Paperwork Management (Part I) by Terra Graves
Learning definitely creates a lot of paperwork! You need to have a system to keep it moving in and out of your hands as quickly as possible. Consider the following suggestions to manage your paper load.
- Don’t hang on to papers for more than a day or two because they will get lost!
- Students need to have a permanent place for turning in their completed work. There are many different options for this.
- You can have students keep all their homework at their desks and go around individually checking it off (very time consuming, but this way you speak to each one about their responsibility–or lack thereof).
- You can have a “Completed Work” basket in which all in-class work and homework goes. If you do this, you will need to sort it (or have a student do it) into the separate assignments before you check it off.
- You can also use a separate basket or tray for each subject. Decide which method suits your style.
- It is also a good idea to have a “Pass Out” basket for anything that needs to be passed out to students. This can include corrected work, notes home from you or the office, book orders, etc. A student can be responsible for passing things out at the end of the day.
- Another basket that is useful is the “Extras” basket. When you make copies of things, make about five more than the number of students in your class. That way, if someone loses their paper (never happens – ha!), they can get one out of the Extras basket. Tell students that you will only make five extra and once they are gone, too bad.
- An option to this is to use a numbered accordion file or numbered hanging files in a crate. As you place the extras (one assignment per folder), create a numbered list that is posted above so students know what is in each file.
- You may also create a bulletin board above this and place an actual numbered sample for those visual learners.
- Do not use this for absent students because it is too hard (time consuming) to sort through and find all that they missed. There is a different better plan for this (in a set of upcoming tips).
© Terra Graves. Terra is an educator in Reno, Nevada. She has been a classroom teacher (elementary and middle school) and a mentor teacher (K-12). She continues to educate teachers through professional development courses and is currently the professional development coordinator for the Nevada Pathway Project, a technology integration project for middle school teachers across Nevada.
Terra is the author of Organized Teacher, A Guide for Beginning Teachers, and 102 Classroom Set-Up Tips for the Organized Teacher. These items are available for purchase and immediate digital delivery at: www.teachingjustgoteasier.com. Follow Terra on Twitter: https://twitter.com/nvterragraves
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