No Name Papers

No Name Papers. A pet peeve among teachers. This common mistake sends most teachers over the edge. As a result, they dish out crazy, “teachable” punishments – 50% off of a score, a 0 entered into the gradebook, an assignment thrown away. Calm down, things happen. I’m not here to offer advice on how to cure the problem of no name papers. It will always be a problem. I’m just here to talk about a realization I had today.

One of my favorite assignments of the year involves the students taking a branch of government, researching the branch’s powers in the Constitution, and turning that branch into a superhero. This is my 3rd year doing this awesome project. The students enjoy, and I appreciate, the creativity!

I had the students hand in their superhero drawings, but I am terrible with reminding them to add their names. This is due to the chaos throughout the day, and the fact that I rarely have them turn anything in on paper. As a result, I had many no name papers. You might think this was a nightmare, but this led to my realization…….it didn’t matter if they included their name on the paper.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not condoning this “no name” behavior. The amount of no name papers didn’t matter to me because each superhero was unique! During this superhero creation process, I was able to circulate, have conversations, and give feedback to every student. When it was time to hand back their creations, I knew every superhero.

If I gave every student a black and white worksheet, with branches of government questions, I would have at least 10 no name worksheets hanging on the wall. These papers would keep hanging there because I would forget to say, “Hey I have 10 no name papers, go claim yours.” At the end of the day, find ways for students to show their unique, creative sides. Find ways to create meaningful conversations and build relationships.

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