Why Use Student Numbers to Organize Your Classroom?

I have spent the last few days at school getting set up for the new year. School starts next week for us. I was talking with a new teacher who asked me about assigning student numbers. Specifically, she asked what I use them for. My answer was.... well I use them for pretty much everything. 

Cubbies with numbers assigned to each student.

I grew up with "hippie" free-spirit parents (I miss them) who would have thought assigning student numbers was too impersonal. But, after teaching a little while, I realized there are so many advantages to using a number system.

Each student has a number 1-30 that they are assigned for the whole year. For the most part, this is simply alphabetical order, except when new students come in during the middle of the year. They get whatever number spots I have available. When the class lines up, they stand in number order. Everyone knows where they are supposed to be, so there is no arguing about who is in front of whom. It also helps when we go to lunch. Students are already in order and the cashier can find them in the computer more quickly. Also, if I need to take attendance while they are in line, I can easily tell who is absent.

Numbered pospsicle sticks for
choosing students randomly.
Students write their numbers on their papers. I ask each row to put the papers in number order. It is easy to tell if any papers are missing. This saves time with entering scores into the grade book.

All books, cubbies, and mailboxes are labeled with numbers instead of names. The labels can be used year after year and do not have to be changed out. This saves me a huge amount of time at the beginning of the year.

I use wooden popsicle sticks to draw names for calling on students. They have numbers instead of names. My helper chart has numbers. Behavior charts can be set up with numbers. Think of things that come in a class set and are reusable. All of these can be labeled with a number and used repeatedly each year, allowing you to enjoy just a bit more of your summer vacation.

For labels, I use stickers, die-cut shapes, address labels, Sharpie markers, and even calendar cards. If the calendar cards are too big, I just reduce the size for printing. Last year, I put mini-calendar cards on each student's desk and changed them out each month with a new theme. Some students wanted to save all of their cards in a little collection.
Cupcake Calendar Cards
Available here

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