Setting Up Student Math Binders

With school starting in just one month (YIKES!) it’s time to start planning and preparing for the year ahead. Last year I wrote about how I was planning to organize student notebooks with divider tabs. That was a WONDERFUL addition to our notebooks! I loved having them for multiple reasons – it kept the books more organized, helped students find their page faster, told students EXACTLY what lessons they needed to have in their notebooks to get full credit for their notes, and made grading notebooks a breeze. This year, however, I will be switching to binders so I am planning to make some changes.

Why am I switching?
I have used binders in the past but switched to 3-subject notebooks years ago because the binders seemed too bulky. I have loved using the 3-subject notebooks because they worked perfectly for my needs. However, my school is switching to a new textbook series this year that doesn’t come with a workbook. In the past, I have typically assigned workbook pages as homework most nights. This year I will need to give worksheets as homework assignments since I won’t have workbooks, so I thought binders would be better given the increased number of handouts students will have this year.

How am I setting up the binders?
Each student will have a ½ inch binder with 2 dividers (to split the binder into 3 sections). The front section will be for notes, the second section will be for classwork, and the third will be for homework. My plan is to run off all of the homework assignments for a unit at the beginning of the unit this year and give them to students in a packet, to put in the homework section. The classwork section is just for looseleaf/graph paper for students to write out work on or classwork worksheets. The front notes section is where they will actually take their notes each day. Their notes will mainly be a combination of basic notes taken on looseleaf paper and fill-in guided notes that I have created. I am not a big fan of notes that require a lot of folding, cutting, and pasting.

Am I still doing the divider tabs that I loved so much last year?
YES! But, I’m doing them differently with the binders this year. I figured there was no sense in having students glue the notebook dividers onto paper this year since you can put whatever paper you want into binders thanks to their 3 rings. So, I am in the process of remaking my dividers for binders. I can’t just use a regular piece of paper as a divider because it isn’t big enough to stick out the side as a tab, so I turned the paper sideways and cut it down to 9 inches wide to make my new binder dividers. It only spans across 2 of the rings in the binder, but that should be enough. Here are some pictures of my new divider tabs. I am alternating using the top 2 rings and the bottom 2 rings so that the tabs are staggered.


I think that these will work out well. I also like that there is absolutely NO cutting & gluing required for students. I will copy the dividers, cut off the excess from the side with a paper cutter (which will leave me with lots of little pieces of bookmark-sized scrap paper, which I will definitely use), and hole punch them. Then all the students need to do is stick them in their binders – easy peasy!

To keep the binders neat, my plan is to have students empty out their classwork & homework sections after each unit so that they do not accumulate too much junk. I am excited to see how these work out this year.


The divider tabs pictured are for my first and second units in 7th grade. If you are curious as to how I structure my year, you can check out my scope & sequences in this blog post. I will likely make a few changes to it this year, but overall I was pretty happy my sequencing last year. If you are looking for ideas & resources for these first couple of units, you may want to check out the following:

UNIT 1: Number Sense
Blog Posts:
Improving Number Sense with the Divisibility Rules
Teaching GCF & LCM Using the Cake Method
Using the Cake Method to find the GCF & LCM of 3 Numbers
Number Theory Bundle (covers divisibility, prime factorization, gcf & lcm)
Squares & Square Roots Paperless BINGO Game

UNIT 2: Integers
Blog Posts:
Teaching Integer Addition
Teaching Integer Subtraction
Teaching Integer Multiplication & Division
Integer Bundle (includes a TON of resources on integer operations – worksheets, games, task cards, unit test – each can be purchased separately, as well)
FREE Paperless Integer Addition BINGO Game


Would you like to make your own binder divider tabs? Click the picture below for a FREE editable PowerPoint template you can use. If you are using notebooks instead, you can find the free notebook divider tabs template I used last year in this post.



** PS: I just started a brand new Facebook page.  I will be sharing ideas, lessons, freebies, resources and more so be sure to follow me there!   **


Thanks for reading,

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