Thursday, August 8, 2013

Creating a System for Incoming/Outgoing Student Work

I don't know about y'all, but man, being back to work is killing me!  I am t-i-r-e-d and we aren't even "officially" back yet.  I've been spending a little time in my classroom this week, getting everything ready before the insanity of meetings, parents, and professional development kicks in.  


Credit

One of my major goals for this school year is to maximize class time, and my biggest time-suck in class is passing back papers.  I've always had a system for students to hand in work, but I've never had one for handing it back.  I usually spend about 10-15 minutes a week (in each class) handing back work.  While I try to do this when students are engaged in group work, it still becomes a bit of a zoo-- kids are focused on what I'm handing back rather than the task at hand.  

Here's my plan to eliminate that waste of class time, and create a smoother system for collecting and handing in work:

Collecting Student Work
I have never really taken students' work up by hand before.  I've always had some kind of system by which students should turn it in, and for the most part I like that.  Most recently I had them turn in work to my file cabinet, organized with folders for each class period.  It saves me the trouble of collecting it, and it provides them with a little responsibility.  However, it also provides a few problems:
1- Sneaky kids turn in work late if I don't empty the folders immediately after each class.
2- Kids throw out that, "I know I turned it in!" excuse.

So this year, I'm collecting work.  I'll have them pass it up the rows, old-school style.  This is partly because I want to eliminate the previous problems, and partly because I want to start implementing the "homework excuse slips" featured as yellow sheets on E, Myself, and I and again on Eat. Write. Teach.
 I love the idea of the walk of shame to pick up a slip, and having a record of each excuse the student provides.  (Perfect for parent-teacher conferences!)  Because kids who don't do their homework probably aren't inclined to voluntarily do paperwork about said missing homework, I need to be sure they're doing them.  I can only do that if I am collecting homework in my hands.

So, here's the plan for collecting work.  Once I've collected, and checked that I have a paper (either homework or a yellow sheet) from each student, I'll stick the papers in my handy-dandy rainbow organizer to await grading.  



 The top five drawers are for copies for the week, and the bottom five are for collected work, organized by class period. 

Once work is graded, I refuse to spend class time returning it anymore.  So . . . here's my new Pinterest-inspired mail system:



Returning Graded Work:
Nothing fancy- some file crates and hanging file folders from Staples, and some printed labels.  Each class has its own crate, and each student will have a folder.  When work is graded, I'll stick it in the folders on my own time-- during my planning period or before school.  It'll be up to kids to collect it periodically. (Yellow sheets will go into a binder for my records.)

Bonus: This should make make-up work easier, as well.  When kids are out, I'll put their make-up work right in their folders.

I'd love to hear what you do about collecting and handing back work!  Comments, please.
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