Organizing Student Work {Paper Organization in the Classroom Series}

For the past few years I have been using “unfinished work boxes” in my classroom with great success. To create the system I used a literature sorter (sold online and at office supply stores) . Mine is made of wood and I spray painted it to match my classroom color scheme. I also have a cardboard version that I use as student mailboxes . The cardboard is fine for that purpose because they only use them once a day, but since the unfinished work boxes are accessed throughout the day several times I highly suggest investing in a quality piece.

Each slot is labeled with a student number so I don’t need to relabel them each year.

If a student has work that needs to be completed I have them slide the assignment into their unfinished mailbox. This allows me to see at a glance who has work to finish and also how much.
Also shown in photo...
2) Clock Number Labels (blackline printed on any color)

I really prefer this system because of the ease at which I can see who has unfinished work. In the past I used a “Work in Progress folder.” I didn’t care for that because the folders became a black hole of tasks that needed completing.

A cheaper option would be to hanging file crate with hanging files. Label each file with the students’ names or numbers and have them place their unfinished work inside. The portability of the crate would allow you to move it around and you could easily flip through the hanging files to check on the status of your students.

This year I found that some students needed additional time outside the classroom to complete assignments. My teaching partner and I also decided that we wanted to put more accountability on our students to produce work that reflects their best efforts. Therefore we recently implemented “fix and finish folders.” These folders are for work that wasn’t completed in a timely manner and also assignments that need redoing to demonstrate proficiency. We send them home as needed or ask the students to come in before or after school to work on the assignments.


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