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 Box.net account. Click the Downloadable Templates tab to get there!



This blog is linked up with Delightful Order's linky party.




114 comments:

  1. I have a folder for each class period in the front of the room. If a student is absent I put their name on whatever handout/assignment I gave out and and put it in their class period folder. I also keep a list of notes that we have taken each day. When a kid is absent I just point them that way.

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    1. I would love this template please!

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    2. What's a "Bell Ringer"?

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    3. A bell ringer is an activity that you do at the beginning of class to start it. It's a warm up activity.

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  2. I like the binder idea! I also have folders that I staple to my wall for each class and then put the handouts or things I handed back for the student with their name on in the folder. The problem is kids don't check the folder or still ask me "Did I miss anything". The folder is concise as to what they missed including information items that are not necessarily in handout form. Great idea.

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  3. I would love the template. I'm always looking for ways to hold my kids more responsible.

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    1. Yes I would like the template too please. gwena.walker@myemail.indwes.edu. Thank you!

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  4. I would love the template as well! I stumbled upon your blog one day while working on my Language Arts lesson plans - while I have a folder with absent work, the template for a sort of "lesson plan" definitely fills a gap. :)

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  5. Thank you all for sharing your ideas and expressing interest in the templates. It makes my heart happy. :) I've just linked up to my new Box.net account. You can get there by clicking the Downloadable Templates tab at the top of the page. I don't have the Absent Binder templates there yet, but I should by Monday or Tuesday next week.

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  6. Love, love, love!

    Could you speak more to how you teach vocab? That is the one area I feel I'm still lacking, 5 years
    later. I noticed you do a word a day. What do the students do with their words? How many before assessment? I'm tired of using boring packets!

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    1. I definitely will talk about it, though I'm not sure how helpful it will be! My vocab process is constantly evolving. I'll reply again when I have it posted! Thanks for the suggestion! :)

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  7. This is a great idea! I've been working on putting together a teacher binder/keeper for the fall, and have been inspired to upgrade my other organizational strategies--or lack there of, and happened upon your blog in the searching. Absent work/students has always been a big problem for me. I also love the missing work log. Thanks for sharing your great ideas! Please keep them coming!

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    1. This absent work binder was seriously the best thing I did in my classroom last year. I didn't do it until second semester and I loved it! Give it a try. Thanks for the kind words. :)

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  8. I have been searching for years to find something like this... I would LOVE to have this template... How can I get it from you?

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    1. Hi Heather,
      If you scroll to the top of the webpage you will see a link that says Templates for You! If you click that it will take you to my Box.com account where you can download all of my templates for free. Help yourself to the Absent Binder sheets and any others. Glad you like it! Let me know how it works for you. :)

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  9. Hi Stephanie! I am so glad I found your AWESOME blog right before my first year teaching junior and senior English begins! If you would email me your absent binder docs I would be forever grateful and any other tips for a first time English teacher would be GREATLY appreciated:)
    Thank you so much!

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    1. Hi Faith,

      If you scroll up to the top of the website there is a tab that says Downloadable Templates for You! If you click that, it will take you to my Box.com account where you will find the absent binder documents ready to download.

      Some of the best advice I have can found on the sidebar under the "Most Popular Posts." Many new teachers have found the Letter to First-Year Teachers and the Sanity Saver very helpful. We also had a discussion on the blog very recently that you might like. Here's the link. http://www.eatwriteteach.com/2013/07/classroom-must-haves-for-first-year.html

      Best of luck to you!

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  10. Love this idea!!!!!!!!! Making my binder this weekend!!

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  11. Could you send me how to get to the template directly? I had problems trying to do the box.net thing! Sorry! Thank you so much!!! Love your idea! I am a first year teacher (I haven't even started, yet!) and I am so nervous! This seems like a great organizational idea!

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    1. Sure thing! Just email me at stephanie(at)eatwriteteach(dot)com and I will reply with the file you need!

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    2. Thanks so much, this its the best idea ever!

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  12. What a BRILLIANT idea! I hate when I'm in the middle of something and the absent student(s) always ask "What did I miss?" This takes care of everything!

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  13. I would love the template! I love your posts, finally a great blog for high school!

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  14. I LOVE your Absent Binder and would LOVE the template

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  15. Love this idea. Would love the templates.

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  16. Please share your absent binder remplate with me!

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  17. Thank you for all of these ideas. I plan on using them in my classroom this up coming year.
    What is your late policy? Do you give them a certain amount of time they have to turn in late work?

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  18. I like the templates. Would I be able to get a copy please?

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  19. I would like a copy as well, please. Thank you! I teach 8th grade and typically have a student responsible for writing the absent students' names on handouts, but there is so much more that's missed than handouts. AND they rarely get the other "stuff"... Thanks again!

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  20. Hey Everyone! The absent binder templates are available for free to you! Just click the tab that says "Free Templates for You!" It will take you to my Box.com account where you can download that template and many more. Thanks for reading!

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  21. This is my third year teaching and keeping up with student absents is a problem. I would love a copy of your template.
    Thank you
    Marisa
    Marisalewis133@rocketmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just click the tab that says "Free Templates for You!" It will take you to my Box.com account where you can download that template and many more. Thanks for reading!

