Tuesday, July 1, 2014

#Made for Math - The Pile Sorter

My biggest weakness as a teacher (at least from my perspective) is grading.  Although I feel I do a descent at verbal feedback, when it comes to written...no gold star for me.  Sad face.

I decided, at the end of this past year, that part of the problem might be organization and in order to combat the grading problem, I needed to tackle the organization first.  I have piles EVERYWHERE in my classroom (holla holla if you're a piles person)!  Now I know I said organization was the problem and piles might sound like a nice starting point...but here's where the problem begins.

Kids turn things in.  I sort it.  Make a pile.  Put a sticky note on the pile and a butterfly clip  to hold it all together.  And...well....that's it.  The pile just sits there.  A few days later when a kid asks "Hey!  Mrs. H, When are we going to get [insert assignment/quiz/test title here] back?" I find that pile, grade the pile in a quick manner, and by the time I get that back to the kids, the feedback has no meaning.  So there's the problem.  Here's what I came up with for the solution (hopefully).

Using 7 folders that I found at Target (clearance) I went to Staples (God love that place) to have the folders bound.  For  $4.99 I had an instant pile-sorter.  I had them use the biggest binding they had in order to allow for big piles (smile with a wink) and made labels for each of the folders.  One for each hour and one for answers keys and miscellaneous papers.  The plan is that the pile goes in the folder, the folders go home, and upon arrival of home the wine comes out, and the grading will begin!  The graded pile goes back in the folder, returns to school the next day (hopefully there was no spilled wine, and prompt feedback is provided.
 Meet The Pile Sorter

Biggest binding they had
Cute Folders

Cute Labels

The Pile Sorter open

And that's all folks.

So cheers to a year of prompt feedback and grading organization!


  1. Cute idea. I hope it helps you. Staying on top of paperwork is one the hardest/least fun parts of teaching for sure.

  2. Haha! I can so-o-o identify. I have found papers piled in my stairwell at home months after they were collected. I finally just gave up and went all digital. Now, assignments just dump to my gradebook. Good luck!

  3. I am packing to move, and found an old school bag from a few years back with all my sorted piles of papers I never graded. :/

  4. So, it's not just me, then? :) I try not to take papers home to grade but I think your folder would be helpful if I did. This year, I think there's going to be a timer system. I'll set a timer for 30 minutes in order to grade as much as I can every afternoon before I leave.

  5. I really like your timer idea, Kathryn. I would probably have to set it for an hour to guarantee 30 mins. of grading...my attention always starts to drift...eek!