Managing Your Turn-In Tray Using Clothespins

Do you ever feel like you are constantly checking to see who has turned in work, who is still missing work, or who the no-name paper belongs to?  As a teacher, I think we all find ourselves dealing with the Turn-In Tray Mess!  I came up with an easy solution that saves me time and best of all, it's cheap and easy!

At the beginning of the year, I give each student a number.  It is their number to remember all year long.  It's their cubbie number, desk number, clip chart number, and best of all....their turn-in tray number!  For the turn-in tray, I put their numbers on clothespins.  Let me say, yes, I could have used Washi tape or dye or paint or cute little numbers for the clothespins, but I was going for FAST and EASY, my friends!  This is what my turn-in tray looks like before student work is turned in:

When the students go to turn in their work, they have to find their clothespin, clip it to the top of their paper, and place it in the tray.  This is what it looks like after work has been turned in:

This serves two purposes.  1) If you find a no-name paper, you can quickly figure out who the paper belongs to because their student number is attached and 2) You can easily see who hasn't turned in their paper!  Check it out below:

If you love this idea, please pick your favorite picture to PIN and spread the Bright Idea!


  1. Love this idea Jamie! Thanks so much for the great idea!!!


  2. What a fantastic idea!! Thanks for sharing. Even more...I LOVE this idea hop!! Great way for teachers to share.

  3. I am LOVIN this IDEA... you are only my 3rd stop and I have found 3 GREAT IDEAS... I am going to use this idea starting TOMORROW!!!! thanks so much!!!

  4. Love this idea!!!! I updated my post to introduce it more specifically. You da bomb, girl!
    Smiles - Lisa

  5. I love this, Jamie! What a time saver and such a great way to keep my kiddos accountable! (Your room is SUPER cute, too :0) !

  6. Awesome idea! I know I've got some clothespins laying around!

    Teachery Tidbits

  7. LOVEEEE this idea!! totally setting this up next week! I might scream if I have to ask jimmy and timmy one more time "did you turn in your writing?!?". Now, I'll know!! <3 I'm such a big fan of your products, so I'm definitely not surprised with home much I love this idea! THANK YOU!

    Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd

  8. Awesome idea! I will be using this beginning tomorrow! :)
    I have to ask... where did you get those adorable "turn-in trays" from? Love!

  9. I am totally setting this up tomorrow...LOVE it! :)

  10. I am totally in love with this idea! It is brilliant. This will make holding students accountable for their classwork, SO much easier. Thanks so much.

    Mrs. Rios Teaches Second Grade

  11. I'm a big fan of clothespins, and this is another great idea to use with them! Love it, Jamie!! Thank you so much for sharing!!
    Peace, Love, and First Grade

  12. I LOVE this idea! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Love this idea! Such a quick way to check if students have turned in their work!

    Sara :)
    The Colorful Apple

  14. So great! quick question...what if students need to hand in multiple things..especially for one subject area?

  15. BEYOND love this! Such an awesome idea. <3

  16. What a great idea! I will be implementing this for homework turn-in next week! :)

    The Fabulous Life of an Elementary Teacher

  17. What a great idea, or should I say Bright Idea! Mahalo for the tip. I will be doing this immediately!!


  18. Love this idea, Jamie! So simple, but so effective! Sharing on my FB page as we speak :)

    Teaching In the Early Years

  19. Thank you! Definitely will be starting this tomorrow!

  20. This will save me at least 5-10 minutes every morning! Thank you!

  21. Hey Jamie, I love this idea. I also love the vocabulary sheet these are attached to... :)
    Where do they come from??

  22. NM found it --!!

    Common Core Standards Reading Graphic Organizers

    (in case anyone else was wondering) :D

  23. Wish I had done this when I taught second! Awesome way to make sure they are all turning their work in.

  24. What a fantastic idea. I already have given students numbers and have them write it beside their name on everything, but this would make organization even easier.

    Mrs. Wiley
    @ Wiley Teaching

  25. Soooo clever! I think I might even try to have my kiddos put the clips onto their completed workbook page(s) so I don't have to search for it. Thanks for the idea! :)