Dealing with paper is something that all teachers deal with. We copy, collect, grade and hand back work on a daily basis. And we're supposed to deal with all of this paperwork in addition to lesson planning and teaching all day.
I have a tendency to pile stuff and have things all over the place. To combat this, I ensure that every single thing has a place where it belongs. And when I say every single thing, I really mean every single little random item I own. When things are organized it makes me a happier and calmer person.
The biggest thing that I deal on a daily basis is papers. I make copies, hand stuff out, collect some of it, deal with extra copies, grade stuff, hand it back ... and somehow I'm supposed to keep track of all this paper movement and not go crazy?!
When I was a shiny brand new teacher I thought I would get two trays. One would be my inbox and one would be my outbox. I thought it sounded like a great system. Yeah right. Over the years I have added to my system piece by piece until it evolved into the grand scheme that it is today.
I love my system for papers because I can honestly say that I know where EVERY single paper is at all times, and based on where it is I know where it needs to go next.
So let's start in the morning. I make copies.
The original goes in here until I put it back where it came from. Each class I teach has it's own folder and there is an "etc." folder as well.
|This one isn't mine (it's from here) but I made one like it.|
The rest of the copies go in stacking shelves so they are ready to hand out for the day. Each class that I teach has its own stack of shelves up in the front.
At the end of the day, any extra copies go in my missed work folders. They stay there for two weeks and then get recycled.
Now if kids are keeping the papers then the paper stops there with the kid. If they are handing something in to be graded, however, I have a three part process for what happens next. I need more organization than an inbox/outbox setup.
- Kids hand in their papers to the purple/green trays. At the end of each period, their work gets paperclipped and moved to the next step.
- All of that class' work gets moved to their tray. Here we have another set of the Target stacking trays that I love. I have one tray for each period. Papers stay there until I grade and record them in the gradebook.
- After they are graded, papers get moved to another set of trays. Any work here means that it has been graded, recorded in the gradebook and is ready to hand back.
It took me awhile to fine tune this whole process and come up with something that was perfect for me. I absolutely love it and love knowing exactly where every single paper is. I think about how terrible I would feel if I ever lost a paper so I want to make sure that never happens.
Now, remember that I already warned you that I'm a little crazy...
Well here's a handy flowchart that shows how all the paper moves around my room.
I share this not to make you think I'm nuts, but in the hopes that maybe I can save someone the years it took for me to establish this all myself. Enjoy :)