Getting Things in Order (Keeping Track of Student Papers)

It's another beautiful month of Bright Ideas!

And I'm sharing a little system that helps me get things in order every day. Namely paperwork. Because we all know how quickly paperwork can get out of order, don't we? 

Especially those quick-to-accumulate student papers!

I know there are so many wonderful ways to organize student papers out there, but here are the steps that really help me keep track of everything from my students:

1. Number and Highlight
My students record their class number in the top, right-hand corner of each assignment. They also highlight this number (to make it more visible):

2. Order the Papers
A student collects all of the papers and organizes them in number order. This is done during a transition to a new subject and a friend at their table usually helps them get set up while they sort. They beg me to do this.  :)

3. Pass Paperwork into Color-Coded Bins
The student who has sorted the papers in order drops them into the color-coded bin, for the particular subject we have just covered:
(you can read more about our color system here: Color-Coding the Classroom)

4. Check and Grade
When I'm ready to check and grade the papers, I pull them from the bin. I look for any missing papers (which is really easy to see, since they are in order!).

After correcting, I enter them into my gradebook app, which has my students listed in number order--it literally takes less than a minute to enter all grades!

5. File for Home
Finally I file the papers to send home each week. I use hanging folder labeled with my students numbers. Again, since the papers are all in order, this file just takes a few moments:

And that's it!

Simple, easy-to-manage, and quick!

I hope this was of help if you are looking to tweak your system, or perhaps if you are just starting out in your teaching career :)

Would you like to see some really bright ideas? Of course you would! Just click away on any of these lovely blogs below:


  1. Kristen~ What do you do for students that move in? Teaching in an inner city school, our transition rate is high. DO you just tack them onto the end and do the numbers change?

    1. Hey Amy! I have a pretty transitional group too, with new EL students entering throughout the year. I do just tack them on at the drives my type-A self crazy but I'd never remember the student numbers if I didn't :)

  2. I do pretty much the same thing. Except the colored bins. Maybe something to add in next year! :) Thank you for sharing your ideas!

    Teaching in Room 6

    1. And I just saw that my computer was on my husband's account...

  3. Where do you get the bright colored chart paper?

  4. I don't know why I never thought of training my kiddos to put papers in order for me, duh! Always love reading your posts :)
    First Grade Dual

  5. Kristen!!!

    Ahh I feel like it's been too long since I've been able to visit and read your amazing blog!! You always have such wonderful ideas! I love how you have your students highlight their numbers! Sometimes my students forget to write their number down and for the life of me I cannot remember all of their numbers... even at the end of the year! Also, I have loved using that grade book app since you first recommended it! It is so amazing and so much better than the program that I used before!! Hope you have had a wonderful school year!!!

  6. Awesome tip, Kristen! I love the idea of having the students highlight their number. Smart! I always love reading about how you keep things so amazingly organized :)
    Fun in Room 4B

  7. Hi Kristen. I use this in my classroom, too! What grading app do you use?

    1. Hey Terri! I use iDoceo and I LOVE it! I have some more info on it here:
      Gradebook App Love

      Thanks for visiting, I hope your end of the year is going well! :)

  8. Love this! So simple! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Great Ideas! They have numbers, but I never thought about having them highlight the number in the top corner. Brilliant!

  10. Love it! This system will be going into affect next year. Did you create your awesome labels? (For the Sci & SS bin)?

  11. The highlighting is definitely a great idea. I spend so much time searching for where the children choose to write their names (despite being told) - this will make it much easier! Thanks!
    Growing Little Learners

  12. I love classroom numbers, I also did it this year!! Hilighting the number is a good idea because they tend to write the numbers in interesting places.. I have to check out the grading app!! I'm desperate- I have test grades all over the place! miss you Kristen!

  13. Love the great ideas you have posted. I was wondering if you were thinking of making the updated CRAFT headers available. I was not able to download. Thank you!
    2 Smart Wenches

  14. Hello! My name is Rachel, and I am brand new to the teacher blogging world! I just graduated from college, and am starting my first full time teaching position in a few days. If you have any tips or advice for a new blogger, please let me know. Also, feel free to check out my blog and let me know what you think! Thanks everyone!!!! :)

    Teaching, Coffee, and Aloha

  15. I've been having my students highlight their name and class number for a couple of years now and it's totally eliminated the dreaded "No Name" paper! But I love your idea of having the class number be large in the corner. What a way to make filing, and entering into gradebooks, faster! Thanks for the tip!

    The Teaching Crew

  16. what a simple yet great idea! i already give my kiddos a number (makes everything so much easier!) but didn't think about having them put the number on their paper...or to have one kiddo put the papers in order. i'm definitely doing this!

  17. Love the idea of highlighting the numbers and having a kiddo help out! I've followed your blog/ tutorials for quite some time now and always have been inspired by the awesomeness of your classroom. I was wondering though how you do the multi-colored font such as the word assignments on the colored coded bins. Do you individually change the font color for each letter or is there an easier way? Would love to learn or watch a tutorial on how you make your different labels! Thanks :)

  18. Kristen,
    I am trying to find the numbers for RR and Flipped signs for Home Dept seat sacks. Looked and Looked
    Please let me know

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