Organizing Social Studies Binders

A few weeks ago, I shared the binder covers I created on Monday Made It!  Click here for that post if you wanted to see the others I created.  I am going to link up with Optimum Organization to share this idea!

A big goal of mine this summer is to study my Social Studies standards.  As you know, I'm moving from 4th to 5th grade so I have all new standards to learn and new materials to gather!  I decided to use four binders for Social Studies: 

1) Reconstruction, Westward Expansion, and the United States as a World Power 
2) World War I, Roaring 20's, The Great Depression
3) World War II, Cold War
4) Collapse of Soviet Union - The U.S. Today
The teacher who left gave me lots of papers that she used during the time she taught so my main goal was to get those papers organized once my binders were set up.  To start with, I used orange paper and typed up the overall theme/topic, along with a short version of the standards.  Next, I place the actual state standard so that I would have easy access to it.  After the orange paper and the standards, I placed any materials I have for that topic.  I repeated this several times in each binder, as I have several topics in each.  The orange paper makes it easy to separate topics in the binder, as you can see below.

If you're like me, you need a visual so I took pictures of the binder I'll use first.  We start with Reconstruction so on the orange paper, I typed the topic and a short version of the standards, followed by the actual standards on the next page.  Behind that is everything I have on Reconstruction: papers, tests, website lists, etc.
Right after Reconstruction in that same binder, I have another orange sheet for the next topic, Westward Expansion, with a short version of the standards and then the actual standards so I can see them quickly and easily.  After that, I have anything relating to Westward Expansion.
Again, in the same binder after Westward Expansion, I have the last orange sheet, United States as a World Power.  Same thing: topics under that standard, the actual standards, and then everything I have on that topic. 
I made orange sheets, followed by the standards and the materials I have for each binder.  I still have a lot to add to the binders as far as curriculum resources, but I am happy that my binders are set up and organized!  I debated using file folders for each specific standard, but binder organization has worked well for me.  I love my binders, so I am continuing that method of organization!  

Now, time to start brushing up on the history and finding more materials to add to my binders!


  1. I am in the middle of organizing my Science and Social Studies binders right now myself. Good luck! Your binders look great.

    ~April Walker
    The Idea Backpack
    Balancing the Backpack

  2. Wow, it is all so organized. I'm a teensy itsy bitsy jealous. I guess I better get my own organization on. :)

    The Teaching Thief

  3. I am SO JEALOUS! and a little sad that you are moving since now we don't teach the same social studies :( Even though I teach fifth, here in Michigan, 5th grade is Early American history like you taught before. I will still be a snoop I'm sure ;) Good luck on your new grade! I LOVE fifth grade!
    I can't believe you have so much organizing done already ... I still have my non-school mind on... we just finished two weeks of curriculum work so it's finally summer for me! The brain isn't quite ready to get back into that mindset yet! ha!

  4. Love it! I created digital folders, rather than binders. I have a sheet similar to yours listing all the same things, saved so that I could organize my thoughts when I first found out I would be teaching SS. :) We will really have to keep each other in mind as we muddle through these standards.
    Creating Lifelong Learners

  5. What a great idea for organized binders:) thanks for sharing
    Leading and Reading

  6. I'm also binderizing this summer! Love this organization linky!

    Success in Second Grade

  7. Wow! That is a ton of work. And, oh so organized :) Thanks so much for linking up with us :)

    Fun in Room 4B

  8. Great idea for binders! I just found out I'm moving from 2nd to 5th (ELA and SS only...) :)

    The Sweetest Thing


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