I'm grading along in a pile of journals, and I grade Steve Student's journal for the day. And then right behind it, in the middle of the pile, is Steve Student's journal from the previous week. (These are journal assignments where the students have to turn in 10, but they have 15 opportunities over the course of the semester.)
I've already turned back the previous week's journals (before this week's were turned in).
Does Steve Student really think I won't notice? Does he think I'll think I lost his journal assignment before?
I'm guessing this strategy has worked for Steve before, because every year, some student (or more than one) does this sort of thing, putting an assignment due previously into a current stack. And they wouldn't be doing it in college if they didn't think it would work.
Of course, if I were horribly behind on grading and had all the stuff in the same pile, it might work. But I'm not and I don't.
The thing is, I have to give some response, right? That is, I guess, I feel like I have to be ready to prove to a complaining student that I didn't accept the journal because it's late, and I can demonstrate it's lateness, and I need to be able to do that with no context because when the student complains, I won't have the rest of the pile surrounding the paper and such.
I usually put something along the lines of "this journal is late (and was in the middle of a pile of journals all dated this week), and I don't accept late journals."
I'm not just being petty in not accepting these late. One of the points of the assignment is that it helps students prepare for that day's discussion. It's a starting point, and not something the student should write after having listened to other peoples' ideas. (There are other assignments for responding to discussion and such.)