As a new teacher, I spent countless hours playing hide-and-go seek with missing assignments. At first, I didn’t mind, but as the year went on the papers found better hiding spots. Permission slips would sneak their way into the crack between my desk and the wall, piles of graded assignments would park themselves on the guided reading table, and unfinished work would be sandwiched between notebook pages.
My endless search for loose paper wasn’t because my students are bad at staying organized. Actually, they were REALLY good at following my directions. Disclaimer- these directions WILL lead to missing papers:
- “If it’s not done, keep it in your desk for now.”
- “Put this note in your pocket.”
- “Turn in your permission slips in with your homework.”
Even when I had every paper turned into a single bin, I was still doing too much work. It took a ton of time to sort through different assignments, flip between pages of the gradebook, and sometimes get up for a new game of paper hide-and-go seek. I took the pressure off myself and came up with a system that my little friends could manage on their own.
This system has six categories for turning in student work: I’m done, still working, homework, signed notes, send home, and extra copies. Each section is pretty self-explanatory, but if you have any questions, please feel free to comment below!
To set it up, you’ll need an IKEA Shelf, matching bins, and these free labels. I love this shelf because the bins come out completely, so you can easily take work back and forth after grading it. I usually assign a student to collect homework, and it’s much easier for little hands by carrying the bin instead of 34 packets!
If you don’t have an IKEA near you, you can use these 3-drawer Sterilite bins. You’ll need 2, so this 4-pack is a pretty solid discount. A paper cutter will ensure that they fit inside of each drawer perfectly.
Once you have either the shelf or bins, just print, cut, and attach! Take time to explain the system to the class and parents. I let parents come in at the start and end of the day to turn in signed notes and collect extra copies if their student is missing an assignment or form. It especially comes in handy when gathering work for a student who is absent!