Daily Organizational Learning Portfolio and Handbook of Important Notes

bullet What is a DOLPHIN Binder?
bullet Why is it called a DOLPHIN Binder?
bullet How do you get a DOLPHIN Binder?
bullet What will I find inside a DOLPHIN Binder?
bullet Photos of Our Dolphin Binder
bullet DOLPHIN Binder Rules
bullet Create Your Own DOLPHIN Binder
bullet Download the DOLPHIN Binder Information & Resources

What is a DOLPHIN Binder?

In order to help our students with the responsibility and organization of various classroom handouts and learning resources, each student in our fourth grade class will keep a one-inch 3-ring binder called our DOLPHIN Binder. Students will use this binder everyday in class. The binder contains a binder zipper pouch and various sheet protectors filled with important handouts and learning resources. Since the binder will be mainly used during class time, students will keep their DOLPHIN Binders in the classroom at all times. If any information from the binder needs to be taken home, students will simply pull out the pages needed for home learning and place those in their Home Learning Folder (which is separate from the DOLPHIN Binder). The pages will then be returned to the DOLPHIN Binder once students finish using them for home learning. The overall purpose of these binders is to provide students with useful resources and reference sheets that will allow them to stay organized and enable their learning process.

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Why is it called a DOLPHIN Binder?

The word DOLPHIN is an acronym that stands for Daily Organizational Learning Portfolio and Handbook of Important Notes. The reason I chose the dolphin as the name of our binder is because our school's mascot is the dolphin and I thought it would be a neat way of incorporating it into this neat resource.

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How do you get a DOLPHIN Binder?

Students in Ms. Sanchez' class will obtain a DOLPHIN Binder by gathering several items noted on our supply list which are also listed below. Once students bring all necessary materials to class, Ms. Sanchez will provide instructions on how to put the binder together. The following is a list of supplies students need to bring to school in order to make their DOLPHIN Binder (please be mindful that this list is not the complete list of required school supplies for the year):

  • One-inch white binder with cover insert

  • 3-ring binder zipper pouch

  • 2 sharpened pencils

  • 1 yellow highlighter

  • Wide-ruled loose leaf writing paper

  • 6 sheet protectors (provided by Ms. Sanchez)

  • 5-tab dividers (to use for Writing Binder section)

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What will I find inside the DOLPHIN Binder?

The DOLPHIN Binder will have several items and components that will help keep students organized. Here's what you will find in the binder:

Inside Binder Pockets


We will temporarily keep any assignments we are currently working on. Once the assignments are completed, they will be collected by the teacher.


We will keep any miscellaneous handouts and papers.

 Zipper Pouch

As soon as you open up your DOLPHIN Binder, you will find a zipper pouch. The zipper pouch will be where you will keep two sharpened pencils and yellow highlighter at all times. You will also store "Fin" Dollars you earn through our Classroom Economy in this zipper pouch.
Writing Paper

There will be a small supply of writing paper (about 25-30 sheets) placed right behind the zipper pouch. This supply will be replenished throughout the year. It's great to keep extra writing paper here in case you need some for your assignments.
Sheet Protectors

Nine clear sheet protectors will be used in our binder. Here's what we will keep in these sheet protectors:
  1. Dolphin Binder Rules
  2. Monthly Calendar
  3. Daily Class Schedule
  4. Cursive Handwriting Chart (2 sheets)
  5. Author's Intent/Purpose Sheet
  6. FCAT Reading Question Task Cards (3 sheets)
  7. Math Reference Sheet (2 Sheets)
  8. Science Reference Sheet
  9. Social Studies Reference Sheet
  10. Writing Rubric
  11. The Easy Way to Score by Melissa Forney
  12. Revision and Editing Checklists
  13. Writing Checklist
Writing Binder Section

There will be a section behind the sheet protectors dedicated to our Writing Binder. This section is organized using 5-tab dividers. Each divider will be labeled as follows:
  1. My Writing
  2. Narrative
  3. Expository
  4. Creativity
  5. Reference

For more information about this section, visit our Writing Binder & Notebook page.

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Photos of Our DOLPHIN Binder

DOLPHIN Binder Photos
(Coming Soon)

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DOLPHIN Binder Rules

Responsibility and care are essential towards maintaining your DOLPHIN Binders. It is very important to keep it safe, organized, and up-to-date. Here are some rules to keep in mind:

  • DO NOT draw or doodle in your DOLPHIN Binder.

  • Keep your binder CLEAN and NEAT. Remember you will be keeping it for the entire year!

  • DO NOT let any of your friends borrow, use, or have anything from your DOLPHIN Binder.

  • DO NOT place any other supplies or heavy items inside of your zipper pouch.

  • Be sure to USE your DOLPHIN Binder! It is a great resource and a useful organizational tool.

  • Keep your binder CLEAN! Try not to eat or drink near your binder.

  • DO NOT sit on your binder.

  • Keep your binder safely stored near your desks. Remember that since we mainly use our binders for reference in class, we are to keep the binders in the classroom at all times.

  • Any pages that are removed from your binder to use for Home Learning MUST be returned to the proper section in your DOLPHIN Binder when you are done with them.

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Create Your Own DOLPHIN Binder

If you would like to create your own DOLPHIN Binder make sure you have the following materials ready for use:

  • A one-inch binder with cover insert

  • A cover for your binder to place inside the cover insert on the front cover of the binder. I use ocean theme stationary and print out the title of the binder along with the current year and a line to write the student's name.

  • A binder zipper pouch

  • Spare wide-ruled writing paper

  • Sheet protectors

  • Optional pocket folders (NO PRONGS) for each subject. These folders will need to be hole-punched in order to place them inside the binder

  • Address labels to label each folder (optional)

  • Anything else you would like to add to enhance your binder!

If you would like to learn more about how other teachers use these types of binders, please visit the following sites:

To find various acronyms to use for these types of binders you can be creative and come up with your own or you can visit the following site to see if you find one you like:

Lots of MOOSE Acronyms!

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Download the DOLPHIN Binder Information and Resources

The following document contains all of the information on this page along with information on how I initially used DOLPHIN Binders. The document also contains an Appendix of Reference section which includes all of the reference sheets I use inside the sheet protectors. Enjoy!

DOLPHIN Binder Information
*Revised on 7-26-2011*

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