroom, but it is not the only way. You make the binders work for you in your classroom.

WHERE DO YOU KEEP ALL OF THE EXTRA ANSWER PIECES?

I use a bead divider to keep all of my answer pieces sorted for the Morning AWB®. Because we change out the month on a, well, monthly basis… each student of mine has their own bead divider. While this may not be feasible for everyone, it is something that works for me.

You can see more storage hacks in the video at the end of this post.

HOW DO YOU GET ALL OF THE BINDERS RE-SET FOR THE NEXT USE?

I teach students to do this, and it’s a skill we work on from day 1, especially in our Morning binders.

After a student finishes his binder, I will teach the child to flip back to the beginning of the binder (or the first page he worked on), and then move all of the pieces back to the baseline (the line of Velcro at the bottom or side of each workpage).

In the beginning of teaching students this management skill, I will go through and check the binders after to make sure they have been “put back”.

From experience, and for the most part, the kids put the pieces back in no specific order. But if I have a child that puts them back in order, I will either teach this child to mix up the pieces or I will mix up the pieces at the end of the day.

HOW DO YOU KEEP THE BINDERS CLEAN?

For workpages that students can write on, we use dry erase markers. I’ve found that black, purple, and green don’t stain the pages as much as the other colors.

To clean the marker off of the pages, I use Mr. Clean Magic Erasers to clean them. I will cut one Magic Eraser in half to save on costs.

Again, as with the baseline of answer pieces, I teach students to clean their workpages when they complete them.

HOW OFTEN DO YOU UPDATE A BINDER?

For the Morning binder, it is updated monthly to reflect the month (since we work on spelling the month).

If I have created a student specific binder with workpages the child is struggling with or has IEP goals on, I will update the binder when the child has mastered a skill or multiple skills within the binder. It’s kind of like a work bin or IEP bin for children, but in binder form and has everything ready to go.

HOW OFTEN DO YOU CHANGE OUT WORKPAGES AND ACTIVITIES?

Once an activity has been added to the binder, it doesn’t get removed. But that doesn’t mean the child works on that skill every day or every time they are working within a specific binder.

But it’s completely up to you. You make the binders work for YOU.

“I DON’T HAVE TIME TO CHANGE OUT SKILLS. WILL THIS STILL WORK FOR ME?”

For my classroom, the only student specific binders are the Morning binders. So I have one full set of the Math AWBs® on my shelf, as well as the ELA and Science and Social Studies binders.

When I want a child to work on a skill within a binder, I will take certain pages out of a binder and have the child work on those skills. You can easily do this by putting them into an empty 3-ring binder, or by just having them complete the workpages wherever they’re working.

I did a Facebook Live a few weeks ago about great storage hacks for your AWBs®. You can find it here, or watch below.

What questions do you still have about Adapted Work Binders®?

Leave a comment below and I’d be happy to answer!


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I'm a special education teacher, presenter, curriculum writer, and educational blogger behind Mrs. D's Corner.
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