13 Smart Ways to Eliminate No Name Papers


Sometimes it’s all about the little things. And every teachers know a little thing like no-name papers sure can be a pesky timewaster.

When this question came up in our Christian Teachers’ Lounge Facebook group, I knew these ideas needed to be shared.

How to get students to write their names on their papers

Some ideas may work better than others depending on your situation. So find an idea or two that resonate with you & go for it!

13 Ways to Get Students to Write Their Names on Their Papers

  1. Ask students to touch their name. About two minutes into an assignment, stop and ask students to touch where they wrote their name on their paper. – Jennifer F.

Alternate ideas:

*Have students put a star (or other symbol) by their name. Change the symbol each time so they have to stop & check for their name. – Nicole C.

*Ask students to raise their hand if their table mate has their name on their paper. – Sara B.

  1. Have students circle their name in green, yellow, or red. Andrea B. recommends having students circle their name in green if they understand the concept and are confident about it, yellow if the assignment was hard but they’re pretty sure they got it, and red if they need help or struggled. (I love this idea! It totally kills two birds with one stone because you not only ensure their name is on the paper but you can also quickly see who needs help.)
  2. Have students highlight their name before turning their paper in. Simple, effective, but I love the previous idea more. 🙂
  3. Deduct points. Simply deduct a point or two if there is no name on the paper. – Catelyn M.
  4. Give stickers. In primary grades, walk around the room and give each student a sticker when their name is on their paper. – Lisa M.
  5. Throw away no-name papers. Elizabeth M. says that she simply throws away any no-name papers. Students can find their paper in the recycle can or redo the assignment. (At first this sounded a bit harsh to me, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense to expect older students to be responsible in this area. It’s a natural consequence.) 
    Halyna M. has a fun twist to this. When she finds a no-name paper she announces “I’ve found another paper for the recycle bin – one less for me to grade!” Typically the kid hurries to fish it out and correct the mistake.
  1. Record a zero in the gradebook and keep a file of no-name papers. If the last idea seemed too harsh, then try this: record a 0 in the gradebook then put the no-name paper in a file. Students who notice they’ve received a 0 can find their paper in the file & turn it in for credit (or partial credit). – Catelyn M.
  2. Post a sign where students turn in papers. Post an obvious sign that says “STOP! Did you write your name on your paper?” – Catelyn M.
  3. Post no-name papers on the wall. Students must walk over & claim their papers. – Heather W.
  4. Use a “name check” call-and-response. If you use whole brain teaching, your students will totally get this one. Say “name check” and have the students repeat it back to you out loud three times while they check for their name. – Hannah S.
  5. Ask a student to check for names. When passing in papers, have a student check papers for names before the stack goes on your desk. Charlotte H. takes this technique one step further by assigning team captains who collect papers, check for names, and turn in papers to her. She immediately checks for no-name papers & hands any back to the team captain to find who them belongs to.
  6. Walk around and check. Simply walk around the room while students are working on an assignment and check for missing names. (This might be especially worthwhile during tests or quizzes.)
  7. Emphasize name AND date. Elizabeth H. notes that since she spent time at the start of the year teaching students to write the name and date on their paper, she has fewer students forget to write their name.

So try these tomorrow & you’ll never have to deal with a no-name paper again (that’s a realistic promise, right? 😉

But seriously, if you loved these ideas & would love to receive more practical ideas, click here to receive practical teaching tips each week.

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How do YOU get students to put their names on their papers? Share your idea with a comment below.


Linda Kardamis

I believe that when God calls us to teach, He promises the strength & wisdom to do it well. All we need to do is keep learning, growing, and depending on Him. I'm here to provide practical advice and Biblical encouragement so you'll have the confidence and perspective to not only inspire your students but reach their hearts as well.

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