Sunday, March 9, 2014

Another Bright Idea... on collecting papers

Are you ready for this? It's time for another Bright Ideas Blog Hop! And I am so excited to be back with another idea you can start using in your classroom right away. (And even more excited that I am on spring break and have time to look through all the ideas... even if I do have to sneak the time in while packing up our house). This one is one of my favorite management tools I use.

Scenario: Class is working on an assignment. You set the timer for 20 minutes. 10 minutes in, a few kids finish and they have to sit there with that paper on their desk... or they bring it to you (which, if you are like me, ends up in you losing the paper)... or they lose it because they shove it in a folder... or they sit there and doodle all over it.

It happens. Collecting papers is no longer a hassle for me. In fact, I don't even have to collect the papers! What's that? Not have to collect the papers? Yep, I said it! Here is how my paper collection is handled.

These drawers and my students do all the work for me. It is extremely simple. Students are told which drawer their assignment will go in when they finish. Then I take a slip of paper with the students names on it (I have 100s of them printed and cut to last me all year), write the assignment on the bottom of the slip, then stick the slip in the drawer. (see below)
When students finish their assignment they come to the drawer and highlight their name on THEIR assignment (see the basket up there that says WAIT!... it has highlighters for them to highlight their name. I never have papers without names because of this trick.)  Then they take out the slip from the correct drawer, cross their name off to show they are turning their paper in, and then put their assignment and the slip back in the drawer. That's it! The pen is on a yarn and taped to the drawers so it doesn't grow legs and walk away. When I am ready to grade that stack of papers, I simply take them out of the drawer and grade them. Even better- I can write their grade write on that little slip of paper and then input the grades into my gradebook when I get a chance. (This year we have been having a hard time getting access to work from home... so this way I can still grade from home and not have to flip through the stack of papers to see what each student got. I can just glance down the list and input the grades quickly.)

No papers covering all my tables. No papers busting out of folders in my bag. Nice, organized, out of view to others, and simple! My favorite kind of idea! (And kinda 3 ideas in 1- highlighting the name ensures you have no papers without a name, turning in papers so you don't have to collect, and recording grades so you don't have to flip through the stack of papers!)

Be sure to hop over to my friend Lisa at Fourth and Ten to see her amazing idea on Mystery Motivators... I promise it is sure to be good!
You can also check out the linkup below to find topics that might help you out!


  1. Oh, I love this! I have those ugly file sorters that do the same thing, but your are definitely prettier! And love the hi light/check your name off before turning in, this I will definitely use, thanks!
    First Grade Dual

  2. This is great! It gives the students some responsibility over their own work and takes the pressure off of you. It's smart to have them highlight their name and check it off on the list. I might need to use this idea!

    Sara :)
    The Colorful Apple

  3. What a great way of turning in papers! Right now I have a basket on my desk that EVERYTHING goes into! Such a pain!

    Christina :)
    Apples, Books, and Crayons

  4. I love this! I am going to job share in 2nd grade with one of my besties next year and this is a fantastic solution to collecting papers. She is doing am and I am doing pm and we are going to keep certain subjects for the year so this would be such an easy way to separate out the papers that we are each responsible for grading!

  5. Even though I teach middle school, this is a great idea! I'll just change it up to have 3 drawers, one for each class. thanks!

  6. What a great idea on keeping homework and assignments organized right from the beginning. I always have students say "but I handed that in..." Um, no you did not! This would definitely prevent that!

  7. I do something very similar. I have strong-ish magnet clips that I magnet to the white board. I clip on a half sheet class check list and write the name and date of the assignment in the margin with a bold highlighter. When students turn in their papers they clip their work behind the check list and then mark an x in the box next to their name with one of the expo markers already up there. It is easy enough to see whose name is not crossed off and just a quick glance will let me know if a certain student should be on the computers or doing some other optional activity. I got the idea after copying my Valentine's day letter which includes a checklist for the students to address all their Valentines. Copied the list two to a page, printed it out, and whamo... Amazing new system giving me back a smidge of sanity!


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