Keeping Science Papers on Hand
December 15, 2004
One of my most difficult organizational challenges is helping my seventh grade science students keep track of their work while also giving myself the flexibility and freedom to check their work at any time. I purchased plastic crates that are designed for file folders. Each of my six classes has its own crate. In each crate I put hanging file folders (enough for each pair of students to share one). Then I gave each student a paper report cover with pockets.
At the beginning of each period, students retrieve their “science folder” from the crate and pick up any papers necessary for the day's work, which I keep in wire baskets near the crates. At the end of the period, students return the science folders to the crates.
All science work remains in my room. I can check student progress on a lab, or grade papers a few at a time in spare minutes. Other benefits include reducing the number of students who “forget” to bring their binder to class and establishing a class routine, which helps with management.
One drawback is that all students in the class need to get to the same crate. I am moving into a new classroom in my building, and I am planning to try changing to alphabetized crates (A-D, E-H etc.) to see if spreading out the students makes this routine work more efficiently.