Monday, March 19, 2012

Market Mondays: Paper Trays (And an organization tip too)

Until I can completely go paperless in my classroom, I find that every week it is very easy to get buried in papers that my students turn in.  I'm sure we have all been there - you go and grab the papers from the homework tray and sit there separating them into organized piles as you flip and turn them so they all face the same way (is that a paper with no name? Sigh.) and you do this until all the papers are finally in neat stacks.  Before you know it, 20 minutes have gone by and you still haven't even begun grading yet!  Been here?  Yep - me too!

Enter my Market Monday product - paper trays!!!!  I know, I know.  You already have paper trays.  And heck you may have some sort of system.  But I can assure you that the system I have in place for my 5th graders is almost foolproof to help knock that 20 minutes you spend sorting and switch it to grading time instead.

Here's what I do. I have six paper trays that I stack together and turn them backwards.  On each tray, I put a subject label.  And right above it, I have a sign that tells students HOW to put their paper in the tray.  This is key!!!  The sign has a a diagram showing the paper and the way it should go in along with some reminders such as is their name on the paper with the complete heading, etc.  All papers go into the proper trays facing up with their name to the left.  Students simply slide their paper in through the slot.  (Another benefit to have the trays backwards is that they cannot easily take their papers out - I frown upon that once they have turned something in).

Seriously - it's amazing.  I spend the first couple of days of the school year drilling this into their head and we are set for the rest of the school year.  No more messy stacks of unorganized papers - just neat piles with all your paperwork facing the same way.

Do you have a system that works for you? Share it below!


  1. Love this this idea! I just found you through the linky party and am a new follower.

    Think, Wonder, & Teach

  2. I love this! I used to do the stacked trays with subject labels but never thought to turn them around! When I moved down to 2nd grade, I switched to just ONE turn in basket, and even THAT is tricky with some of them, haha!

  3. I use plastic drawers-- each one is labeled with the subject. They're easy to access, and easy for my kids to decide where their paper goes!

    Here's a picture of them (the white and clear plastic drawers).

  4. I have them turn papers into a file crate in hanging files labeled with their numbers. I then have to sort the papers - but at least they are in number order! I love your idea and think I am going to give this a try this year!


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