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File Naming Conventions

I’m back! It’s been a while, but in my defense, in this last year I became pregnant, was a waddling zombie as soon as I was off the clock, and now have a beautiful baby that keeps me busy 🙂 I’m currently on maternity leave from work, and while I’m definitely enjoying the time with my little one (and happy to dodge the stress that accompanies the first week of school), I do miss being in the classroom.

I thought I’d get my feet wet with what is an easy-to-write but (in my opinion) incredibly important post: How to name your files. Yes, it may seem like a boring topic (unless you’re an organization junkie, like me), but if you invest the little bit of time it takes to give your files meaningful names up front, you’ll have less of a headache when you open your course directories the next school year. One of the things I’m most proud of from last school year are all the comments I received from my students that lauded my organization of Google Drive, and many of them specifically praised my file naming convention since it made organizing their notes very easy.

I wrote an earlier post on how to organize your files in Google Drive and load them into Notability if you want to check out how my students receive their notes and worksheets in my semi-paperless classroom. My students deal with around 20 files in an individual unit, which could lead to a lot of fruitless searching and tears come finals week. Good file naming practices eliminate that nightmare. Here’s a screenshot of a typical unit in Notability:

A typical snapshot of a unit in Notability.

A typical snapshot of a unit in Notability.

Students typically receive 3 types of files in my classroom – homework (video notes), in-class notes, and worksheets – and notice that it’s very clear in the above screenshot what type of note the file contains and which unit it belongs to, in addition to the filename. My convention is:

AssignmentType_ClassUnitDay_Filename

So if I were to create a worksheet about Absolute Value Equations in Unit 01 on our 3rd day of the unit, I would name the file Worksheet_Alg2Unit01Day03_AbsValueEqns. You want to put the assignment type first so that Notability/Drive groups all the worksheets together, all the notes together, and all the homework together, which helps give you and your students direction when scrolling through a long list of filenames. (Tip – the default setting in Notability is to list files by date, not by name, so make sure your students adjust that setting accordingly). I also use this convention for my unit calendars, which are then super easy to pull up from the search bar since there are only 10 of them – I don’t have to navigate through all my directories to open one!

If you have another way of organizing your files, please leave a note in the comments! And good luck to all the teachers on their first day of school 🙂

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