Take Home Folders: Part 1

Take Home Folders/Homework Folders... Let's talk about how to set up, label, organize, and manage Take Home Folders
Tips and Tricks for getting your Take Home Folders set up, labeled, organized, and prepared for Back to School
Getting my folders set up is always a huge priority during summer break. I NEVER wait for students to bring their supplies to school on Meet the Teacher night because I want to have my folders set up and ready to go for the first week of school. 
I also want all students to have THE SAME FOLDER. I always choose green for my Take Home Folders because green means go.  These are the only folders that go home.  All the other folders stay at school. 
If you start shopping the Back to School sales in July, you can get a class set of folders for a couple bucks. In fact, do yourself a favor, and buy about 10-15 extra folders because undoubtedly you will get a few new students during the year or some folders will be lost or damaged. 
Some years I've bought the cheap folders (without the prongs) and laminated them.  I used an X-Acto knife to slice open the pocket openings. This worked fine, but I would usually replace the entire class set around Christmas. Other years, I've found awesome deals on the poly/plastic/vinyl thick, sturdy folders. Those really hold up a lot better in my opinion. Maybe your principal will even splurge and buy a class set of nice folders for you?!?! ::Fingers crossed::
Once you've found a class set of awesome folders, it's time to get them labeled. I put the kiddos name (and number) on the front of the folder. If you don't have your class list yet, just skip this step.
Behavior log for students' take home folder
On the inside of the folder, I put two sticker labels. The left side says “Keep at Home” and the right pocket says “Return to School.” Print these on 2x4 inch standard shipping labels.
Label student folders with Keep at Home and Return to School stickers to manage papers going from school to home!
Keep at Home Labels and Return to School labels for Take Home Folders
On the back of the folder, I have a label with my name and room number on it incase another teacher or student finds it in the hallway or on the bus. I also put my e-mail or phone number. This part is totally optional, but I figure it doesn’t hurt to have it on there. 
Label Weekly Folders
As I mentioned before, some years I've bought the folders with the prongs so I could use a sheet protector to hold the students' reading log and behavior chart. Other years, I didn't buy the pronged folders and just slid these papers inside.  :)  
Use a sheet protector inside of students' Take Home Folders to keep behavior log and reading log from getting lost in the shuffle
Insert behavior chart and reading log inside the sheet protector so it doesn't get lost in the shuffle.
Weekly behavior log for student folder. Great way to communicate with parents.
Here is an example of the reading log and behavior log to communicate with parents. 
Printable daily reading log to use in students' take home folders
Printable behavior chart for students' take home folders
Even if you don't use a color chart in your classroom, this behavior log could still work for you. Simply jot down a quick note about the child's day:
"Great effort today!" 
"Don't forget to raise your hand before talking out."
"Had some trouble in the cafeteria but otherwise AWESOME day."
"Thanks for being a leader today!"
Realistically, a teacher doesn't have time to write a personalized note to 25 students every day. That's when STICKERS come to the rescue. I can pass out a sticker to every student who earned one in less than 60 seconds. I don't want anything super time consuming, but I do like a way to keep in touch with parents. I think it also holds kiddos accountable for their day. #oldschool With that being said, if there has been a bigger issue at school, I would definitely call or e-mail the parents to touch base.
To learn more about the 5-Step System I use for Take Home Folders, check out Part 2 of this series. Please also check out my Take Home Folder VIDEO to get more ideas and details on setting up, organizing, and managing folders in the primary classroom. 


  1. I really love how you set up your folders! Thanks for the great ideas.
    Where did you get those amazing green folders??

  2. How do you get your labels to stay on? I've tried them on poly folders and they seem to fall off.

  3. Courtney-
    I've found the smooth plastic folders work the best! The ones that have a lot of texture stick, but the ends can peel up. Also, make sure you buy the GOOD labels! :) Hope that helps!

  4. Is this ediatable enough to change to spanish? It's so unfortunate there aren't any spanish resources and I don't have time to create any......

  5. I have something very similar, however, this hits it right out the park! "GO" Ms. Liz!

  6. Love this idea!! I will hopefully start teaching in September. I have already put this in my TPT cart to buy once I'm hired. Thank you!

  7. I did the same for my 1st graders one year, but mine said, "to be LEFT at home," "to be sent RIGHT back." They were placed on the LEFT and RIGHT sides of the folder.