Digital Filing Cabinet

Elementary teacher looking for a technology in the classroom trick to organize your classroom and files? This classroom organize trick will leave your room clutter free!
I have a gigantic aluminum rectangular prism in my classroom that is taller than I am.
I am talking about the filing cabinet…every teachers’ worst nightmare.
When school first began I gathered many folders and wrote different skills on the labels. Every time I found activities or handouts for a specific skill I would file it in its proper folder. This seemed like a GREAT idea. I had everything organized and placed in this cabinet. Then reality set in. If I wanted to plan for a specific skill, I had to go back into my filing cabinet and pull the files then sit and sift through them all. This may not seem like much work unless you’re  like me, planning from home with this holy grail of a cabinet 35 minutes away from your home. As time passed I realized that this filing cabinet was not the best method.
Why did I start off with this method? All the teachers on my team used a filing cabinet so I felt I should follow the trend. Tenured teachers rarely cleared out their cabinets, so it was overflowing with old material.
 Please forgive me….but I have never heard of the machine that printed copies in a purple tint. Thanks to Google I just discovered it was called a mimeograph. Let me just say, if that is still in your filing cabinets, do all your students a favor and just chunk your filing cabinet into the trash.

It took be about a week but let me just tell you that it is definitely worth it! Every day for at least an hour I dedicated that time to sifting through my filing cabinet, throwing away what wasn’t needed. The files I intended to keep, I scanned them and saved on a jump drive.


See how I organize my files in the video below:



Please be aware that technology can mess up! If you plan on creating a digital filing cabinet I highly recommend backing it all up on an external hard drive as well.



When I plug in my jump drive this is what you’ll see. Everything has its place. I sorted all my files into its specific content are. Notice the months tab.


When you click on a tab it becomes more specific. This looks like it took a long time but I promise it didn’t!
It was as simple as right clicking and creating a new folder!


Just like we all have tubs housing the different games related to the month/season, I did with my handouts. I decided to do it like this because I have quite a bit of themed products. I like having my end of the year products all housed together when I click, “June”.
When I plan with my team in another room, I don’t have to grab a heap of folders and lug them around. If I want to plan at home, I don’t have to fill my rolling cart to the top. All I do is take a jump drive about the size of my pinky wherever I go. This also makes cleaning out files extremely easy. With education changing constantly, using documents that are 20 years old are obviously not going to keep our children engaged.   I can easily sort through my files and delete what doesn’t work. We are currently in the digital age, let’s start acting like it!


I hope this was a “ZESTY” idea that you can add to your classroom.
How do you organize your papers?

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6 Comment

  1. Reply
    Shelby Kay
    April 18, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    Love! I love this idea! Everyone should use this method… Or at least attempt it… I keep preaching the importance of intergrading technology into the classroom. These kids will probably be the generation to see the end of paper of pencils as the standard medium for school work so why aren't we adapting with them and keeping them interested??

    I'm very pro-technology in the classroom! Why do we resist something that's going to simplify our lives?!

    1. Reply
      Amber Calderon
      May 12, 2014 at 12:32 am

      I completely agree! I think it is important for kids soak up as much technology as possible. Of course with the SAMR model in mind. I think we are already trekking to the endpoint of paper and pencils. Which makes me happy because I despise pencil sharpeners now that I am a teacher. 😉

      Even now, when do we ever take notes on paper? In college all of my notes were on my Mac becauseI I used the voice recording button to record the lectures. Currently, All of my notes are done with Evernote because it can be synced to all my devices. I shared Evernote with my Assistant Principal and he was amazed.

      Have you looked into Kidblog? I taught my kids how to blog to help their typing/writing skills. I have seen it done in a kindergarten classroom (I say because I know you are interested in K!).

      This is one of the first Teacher Bloggers I started to read. She taught K when I first read her blog but now she teachers 1st. She has SO MANY ideas!


  2. Reply
    Alison Rose
    May 3, 2014 at 3:38 am

    I do the SAME exact thing. I actually wrote a post about it once too. I would be lost without my thumb drive. My only problem is backing up to my external hard drive often. I have been bad about my digital filing since I started blogging though. It's really easy to just dump stuff on my desktop. I have it on my Wunderlist to clean off my desktop. Definitely my first summer task!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

    1. Reply
      Amber Calderon
      May 3, 2014 at 4:29 pm

      At least you are blogging! 🙂
      I am barely beginning and am trying to find a balance with it all but am excited nonetheless!
      I can definitely see the time to sort all the files. If you notice in my pictures, I have a folder called, "to sort". I have a folder on my desktop titled, "place in drive". When my, "place in drive" on my desktop has a few files on it, I then copy those files to my, "TO SORT" folder. This folder has a variety of files that I need to sort to its proper content.
      When I'm feeling like the organization queen I sit on my couch and sort all those files a little bit at a time.

      Still sorting…but at least we're not at the school STANDING in front of a filing cabinet! 😉

  3. Reply
    August 2, 2016 at 4:07 am

    Love this! What type of scanner do your use? I have wants to implement something like this for my personal files as well but scanning every page seems so daunting.

    1. Reply
      Amber Calderon
      August 4, 2016 at 10:34 pm

      I use the printer at my school! I scan it on the printer to my email then move the files! 🙂

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