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Turning in Work in the Morning


Mary Warren

I have the hardest time taking attendance, getting lunch count, and getting all the homework turned in in the morning. It seems like everyone, including me, is going crazy first thing in the morning. The students all want to talk, share ideas, give me notes or just put things on my desk, and I feel like I "snap" and tell them "just wait unti I call for it." I have morning work for the students, but some get so in to it that they are not listening for me to call for their homework. I like to get everything done first thing so I know who has no recess or silent lunch for not turning in their homeowrk, because I do not have a spare moment until recess/lunch. Please ANY and ALL ideas are welcomed!


a couple of ideas

A couple of ideas I had when I read your message: Could you have a place in your room where the students pile the homework assignments in the morning? Another teacher I know uses her back counter for that. Or if you can, I make my way around the room in the morning while my students are doing their morning journal and they could have their homework out on their desk at that time. I do this to give them stickers on a reward chart for reading and doing their homework at night. I personally don't collect all of the work at that time because it seems overwhelming. I just collect the homework throughout the day. During math class I collect the math homework, during reading I collect the reading homework, etc.

Terri in NC

Senior Member

What I do to help me in the morning is assign helpers to do this. Each child has a number. They are required to put that number on all work. As the childern enter the classroom each morning they have a set number of tasks to complete...use the bathroom, check in etc. One of their tasks is to put their homework in the correct basket. While they are doing their tasks, I take attendance, speak briefly to parents while my homework helper checks the homework. He/she puts the homework in numerical order. If there is a number missing, he/she looks on the check-in board to see who has the missing number. She/he then goes to the student to ask if they have their homework. She/he will also go to the student if the student has forgotten to put their number on the work. All of this is completed by the time the tardy bell rings. As the students complete their morning work, they put it in the yellow basket to be picked up and graded later. This has worked wonderfully for me!

4th grade

homework idea

I have a plastic file folder tote, the one with a handle that you can buy at walmart for really cheap. I labeled it "homework" and inside I placed a file folder labeled with each students name. When they come in, they place their homework in the folder with their name. About ten minutes after school officially starts, I have a job helper (same person for the week) come up and mark on a sheet if each student turned in homework. Then I can quickly look to see. This works great!!


Combining Strategies

I use several different strategies,and as I am still learning (in year 5 of teaching 4th grade) I am still "tweaking" to see what works best. Don't be afraid to change your procedure mid-year, mid-trimester, whatever. Just be sure to TEACH EXPLICITY your new procedure. I use a combination of things. 1st, I set a teach timer (on the overhead) for 10 minutes. Students know they have 10 minutes to do the following:
1. take out ALL homework
2. check for name, number and date on all of it
3. pass it in (the table monitor for each group sorts it into NUMBER ORDER)
4. get started on morning activity (posted on board, paper on desk, mountain language, journal writing, whatever...)
5. finish morning activity up to the # specified (if applicable).
I sort through the homework immediately and check for any missing numbers at a table. It's easy to check to see if you have 5 math papers for table 1 that has 5 people.

During this time I am also taking roll, students say "Here, Yes" or "Here, No" when their name is called. A yes, means all homework was turned in. A "NO" means they are missing one or more assignments. I visit all the "nos" during any independent work time in the morning to find out exactly what they're missing. Another option is to have a pocket chart with each students' number on it and colored cards (red/green) if they're missing any h.w. they change card from green to red and it's a great visual! You easily see whos missing hw. They are very honest b/c I have taught them that I WILL FIND OUT if they are trying to hide anything!


collecting work

My class is divided into four groups. Each group has a group manager. I set aside 5 minutes of time before the first lesson called "this and that." Before this 5 minute slot, I've taken attendance and the students are working on morning work. The group managers collect the morning work and place it in the morning work bin. They collect the homework I've asked for. If I want homework out for collection I write a message on the board for them to see when they get in. Group managers check for names and if complete. If it's not complete then the group manager makes sure the student fills out a homework excuse form. If homework is forgotten, etc. the student loses recess. This is all taken care of in that five minutes of allocated "this and that" time.

Also, my notes to teacher go into a tray that is separate from my desk. The students know to place notes here, and I'll pick them up while they do morning work. I try to have the room working independently during those first ten minutes of class time so that I can get done what I need to get done.

P.S. I don't collect math homework. We go over that during math. However group managers check to make sure math homework was done. If not--homework excuse.


Full Member

I teach third, and have struggled with this. What I do know (and what works for this year) is each student has a homework f(manilla) folder on their desk when they walk in. They put their homework in it, and my helper collects it, and puts the folders in numerical order. When I get a chance in the morning (sometimes later in the dya to be honest) I go through the folders. I quickly can tell who is missing assignments, and then conference with them. This has helped me tremendously.


Senior Member
Morning routines

Here is what my students must do each morning:

- Unpack backpacks
- Get water, use bathroom, sharpen pencils
- Turn in homework in tray on back table
- Get ready for our first subject
- Read/study quietly (there's no time for warm-ups)

As soon as they are quiet and seated, I take lunch count. I just tell them to raise their hands. Next year I'll probably have a way for them to check in so I can just glance at a chart or something.

