Engaging students isn’t as easy as it used to be. With so many media and communication options, and such constant stimulation (some might say overstimulation) getting one single message across can be incredibly difficult. We’ve found that our folders are a pretty effective way of engaging students in a creative, yet surprisingly practical, way.
Folders reach students on a few different levels
Quick, complete imagery
Nothing penetrates understanding as quickly and succinctly as a direct, well-designed image. Graphic design is about more than just color, shape, and layout looking good. It’s about what these things convey. The instant you see the green triangle of three arrows, you’re reminded of recycling rather than disposing, re-using things, and keeping the environment in mind. It’s instant! Our school folders work the same way. Even if a student doesn’t sit down and reflect on what they’re seeing, they’re being reminded every time their eyes cross over the folder. There’s no better way to help reinforce an idea than with a daily visual reminder.
Reinforcing lessons from elsewhere
Since we’re on the topic of how folders reinforce important ideas, let’s look further. Schools and organizations can spend good money bringing in good speakers or taking the students on memorable field trips. But often, these are limited to one or two days. Folders are a practical and affordable way of continuing that lesson throughout the month, term, or year. They can serve as discussion points for classroom and group discussion of the issues they address, thus enhancing the value of school programming without racking up the cost.
Standalone conversation starters
While excellent at reinforcing programming, folders stand quite well on their own as a teaching tool. Because the possibilities of text and image are infinite, a well-planned folder can be a whole lesson in itself. Whether it’s an image of the new food pyramid, tips on how to make safe and healthy choices, or checklists for a healthy-living challenge, a folder can serve as excellent fodder for classroom discussion.
Individual and Group Benefit
We especially like that folders benefit students both on their own as well as collectively. As an individual reminder, a folder can jog a student’s memory every time she or he lays eyes on it. Yet, for classroom discussions, they serve more purpose than just the questions students ask. Discussing something as a group in the classroom can start to shift the social dynamic: peer pressure surrounding things like bullying or smoking can start to change as students discuss the issues with each other in a safe and guided environment.
Just as the text and graphics of a folder are virtually unlimited, so are the topics it can address and the ways in which it can help students learn and internalize that topic.