The Unit Box

Table of Contents | Introduction | About the Author

Part of the process of becoming a successful unit based teacher is finding a way to deal with the glut of material that is available. One answer is the Unit Box.

A unit box is a repository for everything you will need to plan and teach a unit. Any time you find something that can be used for a particular unit, you will put it in the box labeled with that unit name. The list will be endless. Scraps of notes of things you think about, copies of articles from professional journals, pictures from magazines, videos taped from TV, books from home, and workshop handouts are just a few. Transparencies, teacher guides, and bulletin board materials can also go in. Unit plans, lesson plans, and any other content information will also be included. Copies of tests, plans, and content material will be placed there. Every available resource should be placed in this box.

Three-ring binder notebooks are an easy way to keep copies of material gathered together. Dividers for them can be purchased or "built" using old standard file folders that have been cut to 8.5X11 and had three holes punched in them. Hanging file folders work fine too if they fit your style better, although they are not as portable.


To create Unit Boxes, any type container will do. They just need to be big enough to hold books, papers, and notebooks. There are pretty plastic ones for sale in a variety of colors. Those that come on rollers make it easier to move the units around. If they can accommodate hanging file folders, that's nice too. However, if finances are a concern, the kind of box that ten reams of paper comes in is great. They stack nicely to the ceiling, are sturdy, the same size, and can be found at schools. Label them and find a corner of your classroom to store them. You'll need to be able to get to them all year.

The Unit Box will be the foundation of all future planning for that unit. It will build and grow until it is a resource worth cherishing. It is the ideal starting place for all unit based planning since it insures that all available choices are compiled in one place for you to use in your decision making process.

For a more complete description of this process, see "The Answer to the Overloaded File Cabinet" first published in Ideas Plus.

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