Do you have a classroom binding machine? I love my binding machine as it helps to keep papers organized, create books and bundles for students that last, and generally makes my life easier.
I don’t have anything too fancy but it definitely helps to create well-organized documents that are easy to store and use.
There are a few different types of binding machines. Some that I have seen include plastic comb binders, wire binders, slide binders, thermal binding and binding rings.
When you’re considering purchasing your first binding machine it can be a bit confusing. So which type is best for your needs?
Which binding machine should you use?
I find the plastic comb binding the most common type of binding, it’s usually easy to do and cheap. However, I find this binding doesn’t produce a document that is as professional looking or as durable as other types of binding.
I personally prefer the wire binding. It’s quite similar to the plastic comb binding, but it does give a more professional finish and the wire is sturdier than the plastic comb binding. Once bound the pages will lay flat as well as being able to flip the pages over to just view one-half of the document.
Here are some of the different types of binding machines available on Amazon.
Now that you’ve picked your binding machine, what can you do with it?
1. Create your own teacher planner
So you’ve seen all of those beautiful planners out there and wondered how they got them looking so good. This is where your binding machine comes in.
If you’ve created your own teacher planner, or if you’ve purchased an electronic planner, now you need a way to keep it all together. This is the perfect time to use your own binding machine.
After you’ve printed your planner, work out the color you want for your back cover, add a clear plastic front cover for extra durability and then bind it all together.
2. Develop a classroom handbook or lesson plans
I’m sure if you’re like me you have so many different bits of paper floating around on your desk. From your lesson plans to your classroom management policy and even papers for the substitute teacher.
Now is the time to pop all of these bits of loose paper together in one handy document. You can create a substitute book that includes your timetable, policies, lessons, worksheets and any other information that the substitute would need to know about your class and school.
Alternatively, bind your lesson plans together so that they’re easy for you to find and refer to. You could include a copy of all of your lessons for the week, month or term; worksheets that accompany the lessons; and assessment recording sheets.
3. Make student logs for reading, interventions, specialist work
Do you create journals, books, and logs for your students to document and track specific information?
You can use your binding machine to keep these together so that they’re not only easy to store, but also it makes it easy for your kids to find the exact information that they’re looking for.
Some ideas include binding home reading logs, math/writing journals, intervention logs, spelling books, class meeting book and behavior management logs.
4. Set up your own workbooks by binding different worksheets together
I love binding all of the worksheets and activities that I create into one handy document. This saves me so much time if I just want to copy a sheet and not have to hunt around for it on my computer.
I have similar types of workbooks stacked together in book boxes so it’s easy for me to find what I’m looking for, grab it and then copy.
5. Publish student writing
This is such a handy thing to do for your students. They’ve been working hard on a unit of work and have produced a final piece of writing. Rather than just stick these sheets in scrapbooks to be forgotten, publish them into a class book by binding them all together.
Then you can have the book on display in your class library for kids to read during the day. The books that I have published over the years have been some of the most popular ones in our library.
Tips and tricks for using your binding machine
Now that you know how to use your binding machine here are a few tricks I’ve picked up over the years to get the best out of my binding machine.
- Remember to have a range of binding machine accessories. At different times you will want to bind different sized documents, so you will need to have various sized wires for the correct number of pages.
- I also like to have a range of covers for my binder. I generally use the clear plastic cover to sit on the front page and then a sturdy cardboard backing sheet that is generally black or white.
- Remember to change the dial on the binder to suit the size document you are binding. You will also need to change this for when you are punching the holes.
- Place the plastic front cover on top of the first page in the book and the cardboard backing sheet on top of that for punching and binding. Then, once it is bound, you can flip the back cover around to the back.
- Have fun, you’ll probably be addicted at first and turn everything you can get your hands on into a bound book!
I’d love to hear from you. In your classroom, what tool do you find indispensable? Share your ideas in the comments below.
Some of the items that have been my favorite to bind include:
Phonics Cootie Catchers – easy to grab and copy the cootie catchers to suit the different needs of your students.
Phonics Games – these fun games help your students revise words in a fun way. They’re also great if you need a quick fill in activity.
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