Take a tip from experienced teachers across the country. Assign each student in your class a number, let them know what the number is, and list that number next to each student's name in your grade book. This simple step will save you time on a daily basis. Here's how and why a student-numbering system works:

  • Make it common practice for students to write their numbers next to their names or in the upper right hand corner of all their papers, including homework, tests, and worksheets. This allows you to arrange papers in numerical order to make sure they've all been handed in. In addition, it means you can record grades quickly in your grade book because the numbers follow the sequence of your class list.

  • Give each student two clothespins or jumbo paper clips with his or her number written on each. Students can use them when they have to stop working in the middle of a project. They can clip everything together and place the pieces on a countertop. Now all the projects are numbered so you know to whom they belong.

  • When students create folders, have all of them write their number in the same spot on the folder cover (in addition to their name). Have them place folders in a storage box in numerical order. Now students can quickly find their folders without having to look through the whole box.

  • Have students number their portfolios in a similar fashion. Then organize them in numerical order on a shelf. It streamlines the process of finding and putting away portfolios for everyone.

  • Number student mailboxes or cubbies. Then, when it's time to send materials home, the materials can just be put in numerical order and popped into mailboxes quickly. The number system also makes it easier for student helpers to pitch in.

  • When grouping students, occasionally group them using the numbers. Write the numbers on the board or call them out. Not only does it speed things up and create random groupings, it can add an element of fun and surprise for the students.


This article has been adapted from the Instant Desktop Organizer Teacher Handbook by Barbara Gruber and Sue Gruber (© 2004, Scholastic).