Math = Love: What Worked; What Didn't: Paper Turn-In System

Monday, May 4, 2015

What Worked; What Didn't: Paper Turn-In System


I kinda have an embarrassing announcement.  I can't believe it's taken me so long to figure this out.  For the first two years of my teaching career, I had a single turn in tray for all of my classes.  This made grading miserable.  I had to sort all of my papers into piles before I could start grading.  Why I put up with this for two years, I don't know.

I was frustrated.  My students were especially frustrated when they went to retrieve work back out of the tray and had to dig through stacks of papers to find theirs.  It was messy.  It was disorganized.  It got the job done, but it didn't do it well.  At all.  

This year, I gave each class its own try to turn their papers into.  Nothing fancy.  Just a set of trays and mini post-it notes to label them.


I guess this post is a reminder to myself to never go back.  Separate turn-in trays for each class period are definitely the way to go.  

Tweaks for Next Year:


Better Tray Labeling System - My afternoon classes struggled with whether they should use the tray above or below their post-it note.  Next year, I'll put arrows on the labels.  I'll also hopefully come up with some prettier/fancier/more durable labels than just post-it notes.  

Change Location of Turn -In Tray - When I had only a single turn-in tray, it lived on my desk.  I definitely didn't want a stack of 7 trays on my desk.  So, I set them on top of a cabinet in the corner.  Because of the daily migration of desks toward the wall, it soon became the case that there was always a desk pushed in front of this cabinet.  The student sitting in front of the turn-in trays got very agitated when people were constantly leaning over their desk to turn in their papers.  It definitely needs a new home for next year!  

Unfinished Tray - Sometimes I had trouble differentiating between papers/quizzes that were turned in unfinished on purpose and papers of students who intended to come back and finish them.  I tried having students write unfinished on papers, but they were less than consistent.  Next year, I want to make a special tray for unfinished papers that the students plan on returning to complete.  This will save my sanity and theirs!  




19 comments:

  1. It is amazing how effective a little organization goes to improving your work flow. I am not a teacher, but as a parent of a reluctant math student one of my biggest frustrations is when my kid completes an assignment but doesn't turn it in! It is unfathomable to me! When I ask about it it is always the same thing- "I missed turn in and didn't know what to do with it." Teenagers!!!!

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    1. Very true! Every year I'm becoming a bit more organized.

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  2. I'll have to take a pic and show you my turn in trays. Each class has a different color and I printed cute labels to stick on each bin. I have one tray for turning papers in and a different for handing back. They're a little pricey, but so cute.
    http://www.poppin.com/Pool-Blue-Single-Letter-Tray.html

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  3. I have trays that are almost identical to yours. I found cute little number stickers to put on the front ride of mine. The kids seem to understand which one they go to without any confusion!

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    1. Ooooh - I will have to look for some of these!

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  4. I use a crate I bought at Wal-Mart and use hanging file folders with labels for each class that sits on a filing cabinet by the door. I may try and use different color hanging folders next year, but this process has worked for me for the last two years... I have trouble with the trays just because they tend to become a mess especially if I don't pick up homework that day, but the next morning... Good luck!!

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    1. The trays do tend to get messy! Thanks for the suggestion!

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  5. Plastic drawers with labels for each period - they do not get messy like trays tend to do. If I don't pick up the work on a given day I just place construction paper to separate each day.

    Next to it is small bin for late homework and late turn-in forms. I don't usually get much late work so having just one bin for all classes seems to work just fine.

    I'll take a picture of it tomorrow.

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    1. Would love to see a picture!

      I have a set of trays, but I've been using them to store commonly used documents. This has me thinking about making them into a turn-in tray now...

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    2. Drawer with late-bin basket: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7hlN5l7jG4weGNFOFJqRXAxRG8/view?usp=sharing


      Commonly used documents and handouts for the week (I haven't done such a good job maintaining it but it could work with some tweaking): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7hlN5l7jG4wWW16RkJkODdTVEU/view?usp=sharing

      Extra copies of handouts for students, newest things stay at the top so it makes it easy for them to find what they need from one and three days ago: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7hlN5l7jG4wWEZYcG5XZEZRVjQ/view?usp=sharing

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  6. I use this, without the wheels, for my turn-in papers. http://www.staples.com/Staples-6-Drawer-Mobile-Organizer/product_809574?externalize=certona

    It is not big enough for 7 classes, but there is also a 10-drawer version.
    http://www.staples.com/Staples-10-Drawer-Mobile-Tower/product_484971?externalize=certona
    That would give you enough room for each class, plus drawers for the unfinished work.

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    1. I have a cart similar to this with wheels. I think it would keep papers neater if I used this for turn-in trays!

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  7. This isn't so much on the thread of handling multiple classes, but more on metacognition and getting the students to think about how good their work is before they hand it in to you!

    https://www.pinterest.com/pin/545850417310033032/

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  8. I saw on Pinterest someone using binder clips for the "label" for trays. You can tape the label on it and move it as needed. I use different color folders to put work to be graded into after the students turn it in. Then, since my classes are in groups or rows, I have a folder for each row/group to pass back papers. I have a separate clear folder for unfinished work, but I like your thought for a tray for that too. I have been teaching a long time, but I have to say I appreciate all of your work here. Thanks!!!!

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    1. Thanks for the ideas, Monica! I'm definitely liking the binder clip idea!!!

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