Organizing Photocopies, Worksheets, and Lesson Materials {Paper Organization in the Classroom}

This post is part of my 20 day "Organizing and Managing Paper in the Classroom" Series. Today I am going to share tips and ideas for storing and organizing photocopies, worksheets and other student assignments.

In order to avoid piles from accumulating it is important to have a plan for the copies you bring from the machine to your classroom. 

First, establish a location for the copies and materials you’ll need for the day. I recommend setting them up for the next day each afternoon before you leave school. This will make your morning run much smoother and everything will be accessible for a sub in the event of an unexpected absence. Some ideas include:

  • lying them out in sequential order on a shelf at the front of the room
  • placing them by subject in stacking trays
  • using plastic drawers to sort by subject
  • housing them in a vertical pockets
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or Read About How I decorated these boxes at my original blog post

Next, develop a system for holding your copies for the upcoming week. I am currently using cardboard boxes from IKEA that I decorated for each day of the week. I like these because they are open at the top which makes it easy to add papers and they are wide enough to hold everything I need.

I have additional boxes labeled for homework, next week and the week after next. This allows me to get ahead in my copying by up to 3 weeks. 

I used to use plastic drawers for this purpose, but I just prefer the boxes.

In the past I used hanging file folders. I had labeled 31 folders with numbers 1-31 with each representing a day of the month. I would then file my copied papers into the folder for the day I planned to use them. I didn’t hate this system, but I found the folders weren’t big enough and if we had an unexpected snow day it thwarted my system. 

Then decide how you will handle the copies of the paper for students who are absent or out of class when the assignment is completed. I detailed how I manage work for absent students in this blog post from last summer.

Most teachers make additional copies of each paper to allow for students who might make a mistake or lose their original. Some teachers designate a basket for extra copies.  If your original is a digital file that is on your computer I recommend making only what you need for your class and printing an extra copy if and when you need it.


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