I’m following up my classroom management ideas with a few organizational tips and classroom time savers. I think it’s so important to use your time wisely in the classroom, multitask when you can, and get your students involved in the daily “to do” tasks as well.
Teachers deal with a lot of paper during the week, I have three easy tips to help you keep up with it. First, I use drawers to have students turn in work. I use two of the three-drawer ones and label the front of each drawer with a content area. I forgot to take a close-up of mine, so this is the stock image. These drawers must be emptied daily, sorted into alphabetical order using student numbers written next to the names, and then paper clipped by stack. Here’s the best part… students do this for me! Then they take the stacks and put them on my desk for grading. This is done every day at the end of the day. Before going home, I decide what needs to be looked at or graded that night and what can be left for my assistant or I to work on the next day.
Second, my biggest complaint/issue with the paper stacks are missing assignments or no name papers. For some reason, some students don’t regularly remember to put their names on their papers. A few also have trouble getting the work into the drawers. Again, this is something that I have my students help me manage. When they sort the drawers of work at the end of the day, any no name papers are put in the “Return to Sender” bucket. After all papers have been sorted, the students in charge try to collect missing work. They personally visit student desks who don’t have papers in the sorted stack and collect the work. If the work isn’t there, the student with the missing assignment is asked to check the Return to Sender bucket. So easy! Doing this daily helps prevent papers from become permanently lost. It also improves throughout the year as students become more responsible.
My third tip for your paper organization deals with passing back graded work. At our school we do this in the form of Friday Folder. I’ve seen many ways to do this (mailboxes, filing folders, students who pass back the papers), but my favorite is a paper rainbow. This is actually a little trick I learned at my previous school. After grading papers and recording scores, I keep each stack separated into those alphabetized stacks my students made for me. Each paper-clipped stack goes into a pile on the shelf behind my desk. On Fridays, I lay all of those stacks out side-by-side around each of our kidney tables (thus, they look like rainbows). I take the clips off and have students line up in number order. Student 1 takes the top piece of paper off each stack and has all of her work for the week collected by the time she reaches the end of her rainbow. The rest of the students follow right behind her. I also add any notes home, fliers from the office, etc. right to the end of this rainbow.
Ask you can see, to keep my students involved in our classroom organization, we have room jobs. Paper sorting is just one of them. I have tons more. Students sign up for their desired job and I let them change every other week or so. You can grab an editable free copy of our jobs here.
One last tip…
this year, I made classroom clocks to display important times of our
day. Somehow I managed to lose a letter from “Specials”, so I’ll have to
fix that on my next trip out, but you get the idea. I’m also making a
headline that will say “It’s time for…” to go above them. You can read
about how I made them here.
The clocks should help with classroom management and reinforce math
skills too. My students are always asking what time “X” is and the
digital time written on a poster didn’t seem to help them much.
Reading ideas are up next. Until then, what organizational or time saving tips can you share?
Thanks so much for all the wonderful tips! Goes right along with my "Work Smarter, Not Harder" plan! Love the clock idea. I'm going to use it!
2nd Grade Pad
I love the idea of having students sort the papers in ABC as one of your jobs! Soooo smart! Thanks for sharing and thanks for linking up your blog on my page.
TIPS: Teach, Inspire, and Prepare Students
I expect my students to turn their work in, in number order, and no names go in a magnet file labeled "No Name" work. Which is hung on my white board next to the place where papers are turned in. This gives the teachers who visit my room to teach a place to put their no name papers, since they don't have a room of their own. Another thing I do is have a copy of the student's name and number for the helper to check off as they are checking in papers. When they are done they paper clip it to the top of the stack, that way I instantly know who turned in their work and who did not. I laminate about ten of these at the beginning of year, so they can be wiped off and reused. [I bought my from Lakeshore (item #FF18),but I when these wear out I will make my own from a cereal box to better fit my decor.}
Love the rainbow idea! So clever 😉
All Students Can SHINE
I've had my students sort the papers into ABC order for me before, but I never thought to do the paper rainbow idea to pass things back. Brilliant! I'll definitely be using that next year. Thanks for sharing!
I may just have to give these ideas a try this upcoming year!
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I love the rainbow idea. Thanks for sharing. That one is definitely being logged. These are all such great ideas.
My (Not So) Elementary Life
I love the paper rainbow!! That will be happening in my room next year! I have a tip for stopping no-name papers…I blogged about it earlier this month! I use these nifty little slips from Teach123 and the kids highlight their name on their paper and the list when they turn in their work. I record the grades right on the same form too. After I started using them I could probably count on my fingers how many papers were turned in without a name (maybe even on one hand)! It really is a great system, and it doesn't take too much time!
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When I taught 5th grade, I did some similar things. I used those plastic, sorting trays for them to turn in work(by subject) and I had a No Name basket. I also always copied a few extras of each worksheet, note, etc. and had an Extras basket, too. If we ran out, we ran out. Thanks for these tips! 🙂
I also have a name check off sheet for students to highlight when they take stock of the papers that have turned in. It is a great way to stay organized. I wish I could rely on a number system, but we are such a mobile campus that my class list is always changing. I love the Return to Sender jar. Very cute and I think the kids would be more compelled to check the jar than they are check the board. 🙂
The Teaching Thief
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I love your organizational tips today. I am redesigning my system because I am teaching middle school next year (5 classes, 3 grades, 6th – 8th Science). I am using clear file totes from The Container Store and putting different colored hanging files in each one to identify the class. Each hanging file will have a student's name tab and they will turn in and collect work from their file. I am having to revamp everything to get ready for 100 students instead of 15!
Paper handling is definintely the biggest classroom challenge in my opinion!
First Class Teacher
Return to sender…brilliant. I just leave a pile on the ground:-)
I am brand new to blogging and I just wanted to say that I love your blog and your organizational tips that I just read about. I just finished my first year as a teacher and I had an area in my room called "campground headquarters" (classroom is a camping theme) where there take home files, clinic cards, library passes, etc. were all at. In this area I also had a hook with a "no name" sign. My students had classroom jobs as well and if there was a paper with a missing name they would hang it up.
This year, I am doing School to Home Communication Folders. I Have already created a cover sheet and I am pasting and then laminating them on to those large clasp envelopes and sending them home on Tuesdays with all of the notices and work inside. I will still have a "campground mail carrier", so they will be able to stuff the folders quickly. I am hoping this will work out better.
I am excited to continue following your blog. 🙂
I'm loving all these tips!
I put my papers in ABC order, but it was me doing it. I will have to work next year on getting the kids to put their number at the top of the page so the kids can put them in order. I love the return to sender jar! I'm definitely going to try that. One thing that worked pretty well for me, after I reminded the kids to put their names on their papers, I would say "Check to make sure your name is on your paper. If it is, put a check mark next to it. Sometimes, I would give them 5 extra points for doing it.
Kelly @ I'm Not Your Grandpa, I'm Your Teacher
I really like the way you have students pick up their papers (rainbow style). I also like the clock idea for specials.
Thank you for sharing.
Your newest follower,
Where Seconds Count 2nd grade blog
Rainbow papers = genius
Thanks so much for sharing!
-dede @ 1stgradeevents.blogspot.com
I also do Friday Folders! I am loving all the other ideas in your post and the comments!