Alphabetizing

A fellow teacher and I were discussing our weekends on Monday. I mentioned that my husband had helped me grade the precal tests (thanks, honey!). She mentioned that her husband had helped her alphabetize the papers.* I shared this with her, and she liked it, so I’m sharing with you:

In my continuing effort to touch each paper as few times as possible, I no longer collect papers. I have students stand up, bring the papers to my desk, and stack them. (Also gets them moving – hooray!) This year, I’ve also asked them to submit papers in alphabetical order. (I hear a student singing the alphabet song about once a week, but, as my mother always said, repetition is the key to learning. )

Where do you stand on alphabetizing papers? I started in grad school as a TA, and it’s always been easiest for me to grade in alphabetical order. I find it particularly helpful when I’m amalgamating several papers (a week of warmups, a two-part test) into one grade. I know some English teachers stack papers so that they see a few strong essays, then a few weak ones, then a few strong ones so that they don’t lose their perspective, but I alphabetize almost everything.  Anyone else?

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