Organization is a huge component of teaching, especially in the lower grade classrooms. Children need a specific place for everything to go. It is also beneficial for teachers to have a special location for all paperwork. To aid in organization, my school’s primary grades use B.E.A.R. books.
B.E.A.R. (Bring Everything, Always Ready) books are used in many schools. Some classes in my school do not use the acronym B.E.A.R. but have created their own. In the past, we made kindergarten B.E.A.R. books by using three ring binders and adding pocket folders in the middle. This year, we were lucky. We found a set of plastic folders that were already spiral bound. We were also lucky that these books only cost $1.00 each. I think the teachers in my school bought from every location of the store that carried these folders. We even had some brought in from the warehouse.
After buying the books, we begin to place labels throughout the book. The front has a label with the child’s name. The inside folders each have one of the following labels: money, homework, teacher notes, school notes, completed work. My labels also have a picture so that the students can easily identify the correct folder.
The folders are our main communication between school and home. The teachers do not check backpacks for notes or money. The folders are checked daily and sent home each night.
I think that they are a wonderful way for both parents and teachers to stay connected with the child’s education. If there are any primary classrooms that are not using an organizational tool such as this one, I strongly suggest that they develop one. Parents tend to be more involved when they do not have to dig through the child’s backpack for homework papers and notes. Since using the folder, we have had many more parents respond to notes. The B.E.A.R. books also place more responsibility and independence on students because they can place the papers in the correct folders themselves.