Introduction: Saving Time for Content

About: Middle School Math Teacher, part-time hobbyist, full-time problem solver

As a teacher, you know the value of every single minute allotted to each class. One thing that I have always found to be a HUGE time-suck is handing out materials and passing back papers. How did I address this? Quite simply, in fact.

This simple project saves me about ten minutes every class period. That gives me roughly an extra half of a class period every week to use on instruction and remediation! I place all handouts and returns into the students' folders during my planning time, and have trained my students to immediately check their folders when they enter the classroom.


1 Milk Crate for each class

1 Hanging File Folder for each student, a different color for each class (example: 24 students in 1st period = 24 red folders)

Step 1: Label

Using the file tabs that come with the folder, create a folder for each student

Step 2: Distribute

Split your folders equally between the crates.

Example: I have three sections that I teach (84-minute sections). The breakdown is:

1st Period (Red) 24 students

2nd Period (Yellow) 18 students

3rd Period (Blue) 21 students

In each of my three crates I have: 8 red, 6 yellow, 7 blue folders.

Step 3: Location, Location, Location

Strategically place the crates around the room away from each other. This allows students easier access to their folders, and cuts down on bottle-necking and chit-chat. Look for low-traffic areas, such as away from the door, trashcan, and pencil sharpener

Classroom Organization Challenge

Runner Up in the
Classroom Organization Challenge