I only have 13 students, so I know this isn't always possible for everyone. My students do bombard me with questions and things in the morning, and I tell them to follow the routine. Every time a kid comes up to me, I say, "Follow the routine." It took a while, but now they know to FOLLOW THE ROUTINE. :)

teacher of 4

15 students

Hi. I agree with your message, but I want to say how envious I am of you. 15 students!!! I am dealing with 33 this year. Uggh!

Carrie in WV

Full Member

I bought a desk set at Target that has a number for every day of the month--it's for paying bills. Each one of my kids has a number, so in the morning as they come in, they fold their paper like a "hotdog" and slip it in their numbered slot.

If all homework is done at the end of the week, the child gets to play "homeworkopoly".


Junior Member
Morning routine

Hi Mary,

The morning is always such a hectic time! I've gotten so many good ideas from other teachers - here are some that work for me...

The overhead projector has directions (unpack backpack, give homework to your group's "getter", journal topic, warmup activity, cursive practice, etc.) for the students to follow.

I tally cooperative group points on the whiteboard to encourage them to get settled quickly. I ask the students not to ask me questions, etc. during this time. When they are all settled, then I quickly go to each group (I have 8 this year!) to take those important questions and comments.

A student helper takes lunch count, while I record absences (I just look for empty seats).

Then I ask each group's getter (this job rotates daily) to bring up the homework. S/he tells me who is missing which assignments - I record them on small class check-off lists. Math assignments I usually quickly "eyeball" and then give back to the getter, since we'll correct them together.

I have stacking files (one for each subject) on the counter - classwork assignments and LATE homework assignments are filed there by the students. (I usually check those files later or after school.)

I also have a "mailbox" (magnetic file) on the side of my desk for notes from home, etc. I check my mailbox as soon as I've finished collecting the homework.

Then I usually have a few extra minutes to touch base with students who were absent, etc. before we end our "morning opening" by doing the flag salute.

It takes awhile for the students to learn the routine, but now that they know it, the first 25 minutes of our mornings are now calm and focused!


morning routine

in the morning my kids sign in. This means they hand in their homework in the appropirate folders and check off that they have handed it in on a chart in a binder i have made. Then they sign up for lunch this way: I use a clipboard that says "bringing" down the left side and "buying" down the right side. The students each have a clothespin with their name on it that they place on either the bringing or buying side.

I have a student helper that puts all the homework in numerical order and double-checks it against the check marks in the sign in binder. I am notified of any discrepancy and speak with those students while they are working on their morning work. If students don't have an assignment, they put an L in the box of the sign in sheet instead of a check. (L stands for late). then i know that they didn't turn it in. When they do, they change the L to a check mark. 3 L's in one week means you lose recess.


New Member
This works well for me

I know there are a ton of great ideas out there, but I thought I'd share what works well in my classroom.

I put a bellwork assignment on the board (for any of you familiar with Mr. Wong's strategy, you know what I"m talking about) The students put backpacks away, turn in assignments and begin working on bellwork immediately.

During this 5-10 minutes, I take roll. As I go down the list, students answer yes or no. Yes if everything from the previous day (or everything period) is turned in. No if they have missing work, forgot it at home, or whatever) Those students who say no, are noted on a blank class list, and then before recess, they have to tell me what they are missing and lose recess to work on it.

This works very well for me and students tend to be honest, especially if they know they get into deeper trouble if they lie about turning things in.

As far as lunch count, having students put a colored stick in a card pocket or use a clothespin to tell if they have hot lunch or not can be a self-directed student thing that is done as they walk in.

Hope this helps :)


Get Organized!!!

I'll Tell You What I Do With My Students And Works Perfect!first When They Get In The Morning They Get Their Homework,reading Book,ect.then,when They Are Done Fixing Everthing They Raise Their Hand And I Call Them To Put Their Bachpacks Away And Get Breakfast . Then I Start Passing By Their Desks And Check Homework And/or Tell Me Something And If They Don't Wait Till I Am There I Keep Them Afterschool Doing Extra Work.


How My Teacher Does It

My teacher bought some colored baskets.Then she put some clothespins on the side of them.(She put everybody's name on one.)Every afternoon if we have homework she'll tell us what color basket to put it in in the morning.Then in the morning everybody who has their homework will go over to the colored baskets,find the colored basket that the teacher said to put it in.Then they look for their name and hook it to their homework paper. And then when the teacher is ready to check our homework she looks at whoever's name is left. Then she can determine who will need to sit out because they didn't do their homework. For lunch count my teacher got a big piece of construction paper and laminated it. She uses clothespins with everybody's name on one. The construction paper is divided in two columns (brought lunch or buying lunch). We put our clothespins on the correct column. Use the lunch count to take attendance.


Senior Member
Homework line

I have a closeline put up under my front chalkboard. I have it attached with cup hooks. Each child has a clothespin with their student number onit. (That way I can use the same ones year after year.) When they unpack in the morning they put their homework on the line. It is so easy to check what is done. I can see at a glance who has and has not turned in homework. My first 10 years of teaching was a hassle to collect homework. The last 4 has been much easier. In fact, many of the other teachers in my building also use this idea.

I even have a clothes pin for me. Any notes for me go on that pin. Any notes for others such as the nurse or office go on their own pins.

Give it a try.

Marie from PA