Several years ago, I received an email from a parent. she was concerned that she hadn't seen any graded papers coming home and had no idea how her son was doing in my class. I thought that was rather odd since my grade book is kept up to date and papers were mailed daily and their mailboxes were cleaned out daily as part of our pack up routine. I explained this to her in my response. Long story short...she found a bunch of papers crumpled up under his bed and in the back of his closet. And those were just the ones that actually made it home...he admitted that some went in the trash can he passed walking home through the park.
This experience led to a new routine in my classroom that year and it is one that I have used every year since....Tuesday Folders.
Each Tuesday my students bring home their Tuesday Folder filled with all of their graded papers from the previous week. Inside the Tuesday Folder is a paper that parents sign saying that they have received and looked through all of the papers. There is also a space that they can jot down any questions or comments.
Parents know to expect this every week and that if things appear to be missing that they should email me! We also have an online grade book system that parents have access to so they can cross check to make sure everything came home.
It has been a great way to keep everyone accountable. It keeps me on track with grading because everything needs to be finished and my grade book updated in a timely manner. It holds parents accountable, they sign saying they've seen all of the papers so there aren't any surprises come progress report or report card time. And students are held accountable because they know that their parents are expecting to see their folder and its contents every week...nothing can get thrown in the trash!
I chose Tuesdays because it gives me time if I need to catch up on grading over the weekend. It also allows me time to input grades into the computer on Monday when we return to school. Sometimes the system we use is difficult to access from home and I wanted to allow myself time for technical difficulties. Also, many of our school holidays fall on a Monday, so sending them home on a Tuesday helps account for those days off!
How I Organize Tuesday Folders
I have a bin in the classroom where I put papers that need to be mailed.
Graded papers and flyers that are going home go in this mail tray. One of our classroom jobs is "Mail Person," it is their job to work on mailing the papers. I sometimes have my junior high T.A.s help the mail person stay caught up.
I have a crate with file folders in it. Each students' Tuesday Folder goes back into their file when it is returned to school and the papers get "mailed," right into their folder.
On Tuesday when it's time for them to go home my helpers pass out folders and each student looks through their papers and organizes them into the folder.
If folders aren't returned to school by Friday, I send an email reminder to those parents to please look through their child's folder and return it to school.
This system has been a great way to make sure parents are informed of their child's progress and that no one is missing important papers. If you would like to try implementing Tuesday Folders, you can download an editable version HERE.