Management of papers in a classroom is always a challenge. The teacher must collect papers for grading and also distribute graded papers, memos etc. to the children for them to take home to show to their parents. My good friend and co-worker Beverly shared an idea with me that has saved many hours of work. We have two sets of mailboxes in our classroom; one for collecting written work, and the other for distributing it for the children to take home. We purchased cardboard shoe holders with compartments which can be labeled with the students' numbers and names. These can be found at discount stores such as Target and Wal-Mart. Put the boxes in different areas of the room so that you can monitor the children as they file their papers. This will prevent "papers to be graded" from getting in the take-home boxes.

(Click on the pictures for a larger view.)

Teacher Mailbox Student Mailbox

If you put a card in the front of each compartment and cover it with transparent sealing tape, you can change the names easily by marking the number and name with a Sharpie and erasing it with finger nail polish remover at the end of the year. We have self-contained classrooms and only have one class of students, but I can see how this would also work if you have multiple classes by just writing numbers on the cards.

When you collect papers from the "Teacher's Box", start at the bottom and collect them in reverse order. Your stack of papers will be numbered 1-20 from the top of the stack to the bottom. This system also makes it easy to see if a paper is missing from one or more of the boxes. After papers are graded, just put the stacks of graded papers on the table and collect the top paper from each stack, noting the name on each one in case a paper might be missing from one stack. Staple each child's papers together and they're ready to send home. We send our papers home once a week. You may have a different schedule.

Our second graders have folders which they take home every afternoon and bring back the next morning. These folders holds memos and papers that the parents need to see. A box for folders, as well as a basket for "notes for the teacher", are placed in a box on top of the student mailboxes.

With this system you will never have to file or sort papers on a day to day basis. What a time saver!


Our computers for Accelerated Reader tests are near the reading table where I work with small groups of children. To minimize distraction, I put a cardboard divider made of two cutting boards purchased from the fabric store. You can make the dividers more attractive by decorating them with laminated pictures.


Return to Reading Lessons