I found these magazine holders at Ikea last summer for just a few dollars. I labeled one for each of my classes. Whenever I collect an assignment, I just store them in the corresponding file. I try to grade and input work right away, but if it takes me a few days to get to it, I know all the papers are organized and waiting for me right where I want them. When I’m ready, I just pick up one file at a time and take it to my desk to grade. I have been thinking about moving my Turn It In Station closer to my desk so that it’s more convenient when I grade papers, but I don’t like students congregating near my desk or wandering over by it with late work. It makes me nervous. And suspicious.
If a student has late work, I never let them give it to me. They must turn it in to their class’ file. And I’ll get to it when I get to it. (I love how students who turn in late work are the first ones to complain that their grades have not been updated yet! Really, you want me to hurry now? Haha).
That phrase “whenever I collect an assignment” sounded misleadingly simple. Collecting an assignment takes training and skill. There is always a student who is in charge of gathering the papers for his or her group. Depending on how I have the seats arranged at the moment, this might be the person in the front row, or the person in a certain spot in a group. ALL the papers in the pile must be facing exactly the same way–they cannot be upside down, backwards, or weird in any way. And if I don’t see names on papers I don’t pick them up. I only collect papers once. If you missed it for any reason, you are in charge of getting your assignment turned in to the right box (facing the right way!). I warn my students that I am crazy when it comes to turning in work, and it is either perfect, or I don’t take it. By the end of the year they are fabulous turner-inners.