Getting Organized for Instructional Coaching: Part Four of Start-Up Guide Series

Getting organized is a priority for a new instructional coach, and for a coach who's been around for a while! These tips and strategies will help you organize your materials for planning, figure out which binders you actually need, and keep your most used resources handy! #instructionalcoach #instructionalcoachingorganization
Once I took a silly personality test on Facebook.
I answered a bunch of questions about which flower appealed to me and if I could be any color, which would it be. And at the end, the test told me that I liked to make systems for things. And I thought, “Duh.”
Facebook test aren’t that revolutionary, I guess. But that one got something right. I do love systems. They’re just about the only thing that keep me afloat during the most hectic and chaotic times of the year.

If you’ve read my recent post on Six Must-Have Organizational Systems for Instructional Coaches, you know how much I love and rely on my notebook and my calendar already.

Second to these two items, my favorite system is binders. And here, to help you get organized for the beginning of the school year, I’m going to share a few of those binders with you.

Teacher Documentation Binder

I shared about this binder in my previous post, but it’s worth reposting. At any point in the year, any teacher can ask me for a copy of something they gave me six months ago.

Or my principal might ask for meeting notes from a meeting that happened a while back. I might get a district request for some information on trainings I’ve provided.

In order to stay on top of my documentation and lists, I have one binder where most of my teacher documentation goes. I organize the binder with large plastic grade level pockets, and behind each grade level pocket are dividers from each teacher in that grade level. I also have a special divider for Special Education teachers. In this binder, I keep copies of…

  • Notes from guided reading conferences and binder reviews (beginning, middle, and end of year)
  • Data from our district reading assessments, beginning, middle and end of year
  • Guided reading levels by month – as teachers turn in the new month (it’s a cumulative table with all months on there), I throw away the old one.
  • Anything else my principal gives me and asks me to hold on to for any reason!I have a roster of teacher names (just like I did in the classroom) and I mark off who’s handed me what. 
    I have a roster of teacher names (just like I did in the classroom) and I mark off who’s turned in what, so I know who to email and request from. When I’m being really organized, I write the date that the document was handed in rather than just a check mark…but I’m still working on that.
    https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Instructional-Coach-Binder-Megapack-Editable-Forms-Calendars-Planning-Tools-2065048?aref=6kcbpa6vGrade Level Planning Binders
    For each grade level, I create a planning binder. I keep them on a special planning shelf in my room. In the binder for each grade level are the following planning tools:
    • Curriculum calendar from the district
    • Curriculum guides from the district
    • State standards for the grade level
    • Questioning for each standard for the grade level
    • Previous years’ released state tests, if applicable
    • Any other planning tools acquired throughout the year
    During PLC, when teachers plan their upcoming lessons, we use these tools as a reference.
    Instructional Coaching Binder

    This is the binder where I store materials related to my responsibilities as a coach. This includes:

    • My job description from the district
    • A section for notes or responsibilities from Leadership Meetings
    • Campus testing data from previous years
    • The master calendar for the year
    • A copy of the campus schedule (PE, lunchtimes, PLC, etc.)
    • Overviews of our instructional programs (we don’t follow a purchased program; this is referring to programs we as a campus have created by pulling together pieces) 
    • A copy of each professional development agenda from the year
    RtI Binder

    Obviously, we have an RtI system that includes documentation for each student. But in order to help me stay organized, I have a very thin RtI binder that I use to help me stay on top of scheduling and following up with students. In this binder, you can find:

    • A master list of all the students who are in the RtI system
    • Copies of the schedule for each RtI session during the year with the “next steps” for the RtI committee attached. This is a one-page sheet where we record which students need a follow-up from an RtI committee member, which ones need a parent conference, and who needs further testing.
    • The guided reading level goals for each month by grade level. This helps us see if students are nearing the goal or if they are experiencing significant difficulty.

    Get organized fast with the Instructional Coaching Binder MegaPack for Coaches!

    And be sure to check out the rest of the posts in the series:


    Get some of my favorite organizational and planning tools for free in this download! Just enter your email address and you’ll get…
    •  the coaching support log
    •  the coaching cycle log
    • a classroom observation log
    • notes for teachers
    • reflecting on data bookmarks
    • a data review guide
    • a PD sign-in sheet
    • a week at a glance planner
    • the resource checkout sheet
    • and the teacher documentation spreadsheet!

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    1. Your organization is great! I will be using binders too this year. I have to consolidate the binders into K-3 and 4-6 because I'm working in 3 schools and I'll have a binder set for each school. I like how you described each type of binder. Thanks for the tips!!

    2. I am using binders to get organized this year as well! I have one for all school data and one for each grade level. This will include their standards and curriculum guides. Then a section for each teacher– meetings with them, Obs, ect. My last binder will be a PD binder, tracking what PDs I do and for what grade levels and when.

      I have my notebook for note taking and I like digital and paper calendar. So I have my
      Plum planner and my google calendar!

    3. I really love your binders! I'm always looking for fresh ideas for organization (or just confirmation that what I use works –haha).

    4. I just discovered your amazing blog Ms. Chrissy B!! I love your thoughtful ideas about coaching! Can't wait to come back and follow along! Thank you!!

    5. I'm really glad that I came across your blog. this is my first year as a reading coach and I will be working with two schools this year. Binders are so important to me, it helps me organize everything that I need. Thanks for your insight and ideas.

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