What to Do with All Those Papers!- Student Materials Series Pt. 1

How is it already February??? This month I am moving on from Classroom Management to a new series on Student Materials. This series will be on what to do with materials the kids use. This week I want to talk about to do with ALL.THOSE.D***.PAPERS.! I will also blog about math stations, literacy stations, and my classroom library.

But first up…those papers! This is probably one of my most requested topics. People are always asking me how to manage all the papers that come through our desk on a daily basis. I have a few tips and tricks up my sleeve.

Student Materials: How to manage student work

But first, if you would allow me to get on my soapbox…

Kelly’s Soapbox

I understand that grades are necessary and therefore you have to have papers and proof and all that jazz showing a students work and capabilities. I might be a bit unfair to write about this because in my district, second graders are graded on a rubric system so physical grades are not a requirement. However, I know that many of you have to give grades.

And I think many of us think that means a worksheet…I kid you not, there have been days I am waiting on the copier to print 75 copies of a 6 page packet and it kind of makes me sick because PAPER! But also, kids don’t learn from worksheet after worksheet. I find that my kids learn best when they are actively engaged with other students, conversing about a problem, solving it with their partner, reading a book together and dissecting it. I use Kagan structures pretty much constantly. When I do use worksheets, I try to use the structure “Rally Coach” or “Sage and Scribe” because 1. Kids are working together in cooperative learning and 2. Less paper because partners share 1 paper.

So when you are preparing your lesson plans, I urge you to really think about the purpose of the worksheet or printable you are printing. Is it necessary for their success? Is this something that I could have them do in their reading journal instead? How can I tweak this to use as a cooperative learning structure?

Okay… I will get off my soapbox now! 🙂

(Thank you so much for letting me vent!)

All Those Papers

I don’t really mean to sound like a broken record or anything…But if you just give all the different papers a “home” it will help!

Step 1- Designate a place to turn in papers. It can be a plastic bin, a drawer, or a tray. But establish a place where students ALWAYS turn in their work.

Student Materials: How to manage student work.

Step 2- Decide how you will collect and grade papers. My friend Jennifer taught me years ago to use an accordion file to put in all the papers that need to be graded. I leave it in my teacher bag so I have it when I go home but it is also in easy access when I am at school and have some free time to grade (hahahahahahahahaha!)

Student Materials: How to manage student work.

In the back I have a label for “mailbox” and “to be corrected”

Step 3- Create a Missing Work chart to notify students of work they need to complete.

Student Materials: How to manage student work.

Each student has a classroom number. When they are missing work or something has been returned to be corrected, write it on a sticky note and stick on their number. Now it is their responsibility to take care of completing the missing work.

But Kelly..where do I put work from when they were absent or work that needs to be returned for corrections?

I’m so glad you asked!


Student Materials: How to manage student work.

This crate has hanging folders with each students number. If John is absent on Monday and missed the multiplication worksheet I gave out, I drop it in his folder for him to complete when he gets back. If Suzy Q bombed the reading quiz and she has to correct it as many times as possible until she gets a 70, I can just drop it in her folder. (I will NOT get on that soapbox. Not here. Not now. But believe me, I have some words for that.)

Simple, right? I hope you think so!

You could also use one of these hanging pocket charts to return missing/incomplete work.

Student Materials: How to manage student work.

Lastly, I have mailboxes. Again, each student has a hanging folder with their classroom number on it. When I am done grading papers and they are ready to be returned I put them in the appropriate tray. (I have two trays because I have two classes). Then it is the mail person’s job to put the papers into each students “mailbox” (folder).

Student Materials: How to manage student work.

It’s that simple! Here is a picture with all the steps for easy remembering.

What paper routines do you have in place for your kids? I’d love to hear them!

Until next time,

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