I do not collect and grade homework. It takes me long enough to grade tests, quizzes, and lab reports without putting more into the mix. What I do instead is a walk around the classroom with a rubber stamp and an ink pad and I stamp completed homework. Then, when it’s time to take the test, I collect all the homework and enter the grades into the computer: 5 points for a stamped assignment, 4 points for an unstamped assignment that was completed after I stamped papers, and 3, 2, 1, or 0 points for unstamped, partially completed assignments.
It is important that the stamps I use are unique—students must not be able to simply go to the craft store and buy an identical stamp and use it to gain points they didn’t earn. Or worse, they might sell their stamping services to other students!
While in the past I have relied on commercial stamps that I acquired long enough ago for them to be hard to find, this year I decided to customize. I bought two stamps to start with: a flower shape and a spiral. The flower petals got the letters P-H-Y-S-I-C-S carved into them, while I carved out the “negative space” around those letters in the spiral, so they show up with the ink color rather than as the paper color.
For the upcoming third marking period, I wanted to make my own stamp. I looked for information on the internet, but I was unhappy with what I found. Either I would need to use a polymer set by a UV light (like some dental fillings) or one site recommended cutting up rubber bands. Or there was eraser carving, or linoleum block carving, neither of which fit what I wanted. So I decided to wing it. I spent some time wandering through a couple of craft stores, and came home with two pieces of foam rubber, some glue, and some wood bits, from which I made a working rubber stamp! The foam worked well, and I think I might make an instructable on this technique…though until further testing I do not know how long this stamp will hold up.
Here are my stamp images, in the same colors I have been using at school:
The orange-colored one is the one I just made from foam rubber. Here are the two most recent stamps, with the newly-made foam stamp on the right: