Today's teaching tip is a SUPER easy one that has made my life much easier. It has been especially important for my OCD as a middle school teacher where I've had more than 100 students in my classroom each day (Keep in mind, I am an ELA teacher, so this number is low for your average middle school teacher).
During the first week of school, I find it extremely helpful to number my students alphabetically. From that point forward, students are required to write their numbers on all assignments. This makes it painless to sort papers, a job I usually give to an early-finisher, for grading. When I grade their work, I don't have to scroll through my roster to add their scores to the gradebook because they're already in order.
In addition, I number all of my class sets of textbooks. Students then use the book that corresponds to their number, which helps for accountability when books become tattered and torn. It also helps me know, quickly, who still has a book if it's missing from my shelf.
I also like to use the numbers in instances when I want student responses to be anonymous to their peers. I've had several students who have expressed anxiety about hanging things in the classroom with their name plastered all over it. Others don't like people to grade their work. And I don't like posting grades with student names. Having my students numbered allows them to leave their names off their work so we can sill do these things without the anxiety.
The final way this is helpful is for random selection. There are a million apps and websites that allow you to input student names and randomly select one. Maybe I'm just lazy, but rather than entering in all of my student names, I can just put in their numbers and use the same list for all of my classes.
To differentiate between my classes, I just add a letter before the number. The first student in my first ELA block, for example, is A-1. That student would use book number 1, but the A is helpful for when papers end up in the wrong piles. It's really pretty easy.
In the instance that I have had students leave a class, I simply skip their number. If a new student joins, I just add them to the end. It's not a perfect system, but neither is life!