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Clearing Teacher Clutter- Managing the Paper Trail

Organizing the Paper Trail in your classroom is a daily task and you need to do just a few things each day to stay on top of it. Check out these tips to keep you in line.

Papers, papers EVERYWHERE! Papers, papers… do I care? Yes, there are times I want to shout this cheer from the mountaintops when the papers on my desk start to take over. I’ve gathered a few tried and true tips for you to not only successfully rid yourself of the unnecessary papers but start them before they start!

Papers to Grade– For my Organizing Utility Toteclasses I needed a way to easily keep items that needed to be grade by class period once they were turned in but also easily transport home. As you can see I have different files for the different class periods as well as one for items to use for Interactive Notebook prep. I also added two additional files in front on in the front after this photo was taken to hold all of my answer keys as well as late work. I didn’t want it mixed in with the regular class work so that I could easily access it to grade it all at once but then also a storage place for current answer keys. (Tip: Once done with your answer keys for a grading period, move them to a file folder in your file cabinet (or scan them in to save in your digital files) to save for next year.)

Extras and Graded PapersMake-Up Work– With five class periods containing over 120 students I needed to be able to easily keep up with how they would pick up their absent work. In the first file crate on the left I placed 31 hanging file folders and labeled them 1-31. Each of the files corresponded with the dates in a given month. If a student was absent on the 8th, they would go to the 8 file and pick up the papers that they missed out on.

Graded Papers– Each of the hanging file folders in these two crates were labeled with my student’s names in class period/alphabetical order. This allowed my student aides to file graded papers as they were entered and students could easily pick them up as they were updated. I typically had one table group of four students at a time go and get their papers about once a week.

Sorting Papers– When I am Washi Tape Binder Clipsgathering papers from the turn in baskets I grab the Washi Tape Binder clips that I made and quickly clip them together. This allows me to not only keep a set to together as they are turned in but I can also see from a quick glance what group of papers they are depending on the washi tape on the binder clip. You can check out the tutorial here.

Teacher Mailbox– Another tip I learned early on was to always take a pen with me to pick up items from my teacher mailbox. That way anything that is in my mailbox that needs to filled out or signed can quickly be done so and then taken care of before it even comes back into my classroom. Also, go through quickly and throw away the trash before you even leave the workroom! Don’t bring in the necessary papers to your classroom.

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