Organizing Course Materials

You may want to file this one under “The Obvious,” but this was a revelation for me: After many years of piles collecting and covering every flat surface in my surroundings, I’ve finally settled on a way to keep my course materials, lesson plans, and grading all in one place.

This is my table-top filing system that contains everything relevant to one course. Because the mesh container has handles and is relatively small, it can easly move in and out of a closet or armoire or off of a shelf. In it, I’ve used hanging file folders to hold regular tabbed folders – one for each until of the course. In the front are the books I’ll use for supplementary class exercises, as well as copies of the course textbook, workbook, and instructor’s manual.

Within each folder I have an outline of the daily lesson plans and the necessary course materials for that unit (supplementary grammar exercises, in-class activities, literary examples, etc.) In the back is my trusty clipboard, which I use to grade in the train on my commute.

I’ve set up just an ordinary Moleskine notebook to organize the grading and keep it close to the clipboard.

As students turn in their compositions and I grade them, I may add a folder to hold their work as well.

Simply having one place to hold everything for a course keeps the various materials at my fingertips and in a broader sense keeps me focused on what we’ve covered and where we are going. Let’s hope the system holds up as the semester continues!

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