Thursday, July 11, 2013

{Throwback Thursday}

Since I'm still pretty new to the blogging world I've really enjoyed seeing all the posts from Throwback Thursday over at The First Grade Parade

I've noticed one of the first posts I ever wrote has been getting some more views lately and I wanted to share it for some of my new followers. 

Here is an explanation of how I have students turn in papers and also how I keep makeup work for absent students. 

If you are interested in reading more of the Tame the Paper Monster Series you can catch up on them here, here, and here.

Tame the Paper Monster Series 

Part 1 Student Papers

I have been battling with the paper monster since my teaching career began 7 years ago. I feel like I've tried every solution out there to dealing with the mounds and mounds of paper that seem to magically appear in the classroom.

I'll save you the recap of all the systems that came oh so close but never quite made the cut. I'm an organization lover (okay, I might have just a slight obsession with it) so having all these homeless papers floating around the room really bugged me.  Now after all my scouring teacher magazines and office supply stores I have hit upon the perfect solution (at least it is in my little world)! 

I give each student a number at the beginning of the year and we use it to label papers, books, mailboxes etc.  Well those little numbers come in super handy, so first things first - give all your little darlings a number. 

I went to Wal-Mart and picked up packages of slash pocket dividers for 3 ring binders and attached a number (from an old calendar set) to the front.  I used one little Command poster strip and stuck those babies to the wall under my chalkboard.  I also have a deep love for Command strips.  What can't those things hold up? These have been up in my classroom since before Christmas and are still holding strong on our cinder block walls. 

Now when students come into the classroom they have a place to put homework right away.  There are no baskets, check lists, folders or other fancy systems - just these little pockets.  Students place their work in the pocket with their number on it and ta da! - papers managed! 

Here are some reasons why I love these pockets: 
  •  In one glance I can see who didn't have homework to turn in. 
  •  When I pull work out of the pockets it is already in alphabetical order. 
  • When its time to put work into mailboxes the papers are already in order.
  • They are using up that dead space under my chalkboard. 
  • When I have a student absent for the day I stick whatever work they've missed in the pocket. When the office calls for Johnny's make up work to be ready at 3:00 and it's 2:58 I can swoop in like Super Teacher and have it all together! 
  • We have a rule - nothing goes into your pocket until you pick up make up work. 
  • No name? No Problem!  I can use my class list to see whose paper is missing the name. 
I do have a few thoughts about why this has been so effective for me and my students.  First of all the pockets are right under the chalkboard and easily visible to everyone.  I've tried them in the back of the room and students seem to ignore them back there and make up work stays there forever! 

They are clear, durable, and easy to use.  I've tried using file folders this same way (just staple the edges together), but it is more difficult to get papers into the file folder and they don't hold as much.  These little plastic sleeves of goodness (told ya I loved 'em) hold A LOT of work and it all looks neat - nothing is flopping out of the side of the pocket. 
Stick around for part two of the series when I'll reveal where papers go after they leave the pocket. 


  1. That works fabulous for a self-contained classroom! I teach departmentalized - so I couldn't really fit 67-70 folders around. Right now I'm using baskets for turn in - don't love it, but it's not the baskets fault. I just don't like having piles of paper in them.


  2. This is genius! Thanks for sharing. I just pinned it! I am definitely doing this :)

    Three Cheers for First Grade!

  3. Love, love, love this idea! Thanks for sharing. I'm looking forward to part 2. ;)

  4. Only one word is needed for this: LOVE! I'm heading to Walmart TONIGHT. I MUST do this!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'


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