Monster Mega 3-Ring Binder:
Pouches. Pockets. Expandable compartments. Room for everything but the bulkiest project. Monster binders are good choices for kids who are hyper-organized, who need to be more organized than they are, or who have anxiety about leaving things in their lockers. Selections like the Five Star® XPANZ® Zipper Binder (pictured at right) keep a day's worth of folders, notes, planners, reading books and lunch money close at hand. If big binder and books are too much of an armful, move on to ...
Monster Mega 3-Ring Binder with Handle:
Many monster binders have handles on the spine or shoulder straps that can be clipped to them -- entirely appropriate, since they're as much a briefcase as a notebook. For kids who like or need to have everything they might possibly have use for on their person at all times, this may be a good way to balance the load, and while the school may not allow backpacks in classrooms, no one will blink at these. However, if having that much stuff just distracts and confuses your child, move on to ...
Thin Single-Subject 3-Ring Binder or Notebook:
In a variety of colors and textures, slender binders or spiral-bound notebooks keep things simple and focused, which may be helpful for kids for whom a larger binder with its tabs and clutter would be overwhelming. Try color-coding notebooks with folders so it's easy for your child to know which pair to grab from a locker or under a desk. If this involves too many individual pieces for your child to keep track of, move on to ...
Basic 3-Ring Binder:
A basic binder with no tricks up its sleeve keeps things organized without a lot of noise. It also has the advantage of being inexpensive, so if your child is hard on school supplies and busts up binders by mashing them in lockers or under desks, it won't be a strain to replace and replace. If you're looking for a little more organizational assistance than that, move on to ...
Basic 3-Ring Binder with Presentation Window:
Only slightly more expensive than a basic 3-ring binder is the same thing with a presentation window on the front -- a clear plastic sheet behind which you can slip a piece of paper for constant viewing. They're intended to make business presentations a little snappier, but you can use it to display your child's schedule, important notes for the day, information that needs to be studied, or photos of family or classmates. If your child's clamoring for something cooler, move on to ...
Whatever's Trendy This School Year:
Every year, there's something that all the cool kids have and can't I have one please please please please please. Fitting in is important for kids with special needs, and if the binder du jour is within your budget and practical for your child, go for it. If not, make your child earn it -- by getting good grades, by doing homework, by keeping an appropriate standard of behavior. Maybe you'll be lucky and they'll lose interest before getting the goods, but start the year off strong anyway.
Found the Perfect 3-Ring Binder? Now Organize It!:
Whichever 3-ring binder you choose, work with your child to make it the most useful tool it can be. Stock up on these supplies for maximum binder efficiency:
- Dividers: Add a tabbed divider for each subject. Dividers with pockets may reduce the need for folders, cutting the clutter and the carrying load.
- Notebook paper: All lined paper is not created equal. Some lines are farther apart than others, and some pages are a little thicker. If your child has trouble with writing neatly, seek out the widest lines and heaviest stock you can find.
- Reinforcers: Stick-on pieces that make the holes in notebook paper less likely to rip are mandatory equipment for preventing lost pages and messy notebooks.
- Sheet protectors: Put important information -- school schedule, rules for each class, list of assignment due dates -- in sheet protectors at the front of the binder or of the section for the class in question, so that your child, and you, can reference them easily.
- Pencil pouch: If your child isn't using a monster binder, add a pencil pouch to hold lunch money, important small items, and, well, pencils. Tuck a nametag in there, too, in case the binder gets misplaced, or write your child's name in permanent ink somewhere else on the binder.
Like your child's backpack,
your child's notebook will benefit from frequent monitoring. Check through every afternoon to see what new pages have been added and discuss them with your child. Make sure the rings fully close, the pages are staying in, and the whole thing isn't falling apart. And if you want to slip a little encouraging note into one of those pouches or packets or pockets, who's to stop you?
More ways to make this the best school year ever