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...
New 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?