Start at the Beginning
Grades 3-12: On the first day of school, ask the students to put themselves in alphabetical order according to last names. Starting with the first person in line, assign each student a number from #1 through the end of the line. Tell the students that the number should appear in the upper right hand corner of all papers, projects, folders, etc. If the students change classes throughout the day, you may choose to add a prefix to the student number. This might be the first initial of their homeroom teacher or the period in which they are in your class. (i.e. Aaron Adams in your third period class may have the number 3-1.)
You may assist the students with putting themselves in alphabetical order. First do the girls, then the boys and then the whole class.
Uses of the number system:
a. Students can place finished work in the designated place. Inexpensive plastic trays work well and come in different colors. At the end of class-time, you can quickly put the papers in number order to see who has not turned in work. Papers will be in order so that you can easily mark the grades in the grade book or computer grade program. A student can also easily put papers in order, also.
b. Need two teams? Divide by odd/even numbers or 1 through 12 and 13 through 24
c. If you need to keep samples of student work or if you only send papers home weekly, use numbered folders in a hanging file container. This can be used year after year since you are not putting names on the files. Quickly file the papers, which are in order, into the folders, which are in order. You can have a student file them, too. ***If it is a test paper that is for a particular student’s eyes only, give it to that student to put in his own file folder. If a parent walks in to have a quick conference, you can reach into the numbered file and have a quick sample of work.
d. For lower grades that have “classroom" helpers, go down the list in order. For each day the chosen students (one boy, one girl) does everything. That might include: line leader, paper passer, take out playground equipment, etc. They are called “Teacher Helper" The next day, those jobs go to the next boy and girl on the list. It’s easy to keep track and you don’t have students saying, “I never get to be line leader, etc."