I'm Finally Organized!
I've taught for 10 years. In all of those 10 years, I have always changed how I take up papers, give back papers, etc... I always felt like I was confusing my kids on where to turn things in...I always felt like I was confusing my kids with when I take up work...
What about students who are absent?
What about students who get suspended?
What about the kid who needs more time because of an IEP or 504 plan?
All of these issues made me anxious because I always felt like I was consistently playing catch up. THEN, I would have an epiphany and change things mid year...that would end up confusing kids MORE even though I was trying to make things easier!
At the beginning of this year, like every year, I got stressed because I felt like I was going to do the same thing I do every year...stress myself out and stress my kids out. So, I sat down at my desk one day during pre-planning and fumbled through different organizational options. I rearranged my room two or three times...I kept looking for a good way to keep both me and my kids organized.
Then, it hit me. I had an epiphany (one that I think actually works)...
Here is what I came up with (and this is what I have done this year)
*caveat: I teach high school, but I would also do this with middle school if I still taught there...you can do this with elementary as well!
I have a box for each period that they turn their work into
They hold all the work we do for the week, and they turn in ALL their work every Friday. They staple all their work together with their name on the front piece of paper. I am in the process of creating a 'cover sheet' they will use that has things like the date, the assignments that are included...things like that...
Having them turn all their work in on Friday does a couple of things:
it gives them more time to complete the work (for 504 and IEP'S too)...so, in reality, ALL my kids get the extended time accommodation
It gives me all their work in one stapled pile so it is easier to enter in the grade book...I can stay on their name in the grade book and enter all their assignments and THEN go to the next person and do the same.
it gets rid of the question: "do you need this?" they turn it in and if I need it, I have it.
I only look for work one day a week, and I can grade everything in a couple of days and give it back to them (therefore getting rid of papers in my possession) :-)Since they turn NOTHING into me personally, there is no way I can misplace their work..
On top of my period's boxes, I have a blue box where I put all 'redo' work'redo' work is crappy work that they just 'turned in to get a grade' or they didn't get the concept and they need to study and redo it. The 'redo' box is not always a bad thing...it just means I won't accept that work for any number of reasons and they need to redo it I will always put an "R" on the paper and tell them why they need to redo it (could be crappy work, little or no work, no name, etc..." I put a zero in the grade book as a place marker, and when they redo the work and put it back into their periods box (not the blue box), I will grade it and override the zero with the new grade
Once I grade their work, I put it in a small file cabinet near my desk, and I will pass back work the next Friday...THE CIRCLE IS NOW COMPLETE!
Now, while everything is due on Friday, they can still turn in that week's work until the next Wednesday.
I do this because:
some teachers have VERY strict deadlines, and I know they have a lot going on (I think school is much harder now than it was when I was in high school)...giving them a few more days for my work tends to assuage their stress...it gives me leverage when talking to parents... "they had over a WEEK to complete my work and they still didn't do it...
Now, like I said before, I have kids turn in all the work for the week on Friday...but what about those who are turning in late work? Where do they turn it in? When do they turn it in?
I have another 10 drawer rolling cart that they put their work into :-)