When I started teaching (11 years ago!) I didn't have a system for returning student work. Ok, I did have a system, but it wasn't the best system. I would hold on to graded work until I had a few ready to hand out and then divide them up and have the kids pass them out to each other. While this might be a quick way to accomplish this task it left me with some concerns: 1. I was wasting valuable instruction time, 2. students could see the grades of their classmates, and 3. who knows if mom/dad would ever see it!
A couple years after that I changed schools and grade levels. My new team members would staple all graded work to the weekly newsletter which then had to be signed by parents and returned the following week. This ensured that (most) parents were now seeing weekly assignments and grades. Genius! So the next year or two I remember Thursday nights, sitting on my living room floor with a pile or papers. Step one was to alphabetize them and step two was to lay them all out and begin to grab from each pile. Madness! This was the part of the week that I absolutely loathed.
Finally, I realized two important things needed to happen. First, that my students needed numbers to help me organize their work more quickly. They are assigned a number at the beginning of the year and write it next to their name on all assignments. Next, I invested in a cheap crate and some hanging folders. I labeled each one with the student numbers. Another plus is that I can use these over and over again because it doesn't have student names on it!
The front purple folder isn't numbered. All work that has been graded goes straight in there to be filed later by a helper or myself. Note: The "W" after the number was when I taught 6th grade and our students went to multiple teachers. Students in my homeroom put a "W" after their number while students from my teammates homeroom put a "D" after their number. This is a great way to file for those that platoon/departmentalize!
Here are some spelling tests awaiting filing. When it is time to file them it is easy to locate the student number on the paper and quickly place it in that numbered folder! I've never timed myself, but I think I can file each assignment in about a minute or two.
Other important papers (book orders, flyers, permission slips) often go in as well. Ahhh...nice and organized!
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