No Longer Numberless! (Tracking Student Papers)

February 25, 2013

No Longer Numberless! (Tracking Student Papers)

February 25, 2013
This has been a year of numbers for me.

Student numbers, that is.

I decided this past summer (after seeing so many smart teacher-bloggers doing the same) that I would use this system for my class.

And it has been an excellent organizational tool!

There’s only been one little problem with the numbers actually…or perhaps I should say lack of numbers. You know, the ones forgotten on the student papers? I understand that these things can be forgotten easily. But I need those numbers!

So I decided to fine-tune our system. Numbers are now required in the top, right-hand corner of the page (this makes it easier for me to see them as I flip through the stack).
And they must be highlighted:
It really takes just a quick second for my students to do this, since highlighters are always accessible at their tables…
Why highlight the numbers?
  • The numbers are easily seen amongst all the pencil on the paper.
  • Papers can be sorted into order before correcting.
  • Scores can be entered quickly, as the papers are in order.
  • Missing work can be identified quickly.
I realize a system such as this always calls for a helpful sign, so I made a little reminder for each basket we use.
This is a good visual reminder for my newest students to the country, as well as those who sometimes forget these things…I mean we are in 5th grade and these things happen, right?
(my room’s not all pink, by the way, I have other colors as well!)
This is one of those little tricks that has made my collecting-grading-recording life SO much easier. So I wanted to share it with my dearest friends!
If you would like to try something similar, please feel free to use the sign below (clicking on the picture will bring you to the direct download)…

What techniques do you have for organizing student work?


  • Diane R February 25, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    I used to do something almost exactly like this. It got to the point where I had the student numbers memorized, so they really didn't need to write them! But now that I'm not self-contained anymore, I decided to do away with the numbers. It was just too confusing for 3 different class lists. So now I use a little cover sheet for each assignment. It's a spreadsheet with a class list and two small columns following the column of names. I can fit four to a sheet. Anyway as I'm collecting papers, I check off the first column. I can also write in that column if the student was absent, if the assignment was late, etc. Then I paperclip the papers together with the cover strip on top. When I get around to grading it, then their score goes in the second column. At the very top in the blank space, I write the assignment details (name, points possible, due date). When I go to enter grades, all the information is right there and they are all in order. I can ever hand back the checked paper before entering the grades into the computer, if I want. It has really worked well this year, and it has avoided my biggest pet peeve of the numbering system… A NEW STUDENT! They always have a last name at the beginning of the alphabet :/

    Fifth in the Middle

    • Diane R February 25, 2013 at 11:00 pm

      Wow! That was really long. Sorry!

    • Kristen February 25, 2013 at 11:02 pm

      No, don't apologize, I loved reading what you do! I like how you have the place to check off the work and then put the grade. I am with you on that pet peeve–why is that ALWAYS the case??

  • The Wild Rumpus February 25, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    I live by the #'s, and this is such a smart way to do it. Thank you for the sign!

  • Leslie @KindergartenWorks February 26, 2013 at 12:54 am

    Wish I could figure out how to do this in kindergarten… gosh , if only they didn't have to learn to read names 😉 Great signs. Love the pink in the color mix too. Just sayin'


  • Lisa K February 26, 2013 at 1:36 am

    What a great idea! I have my students numbered but I am not very consistent about using it. I may have to make this a goal for next year! Thanks for the great freebie! I love everything that you have created 🙂

  • Joanne Miller February 26, 2013 at 2:38 am

    Thanks for the sign! I've always used numbers, but never highlighted! How simple!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  • Kristin February 26, 2013 at 4:43 am

    You are amazing. I love it. ALL OF IT!!!
    I'm not that good with the student number thing, but I do it. And most of the time I have to say, "Who's number 26?" And no one knows so we have to go look it up.
    Oh well.
    I know their names, at least.
    Most of the time.

  • Elizabeth February 26, 2013 at 11:02 am

    What a great system! I use numbers in my classroom, too. Just not as efficiently as you:) I really need to do a better job of insisting that they use their numbers. It would then make my job a whole lot easier!! I love this sign. This will certainly help:)

  • Caralee DeHerrera February 26, 2013 at 11:59 pm

    Love your signs…actually, I really just love all of your products and posts!! Thank you for being such an asset to so many teachers!!

    Confessions of a Teachanista

  • Jen R. @ The Teachers' Cauldron February 28, 2013 at 10:40 am

    ok – so my kids all have numbers and they have to number ALL their papers in the right hand corner too!! that way I can make sure EVERYONE has their papers turned in…it's brilliant!! 🙂 Best system EVER!!!

  • Debbie February 28, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    I love reading about how other teachers do things. I also use the number system and when students turn their homework into a collection box or folder I also have them place the homework in number order. Whala…. in order and ready to grade–makes me smile 🙂


  • Doodlin'@6thGrade February 28, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Love the sign! Thanks so much for sharing. What program do you use to create your stuff?

    • Kristen March 2, 2013 at 12:57 am

      Thanks!! I mostly use ppt!

  • Stacy Schwab March 1, 2013 at 3:53 am

    We NUMBER everything in Room 202. Materials are numbered so when I find them on the floor I know who to return them to. We use numbers for partnering and assigning roles and such. It's such a simple concept, but you get so much leverage out of it. Love the highlighting requirement. That would help my included LS kids, I think. ~Stacy @

  • Renee Living Laughing Loving March 6, 2013 at 12:04 am

    Love numbering! I have a homework/assignment crate with a numbered hanging folder for each student. They turn in work to the crate putting their papers in their number folder. When I unload the crate, I make stacks of everything and it's all magically in order. It also means there is no mystery about those no name papers. 🙂

    When we are doing a class assignment and are turning in papers all at one time, I have them pass their papers to the row/group leader. The group leader is responsible for putting them in number order and bringing them to me. Then I have 4 to 5 stacks that are each in number order and just need to be merged together.

    Saves so much time when you think about how many stacks of papers we are sorting each week!

    Love your blog, btw!

  • Ms.M from Teachingisagift March 11, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    LOVE numbering! Started doing it this year and it has worked wonders…even the French teacher at my school started using it…she looked at me the other day and said "Why haven't YOU ALWAYS done this?" I had to laugh, we are both a tad OCD. I think the highlighting idea is great…I'm going to start that after spring break…never too late to teach them something different. My only ACK moment happened when I read the comment about NEW students…I NEVER thought of that! What do you do with the numbers then? Would you add him/her to the end of the list? What do you do?

  • lcooney March 20, 2013 at 12:52 am

    I number my students too. I then use lots of evens and odds for taking turns, lining up, making teams, and etc. It really helps me keep things straight in my mind a lot better!:)

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