The Evolution of Homework Collection - A New Routine To Keep It Simple

Teaching is a wonderful world of constant change. Although some of the changes we make in our classrooms are mandated, many are based on our own professional judgement. We are given the creative power to tweak our classroom environment and routines in ways that make each school day meaningful and exciting for students. One of the best things about being a teacher is making small tweaks within a year or throughout several years to maximize efficiency in the classroom. 

Tweaking Your Homework Collection Routine

One of the classroom routines I have been tweaking every year for seven years is my routine for collecting homework. Those first few minutes when students walk into the classroom are filled with a lot of hustle and bustle...and an occasional unexpected surprise. Homework collection should be quick and seamless. A few routines I have tried with short-term success are:


Students place their homework in a turn in bin. The pros? Homework submission was quick for students. The cons? I often found nameless papers and it took too much time to sort through the pile to figure out who had & hadn’t turned in homework.


Students place their homework on the corner of their desk before starting their morning work. Teacher walks around and collects homework from each student. The pros? I was able to greet each student at their seat first thing in the morning. It was easy to see who had & hadn’t turned in homework. The cons? The collection process was time consuming and homework crowded students’ work space.


Students place their homework in a pile at a central location on or near their table group. Teacher walks to each group’s “turn in spot”, thumbs through papers and collects. The pros? I was able to collect homework fairly quickly. The cons? My less organized students who benefit from visual cues (they didn’t take note of the flat stack of papers piled near their seat) consistently needed reminders to turn in homework.

My Favorite Homework Collection Routine

The routine that has been most efficient for my students is very similar to the group station routine with an added layer of organization. The Homework Drop Box makes turning in assignments quick and easy for students and teachers. 


At the end of each day during Tidy Up Time, our Teacher’s Assistant places a drop box at each table group. 

When students arrive the following morning, they walk to their group drop box, find the file folder with their name on it, and drop their homework inside the folder. Students place their assignments in their folder standing tall in portrait-style rather than laying down in landscape-style. This allows the teacher to quickly walk to each station, thumb through each folder and instantly see who has and hasn’t turned in homework. 

The teacher can then grab the top of all the papers at once and pull the assignments out into a neatly organized pile. 

In my classroom, the Teacher’s Assistant then moves our drop boxes out of the way until we need them later in the day, or until the next school day. 

Having a smaller file box at each group, rather than a larger one for the entire class eliminates the problem of a long line to turn in homework. This means students settle into their seats and start their morning work without wasted time.

Although some of the changes we face as teachers tend to throw off our equilibrium for a moment, focusing on smaller changes that benefit our students helps bring us back to a more balanced and efficient groove in the classroom. 


If you are interested in trying the Homework Drop Box routine in your own classroom, grab my free Homework Drop Box Labels here and my favorite study, slim file bins here.


  1. Hi, the link for the file bins brings me to the labels again. Where do you get the bins from?

    1. Found them!

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