Collecting papers in kindergarten doesn't have to cause a headache. Here is my simple way that I collect papers in my classroom that really works.
The papers. Oh, the papers.
Sometimes it seems as if there is a never-ending influx of papers that sometimes makes a teacher feel like this...
Can you relate?
I really can't stand clutter in the classroom so here's how I collected papers from my students. It's a super simple solution and allowed me to stay on top of of the paper mess.
A Teacher Mailbox
Near my teacher space, I had a mailbox. It is a (affiliate) vertical magazine file. I added a label on the front that says, "mail for Mrs. Simpson."
This simple mailbox is way better than your typical horizontal paper tray you might see in an upper elementary classroom. It can hold tons of papers and it doesn't matter how nicely (or messy) they are put in there by kinder hands. It can also wrangle random things turned in by students like coins found on the ground and such.
It isn't anything fancy - it just works.
Now here is how the papers get collected. My students did it.
They are responsible for turning in parent notes, signed forms, etc. as part of our morning routine. They checked their folders before placing them in their cubbie and turn anything in as needed.
This made it super easy on me to do a quick sort once we were all settled in the classroom in the morning. Having it near my teacher space was key.
Some mornings I could just eyeball what'd been turned in to see if anything warranted attention. But by emptying it before we got too far into our day I could easily make a pile of stuff to turn into the office, stuff to attend to during my prep period (like something I might digitize) or put it straight in the trash.
Tackling what was turned in right away meant there is no procrastinating and I could get the paper moved or taken care of with as soon as I had a break. That way paper didn't build up and I was saved from facing the "piles." I know some people organize in piles, but that's just not me.
Now, we did have a paper every now and then that got turned in from the daily work we did.
More often it was a project, special writing prompt or something along those lines... that is because I hate worksheets and they just weren't a part of what we did on a regular basis.
And if we did a worksheet, there is no way I was collecting them to "grade" or even check. I would do that as I would circulate and then they'd go straight into their cubbies. Just being honest.
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I saw your "grading" comment. My principal is wanting us to give numerical grades in Kindergarten this next year, and I am not a big fan of this idea. I'm just looking for any suggestions on a good way to do this. Have you given grades in K or know anybody who has that might have some insight? Thanks.
Leslie @KindergartenWorks says
Oh man - that can be so tricky! I don't have any solution to this to suggest right off the bat other than to be very selective in what you "grade." Perhaps you could try something like this (https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Kindergarten-Common-Core-Reading-and-Math-Data-Tracking-and-Assessments-560110) and convert the scores into grades? I haven't come across any other teachers in the blogging world to point you too either. But I truly wish you all the best in following your principal's direction.
How is grading worksheets different from grading interactive notebooks?
Leslie @KindergartenWorks says
Hi Beth, I don't have a lot of experience grading interactive notebooks. Nor, did we do a lot of worksheets 😉 I am probably just a little averse to "grading" if you ask me... but I did enjoy checking their math journals which were usually decently insightful. What do you find is different between worksheets and interactive notebooks? I don't really think that there is that big of a difference and might be one reason we didn't do them...