      Delete
  22. Hi I would love to get the template from you.

    Thank you,
    Brittney

    b-huddleston@hotmail.com

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    Replies
    1. Just click the tab that says "Free Templates for You!" It will take you to my Box.com account where you can download that template and many more. Thanks for reading!

      Delete
  23. I would love a form!!

    CWags419@gmail.com - thanks so much

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    1. Just click the tab that says "Free Templates for You!" It will take you to my Box.com account where you can download that template and many more. Thanks for reading!

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  24. This will be a lifesaver for me! Thanks.

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  25. I love this absent binder! I am putting together my own and was just wondering what you have typed on the front cover sheet under Were you ABSENT? I want to put some simple instructions on there but would love some suggestions!

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    1. Hi Laura,
      My binder says the following:
      Were you absent?
      Check this binder.
      Check the homework board.
      Check the class website.
      Check with a friend.
      Still confused?
      Check with Mrs. Richardson

      That way they should hopefully only have to touch base with me if they need to schedule a make up test or something. :)

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  26. Thanks Stephanie! I love all of your ideas and templates! They are really helping me adjust my organization for this coming year! I was wondering what size binder works best for the Absent Binder and the D.O.T. Binder?

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    1. Laura,
      I use a one-inch binder for the Absent Binder and I had to upgrade to a two-inch binder this year for my D.O.T.

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  27. I would love a copy of your absent binder sheet and your missing work. Your ideas are awesome!! tabacco.heather@meridianschools.org

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  28. I use a similar system, but I assign a trustworthy student in each period to complete the binder for me. It's a yellow binder, so we just call it "the yellow book." Each yellow-book student has a backup, and gets an occasional Starbucks or smooth from me as a thank-you for a job well-done. :)

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  29. I just stumbled across your page. I am a first year teacher and about crazy from all the stress! I downloaded everything! Thank you so much, it is my new survival guide!!! :)

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  30. I would like your templates if I can change them around for my high school kids?

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  31. This is really interesting I would love to have a template of this if it is still available.

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  32. Do students have to make up bell ringers?

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  33. I would love the templates....
    cmalm@ssc.mntm.org

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  34. Stephanie - What a great idea. I have tried a million different strategies for absent/make-up work. I love the one page summary sheet. Makes it easy to quickly notate. I would love a copy of your template. Thanks, Melissa

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    1. Sorry, I did not leave my email address. It is mforsythe@tampabay.rr.com

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  35. While I have a system, I'm always looking for a better way! This looks easy to follow and I sure would love to try it! Please..a copy of your template.... Thanks!

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  36. I would love to have a copy of this. What a very organized system.!

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  37. My e-mail address is amclean502@gmail.com

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  38. Love it! My email is emgager@gmail.com :)

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  39. Thirty years under my belt and these are still struggles for me. Great idea! jobaker@rebelmail.net

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  40. Thanks for such an easy, yet detailed way for students to find out what they missed. I'm looking forward to trying it out this fall!

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  41. Thank you so much for sharing this idea and template! Make up work was a major source of stress and frustration this year. You have saved me tons of time and energy! :)

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  42. Great idea, thank you. Can I please have a copy of the template?

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  43. This is a great idea! Could you send me a copy of the template?

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  44. I am positive that you've solved the problem, since this post was over a year ago, but if you are still looking for a system of getting graded work returned, I'll be glad to share what's worked for me. I just need to download the absent binder template first. ;-)

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    1. I am absolutely still open to suggestions on this! I suck at returning graded work. It was better last year... but it still sucked.

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  45. I love this idea, Stephanie! I would love a template! I am going into my second year of teaching and found absent work to be a nightmare for me to keep track of. What a great idea!

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  46. Can you email the template to me? jackilynlea@gmail.com
    This is fantastic!!

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  47. I would love a copy of these forms. I also struggle with keeping up on what absent students miss. Thanks so much!!

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  48. Love this idea and I will definitely try this for the new school year. Did you ever decide on your Vocabulary strategy? I also struggle with it. I teach 10th grade. Last year I taught 10 to 15 words per week. Do you do a word a day? Also, we are on a modified block schedule with 3 period days and 2 block days, so I go one whole day without seeing my classes. Any tips/suggestions regarding vocabulary instruction would be most helpful! Thank you!

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  49. What's a "Bell Ringer"?

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    1. Bell Ringers are activities that you have students do upon entering the classroom. Some people just call them warm-ups, bell work, or class starters. They are meant to help students begin focusing right away. It's often used as part of a bell-to-bell work policy.

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  50. I'd love to have a copy of your template. I struggled with this last year, so I'm hoping this is the cure. Thanks!

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  51. I would love a copy of your templates. I have been trying to answer this problem for years. My email is Jenniferreneefee@yahoo.com

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  52. I would love this if you would email it to me minder_pinder@yahoo.com

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  53. Hey Everyone! Just a reminder that The Absent Binder forms can now be found at my Box.net account. Click the Downloadable Templates tab at the top of the website to get there! Thanks! :D

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  54. Is the cover to your absent binder on the box.net as well? I love it!

