Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Absent Binder

Not in the sense that the binder itself is absent. :) Rather, this is my latest and greatest idea for my absent students that will hopefully save some of my sanity.

As a teacher, it is important to recognize your areas for improvement. Personally, I knew I needed to improve:
1. my attendance records (While I post it on the computer as I should, I don't keep my own record. This has bitten me in the butt before.)
2. my system for getting absent students their work (This is a constant battle!)
3. my own ability to recall exactly what we did the day before (Because let's face it: my lesson plans are so full of objectives and standards it's really hard to just find the nitty-gritty.)

This was something I gave a lot of thought over Christmas break and I've tried many different ways of dealing with these three little problems. I finally came up with this little beauty, the Absent Binder.

The Absent Binder works something like this. It sits in front of the room with the student supplies and underneath the weekly lesson plan layout. Absent students check the binder. It has two pocket folders in it (one for each of my classes) and a bunch of forms like this.

Each day I bubble in the items that we did in class and add the details in. It is concise and to the point, exactly what an absent students needs to know and exactly what I need to refresh my memory about what was actually accomplished versus what I believed we might accomplish in my somewhat optimistic lesson plans. I also write the names of absent students and students who leave early in the box (attendance record!). Any handouts go in the pocket folder with the student's name in the top right corner. Now the responsibility is on the student to get the work from the binder! Then, once they've checked the binder and checked in with a friend, they can ask me very specific questions about the work if necessary instead of "Did we do anything yesterday since I wasn't here?" (I love that. "Absolutely not! We saw you were absent and decided we'd better wait until you were here to move on!")

We've only been back in school five days, but so far this is working like a charm! I'm actually keeping up with it because it's right in front of the room as a constant reminder. I had a student who just returned yesterday from Christmas Break and this was a lifesaver for the both of us!

What are your tips of the trade? How do you handle absent work in your classroom?

Next monster I need to tackle? RETURNING STUDENT WORK... *ugh*

UPDATE (01/14/2013) - The Absent Binder forms can now be found at my account. Click the Downloadable Templates tab to get there!

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