Differentiate with Ketchup and Pickle Folders!
You know how important it is to differentiate work for your students. This is challenging in an inclusion classroom (or ANY class!) where you have many students with different types of specific learning needs. These folders are an essential element in my inclusion classroom, and make it easy to differentiate and meet the needs of ALL students. PLUS this eliminates any downtime or unstructured time for those students that always finish work early!
They are called Ketchup and Pickle Folders because the students either have work to “catch-up” (ketchup) on later, OR they can “pick” (pickle) an extension activity to complete!
And because we are teachers and have, like, negative amounts of free time, they are easy to create and will save you time/energy all year! Let’s get started!
- Red/ Green folders- one for each student
- Crate to house the pickle folders
- clothespins- optional
- Ketchup/Pickle images for board- to indicate time to work! (also optional)
Numbering- make them reusable!
Number the red and green folders by set. (Number the red ones 1-30 and the Green ones 1-30, or however many students you have). I assign numbers to my kids every year and by numbering instead of writing names on the folders, I can re-use them each year!
Distribute the red folders to your class. Explain to the class that these folders house their “ketchup” work! Any work that is unfinished – that they need to “catch up” on later- they will put into this folder to be completed during free time or during scheduled “ketchup and pickle work” times.
Ketchup folders do not go home! They stay in/on your desk! (My policy for center work is that it must be completed by the end of the week, but you may have a different expectation. Explain the rules to your students and post them somewhere in the room.) There are always students who require extra time to complete work, and this provides a safe space for them to do this without feeling singled out. Everyone will have ketchup work at some point! Having a folder specifically for this purpose also helps keep clutter at bay, and that makes this tidy teacher very, very happy 🙂
On Fridays during our “Power Up” time (my district’s name for required remediation time) my class participates in Ketchup and Pickle time. Any student who I am not pulling for small-group work that day will complete any unfinished work OR work on their extension activities. Which brings me to…
The pickle folders are the secret sauce here, because they enable me to reach students that I would not otherwise be able to reach. This is your chance to find out what your students’ interests are and use that information to engage their brains in some higher-level work, or even some grade level work that is tailored specifically for them.
Did you get that? You can engage your below level learners AND your above level learners ALL IN ONE FELL SWOOP!
The pickle folders are housed in a crate in a specific spot in the room. They do not go in desks! They travel from crate to desk and back again.
Here’s How to Set These Bad Boys Up:
Label the left side pocket of the green folders “To Do” and the right side “Completed” to indicate what activities have been finished.
Some Fun Ideas
Most commonly asked questions:
A: As far as adding new activities, I had an idea riiiiiiiight at the end of the last school year where the students put a paper clip on their folders if they needed more activities. I could easily see who needed more each week and just add it to my copy pile.
4. When are the kids allowed to go to their Pickle folders?
A: They are allowed to go “anytime,” but of course their ketchup folder has to be empty FIRST. My math centers are set up where they have certain activities for math only, so we don’t use pickle folders then, but otherwise, fair game!
See what works for you over the year.
Now, go set up some Ketchup and Pickle Folders! Let me know how it goes, any questions you have, or how you made them even better! 🙂
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