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  55. Great resource! Thank you! I'll get a copy please!

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  56. I would love the template for the absent binder! cjimeno08@gmail.com

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  57. I would love the template for the absent binder! Great! makingyoupretty@yahoo.com

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  58. I would love the template for the absent binder! lgurkin@whiteville.k12.nc.us
    Thank you!

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  59. I would love the template. This is so great! Thanks. rebelling@crics.asia

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  60. I've been wanting to do this for 2 years! Classes start next week so I still have time! I would love your template please! Thank you!!! Hvivar@hbuhsd.edu

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  61. I would love the template. Thank you for the idea! osvmejia@gmail.com

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  62. Thank you for the idea! I would love the template, mdelrio57@gmail.com

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  63. I love this idea can you please send me a copy? kjones@zanesville.k12.oh,us

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  64. I would like a copy of the template please! Email it to tbarker@access.k12.wv.us
    Thanks!
    Tracey

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  65. Could I get a copy please? Krhenry19@Gmail.com

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  66. please-leezaeb@leeschools.net

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  67. May I have a copy!! Leslie_kim@gwinnett.k12.ga.us

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  68. May I have a copy of your template, please? I've been struggling with what to do with missed work and I think this will work wonderfully. Thanks so much! edfost3552@gmail.com

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  70. I'd love your template to share with my peers! Villanueva.rebekah@brevardschools.org

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  71. I would love a copy of your template! Thank you! Cecilia92@live.missouristate.edu

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  72. Have you ever finished the RETURNING STUDENT WORK issue? If so, could you please e-mail me the link to it. lilmavrck@hotmail.com

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  73. I would love a copy of your template! Thank you! mseshuncares@gmail.com

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  74. Awesome idea! I would love a copy of your template! cvasile222@gmail.com
    Thanks so much!

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  75. This will really help get my 1st of teaching 6th grade off to a somewhat organized year. Thanks for suggestion and I would love a copy of your template!...email to gbess_66@hotmail.com ...

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  76. I would love to receive your templates since I was unable to get them through your box account. rl1235@messiah.edu

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ruth,
      If you don't mind, try this link and if it still won't work, message me again and I'll shoot you the email. (I'm trying to do some troubleshooting with the Box.com account.) https://app.box.com/s/l2d9apnj3a3j1kmi0nam
      Thanks!
      Stephanie

      Delete
  77. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  78. I love this idea! I'm assuming you have more than one class per prep. In the binder, how do you handle/account for a class getting derailed from the schedule (i.e. assembly, testing, early outs, etc.)?

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    1. Hi Erika,
      So, it's not glamorous or earth-shattering by any means... but I just throw a Post-It note in there lol. I just put something like "Heads-Up, 3rd Period! You don't need to do this assignment yet!" or something along those lines. Usually it works just fine. :)

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    2. so is there a download for the cover? or just the pages inside?

      Delete
  79. This is AMAZING!!! I would love to have the template

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  80. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  81. Can you send the template to my email jackiefelder5@gmail.com

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  82. Can you send the template to my email jackiefelder5@gmail.com

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  83. Much obliged concerning imparting. i truly admire it that you imparted to us such an educational post.you made a few fine focuses there. gift basket themes

    ReplyDelete
  84. These are great tips. :) Thank you for sharing. I personally do not like to take notes with pencil because it fades. It probably wouldn't matter in a single semester much, but I take a lot of math and science classes. My notes from earlier classes are useful in later ones. How to become an affiliate marketer

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  85. Thank you for all that you have given to me, hopefully all of these are useful for all of us. Beer gifts for him

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  86. im so sorry but im having trouble with box.net. Do i have to pay to sign up? I would love this template
    mrsallizadeh@yahoo.com

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    Replies
    1. Hey there! I just moved all of my printables to Google Drive. Try this link and see if that works for you! https://drive.google.com/a/nhcs.k12.in.us/folderview?id=0ByuUMQ4QRagNcFdwT0gwTG9QdjQ&usp=sharing#

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    2. I am so pleased I came across your blog! I have downloaded some items and immediately set up my lesson plan page, which I have been thinking of doing and have drawn inspiration from you!
      Thank you so much. I teach 6 middle school science and math classes, so I'm always looking for how to make my very long days shorter and a little easier....!

      Delete
  87. I struggle with this every year! I'm so glad I found this post because I'm trying it out in the fall.
    Wish me luck!

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  88. Wow, soooo amazing!!! Thanks! I think I've found the greatest post ever!

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  89. I started a similar system for absent students and it's all student run.

    An "absent monitor" writes down student names on handouts and places it in the folder along with a list of absent students on a 5 day chart.
    Late students sign in.

    A "notes monitor" takes notes, makes copies in the office and places it in the binder.

    This year my focus is to delegate as much responsibility as possible.

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  90. Absolutely love your system and thank you SO much for the wonderful free resources you've added to your site! Extending your time & effort to others is so thoughtful and as a beginning teacher I look forward to the day I hopefully begin my own blog to share ideas and resources as well!

    xx Emma

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