Well, as teachers, we are never at a loss of paperwork coming in and going out. Certain times of the year I become overwhelmed by the paper avalanche. Right now, we just finished up p/t conf and are in spring break, so I was at the overflow point with paper. I did a massive purge and grading session. I passed out a ton of papers to go home. Now I am back at square one. Here is how I try to stay on top of the paper monster:
1. I try to always have papers going out. I try to grade papers as quickly as possible. Sometimes in a minimalist way. My phonics pages I grade in this way- I take a quick glance, I have a correct sheet in front of me. If anything looks horribly wrong I write about it on the page, but mostly I am just doing a quick once over.
2. I recycle everything I can. I write my notes down in my planner and purge the papers.
3. I file as quickly as I can. I try to do the filing as soon as something is leaving my hand, but this sometimes is not a possibility. So, I will put it in a stacker to file at the end of the week. On Thursday or Friday, I take time to file my papers.
4. As we are working on projects, I leave the unit/themed files in my stacker. This way, it's easy to return originals to their files fast. Then when the unit is complete and all original papers are back in the file, it goes back into the file cabinet.
6. There is a basket that the kiddos turn all finished work into. I dump the basket over at the end of the day and take it home to grade. Yes, I said take it home. I know, not what you want to hear...but I use all my planning time doing things like- make copies, grade big spirals from reading group, grade heavy workbooks, and any other item that is too heavy to lug home. I always have papers coming home with me. Booo!
This is a sadly blurry pic of the "unfinished file" crate (green) and the "finished basket" (wicker).
7. Kiddos save unfinished jobs in a file (seen above) or folder, depending on what it is. BUT, I think next year I will do it in a more visible way. I have them "clean out" their folder in front of me on a weekly (or so) basis so I may see what they truly have left to complete. Not, what they feel like doing. Although, I have to remember to do this with them. If I had the unfinished work more visible- it might be harder for them to "forget" they have left over work to do and easier for me to see who keeps having work left over.