How to Keep Track of Completed Student Work

As a Third Grade teacher, I am caught in a place between overflowing paperwork and the struggle to keep track of it all. I don’t love to give worksheets to my students all the time, but to be honest there are just some things that work better with a piece of paper in front of my students. I would love to pretend that I can deliver 100% of my lessons paperless, but our school is currently not a 1:1 device school so that just isn’t an option for me. There is also the added factor of assessments. Having something concrete to look at that shows what your students have learned during the units that we as teachers spend 18 million hours prepping and creating for them. 

One of the simplest ways to ensure that your students hand in their work and are finished it is to have a set place for your students to turn it in. I know this sounds simple and obvious but it was one of the biggest things to change my classroom organization. There are many ways that teachers organize their incoming work, and if you have a system that works for you, that’s great! I’m going to share with you one of the ways that I keep track of it all in my room too. 
The first thing that helped is that I have multiple bins in my classroom for students to hand in work. I find that if I have one bin full of a mish mash of everything, everyone forgets about it. I forget what is in there, students forget if they turned it in, if it’s ready to be marked or if it is even completed!  I love having one dedicated bin for each assignment that I don’t want them to put into a duo-tang or to take home and it keeps me sane and my students on track too. 

The one of the hardest things to teach some students is how to be accountable for their work. Yes, yes. There are students who are naturally neat and who are organized and all their belongings immediately go back onto the shelf or in their cubby, and they even know what work has been completed and what needs to be finished.  And then, there are the those kids… You know who  I mean. The ones that you constantly hear yourself saying ‘put your work away,’ to or ‘put this in your backpack’ only to find that same paper with their name on it on your desk, under a table, beside a shelf or on the floor literally right beside where they are standing. You hear them say “where does this go?” even though they have been using that same booklet for the entire year and it has not moved places one time. The kids that can’t seem to find their pencil ever. The kids that lose their shoes before and after recess, can’t find the snack that they brought, or the ones who misplace the kleenex that they were just using to clean their nose on your desk. These are all true stories. 
 In order to keep these students a little bit more organized I make sure to tell everyone which bin their work goes into and then they sign it in. I will often say “If you are all finished your {insert assignment name here}, go put it into bin number 1 and give yourself a checkmark. 
When students have work that is unfinished, it automatically goes into their ‘Ketchup Folder’. This folder is a life saver. Everything that they need to work on goes into there, and if too much work begins to pile up, they are asked to take it home to complete. Incomplete work is much easier to track if it is all in one place. 
Here is what my ketchup folder looks like. I used simple black 2 pocket folders and created a cover with their name on top. These are an editable FREEBIE in my TpT store. Click here to go grab one for yourself. 

Labelling your bins is very simple way to keep things organized, visually easy to understand and follow, and even help you to remember what you need to mark. If you notice in the photo above I use number labels on my bins that correspond with an assignment name label that I have attached to my bulletin board above it. I laminated them so that they can easily be dry-erased and changed to meet my needs. I have 8 bins that I use as turn in bins. 
This makes it possible for me to collect everything in a different bin AND I can find it and hand it back easily if there is something that we have not finished. This process has saved my sanity and made it easy for my students to know where their work is. 
  • When I need something that we are working on, it is right there. No more searching.
  • When my students are finished with their work they know where to put it because it is properly labelled.
  • When my students have extra time, they can go back and check to see what needs to be finished, and they can check it off as completed for themselves. 
  • I have less chasing to do. My class has really learned to value this system. They know this work needs to be completed before anything else can be done. 
  • When the majority of my students are finished I can mark it and get it out of the way to make room for new work to go into this bin. 
  • It looks great! I love pretty things that are also organizational. This makes my heart happy. 
  • When students are going to be away because of recreational trips or if they are sick and parents wants work for their child to do at home while they are away, I can quickly see which students have work that is outstanding and grab it for them to take home. 
Here is a pinterst image just in case you want to come back! 

I hope you have a great day! 
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One Comment

  • thank you for these ideas! I’m going to try something similar. How often do you change the assignment basket labels?

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