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Classroom Management Hack: Ketchup, Mustard, & Pickles Folders

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Show Notes:

This week’s hack is called Ketchup, Mustard, and Pickles Folders (or bins) and here’s how it works: 

First, set up three separate folders or bins inside your classroom in three different colors.

The red bin or folder is labeled ketchup and this is for catch up work that students need to catch up on.

The yellow folder or bin is labeled mustard, and this is for work that the students must do.

The third bin or folder is green and it's labeled pickles. Pickles is for when everything is done and you get to pick a fun activity to keep you busy.

When I first shared this hack I got a little bit of pushback about students who may not have English as their first language and how confusing these folders or bins might be for them. That makes sense to me. I taught in Hong Kong and in Japan and I could see this hack being a little confusing for those students. 

However, part of learning a language and experiencing a new culture is also learning about the nuances, jokes, and sense of humor in each language and culture. So, just make sure you take a little extra time to explain this hack to your second language students so there isn’t any confusion. 

I think this hack is a super cute and fun way to keep work organized and to keep track of which work needs to get completed inside your classroom! If you’ve tried this hack in your classroom, I’d love to see a picture of it in action. Share your pictures and tag me on Instagram @beginningteachertalk or post inside our Beginning Teacher Talk private Facebook group.

Templates for this hack are now available inside Dr. Lori's Dollar Store! Just click the picture below to grab them for only $1.00. 😊

Lastly, if you need help with streamlining your classroom management right away, you also might want to check out my Chaos to Confidence Classroom Management System. Classroom management isn’t just about tips and tricks or the latest trend. Instead, it’s about learning from someone who’s been where you are and figured it out.

I've tested all my methods on MYSELF in my own classroom for over 10 years, because trust me, I’m not about to recommend ANYTHING that I haven’t personally seen work with kids firsthand. It's never too late to make the changes you need to in order to get your classroom running the way that you want it to. I'll show you how to do just that inside Chaos to Confidence and give you the resources you’ll need to make it happen.

Related Links & resources:

I hope this information is helpful as you prepare for your first, second, or third year of teaching. Until next time, remember, just because you're a beginning elementary teacher, there's no need for you to struggle like one.

πŸ’› Lori

Dr. Lori Friesen | Beginning Teacher Mentor

Creator of the R.E.A.D.Y. for School Academy, Dr. Lori Friesen has mentored thousands of beginning teachers across the country through her workshops and courses. Host of the popular podcast, Beginning Teacher Talk, and creator of the innovative literacy program for 1st and 2nd grade, Dogs Help Kids Read and Succeed, Dr. Lori is dedicated to serving educators and inspiring learners. Learn more at and at

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