A Quick Tip that will make you happy

Do you hand out papers in class, but don’t like all the time and running around?

Sometimes a tiny little low-tech tip can make a happy difference in your classroom.  When I came up with this one, I wished I had known about it 20 years ago.  Maybe I can save you some time!

You have a stack of papers to hand out. (If you no longer hand out graded homeworks, exams, or reflections, then this tip isn’t for you! I’ll include a picture my wife took of our dog at the end so this isn’t a total loss.) If you have a class of 20, the solution is simple: Hand them out as the students walk in, chatting a bit, all casual If you have a class of 200, the solution is simple: You aren’t going to do it. You have already figured out a different way to get those homeworks back.

But what about the in-betweens? I have a class of 60. I think there is something to be said for having that connection, I bring their paper to their seat, from my hand to theirs. Even the people who sit in the back get a personal “hello,” and eye-contact.  But how do I make this go faster?

Oh my god, you are going to love me so much in a second.

When my students turn their papers in, they write three things in the upper right hand corner: Their name, my name, and “Front”, “Middle”, or “Back.” That’s it.  Then after I grade the papers I sort them into three piles. Only three piles – takes less than a minute.  And then I stack ‘em up and hand ‘em out the next day.

I never have to run from one end of the room to the other. I hang out in the back, then the middle, then the front, and Hey! I’m at the front of the room ready to teach.

Seriously – try it!

And this is a picture my wife took of our dog. I’ve titled it “Born to be Wild.”