Do you need an effective, tried and true method to keep track of all of your students’ IEP goals, progress notes, work samples, notes, and everything else?!
Enter color coded student IEP binders.
This simple system makes it easy to keep track of independent student work, IEP goals and objectives, notes from home, and everything else in-between.
Picture this scenario… admin walks into your room at 3:20PM on a Thursday afternoon. Your contract time ends at 3:45PM… but now you have an impromptu parent meeting. The parent wants to see work samples and data on their child, who is in your class. You spend 10 minutes hustling around your classroom trying to grab student work samples, leaving the parents waiting. You walk into the meeting flustered, with an overflow of an unorganized, hot mess pile of papers.
Now picture this scenario… admin walks into your room at 3:20PM on a Thursday afternoon. Your contract time ends at 3:45PM… but now you have an impromptu parent meeting. The parent wants to see work samples and data on their child, who is in your class. You grab the student’s color coded IEP binder (because everything is already in it) and head to the meeting with everything in hand, organized and ready to share.
So which teacher do you want to be?
There are a couple of supplies you’ll need to get started:
- 3-ring binders
- You can absolutely use black or white binders, with colored Astrobrights paper for the covers and spines.
- Or you can use colored binders, with white paper for the covers and spines.
- You can find colorful binders on Amazon, Walmart, Target, Staples, Office Depot/Max. I grab extra colored binders at the beginning of the school year.
- Clear sheet protectors
- Editable Color Coded Student IEP Binders download
Let’s take a look inside of my student IEP binder (on myself… ’cause, ya know #confidentiality).
When it comes to covers for students, I try to choose a clip art boy or girl that best matches and looks like the student.
Then we get into the different IEP binder sections.
First comes the student’s goals and objectives. To answer your question, yes, all of my student’s information is available on the computer in our IEP system. Do I trust it? No… that’s why I print a hard copy for myself. I never have to worry about the IEP system not working, my computer not turning on, power going out… I don’t have to rely on technology.
And it has always worked out in my favor… having a hard copy of the IEP inside each student’s IEP binder.
Next are the student’s updated progress reports. And, yep, you guessed it right. I keep a hard copy of all of this information inside each student’s IEP binder… and not just because I don’t trust technology.
When I am working on student progress reports and report cards, I like to have a paper copy sitting infront of me of how the child performed last marking period. Yes, I have the progress monitoring binder rings. Yes, I have the previous marking period’s data inside the IEP system… but I like to be able to see progression on paper.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a huge paper-pencil type of person.
This has, also, really helped in those more difficult IEP meetings when a parent wants to see a previous marking period’s progress report and I have it on hand, ready to share with the team. It’s all about being prepared.
Now it’s time to keep student work samples.
For each marking period, I keep one divider page. Using the clear sheet protectors is a huge organization advantage… which I’ll share in a hot second.
INSIDER TIP – these binder divider pages are editable, so you can rename them semester, quarter… whatever you’d like.
When you flip over the marking period divider, you can see all of the work samples for that marking period.
I store the work samples inside of the clear sheet protectors. I don’t hole punch the work samples and put them on the 3-ring binders… it becomes bulky and harder to flip through the student IEP binder easily.
The key to making the student IEP binders easy-grab-and-go is usability. Utilize the sheet protectors and use multiples if needed for each month. Or put some matching colored-folders inside (hole punched) and store work samples in there.
How do you determine what work samples to keep?
I wish I could tell you that I have a set “policy” or “procedure” for determining if I am going to keep a child’s work sample or not. But I don’t.
Throughout the week, any work we complete in class that has not already been sent home is placed in a bin behind the back table (where we complete all of our whole group and small group work). On Friday afternoons after the students are on the bus, I sort through the work samples and decide what to keep and what to send home on Monday.
If the work directly relates to an IEP goal or objective, odds are I will keep it.
If the work was a data outlier… either a really low score or a really high score, odds are I will keep it.
If the work shows mastery of a skill, odds are I will keep it.
If it’s a new IEP and we need data points for progress monitoring, odds are I will keep it.
You know your students best. Keep the work that is going to best show their progress, or lack of progress, on their IEP goals and objectives.
The last section of the student IEP binder is where I keep notes from home. Or any notes from outside service providers.
And that’s it. 🙂
With the editable binder divider pages, you can easily add more sections to your student IEP binders than what I put inside of our binders. It’s all about making it work for you and streamlining the organizational process so you can keep everything in one place.
When and how do you change out the student IEP binders?
At the end of each school year, I clean out the student IEP binders. Any work samples I have collected are put into file folders. If the student will be in my classroom next year, I keep the work samples. If the student is moving up or to a new school, I send the work samples with the child’s file to the new school.
If a child returns to my classroom the following year, they will continue to have the same color in the classroom each year. You can learn more about my color coded classroom in this blog post.