Sunday, July 29, 2012

While You Were Out . . .

from GraphicsFactory

Every summer, as I dust off my files for the beginning of the new year, I find some form, some procedure, some 'thing' that just begs to be revisited and revamped.  This week my missing/absent work form caught my eye. When it comes to attendance, some years are better than others. For the last two years, it seems that Room 24 has been plagued with absences.  It can be quite a challenge keeping up with missing assignments.  My past practice has been to leave the day's work on the absent student's desk.  I usually ask their neighbor to jot their names on the papers and write down assignments on a missing work form.

My current form

When the child returns the next day, the work is neatly arranged on their desk. . .waiting for them.  Or is it?  More often than not, it seems like the work 'disappears'.  Intentionally?  Magically? It doesn't matter how . . . it is simply GONE.   And so I find myself wasting precious time writing down assignments and making extra copies to replace the ones that have gone AWOL.  On the outside chance that the missing assignments are actually turned in, they are often tucked in between other assignments and can be missing in action for days.

 The less time I have to spend hunting down missing assignments and hovering over the copy machine, the more time I have for teaching.  Until now, I just haven't found a better way that works for ME.  This morning I stumbled across a great idea on Miss Klohn's View of Room 117's blog.   For absent work, she uses a filing crate with hanging file for each day of the week and one file for forms.  Extra copies of any worksheets completed during the day are simply placed in the appropriate file.  Absent students know right where to go for their missing assignments!

From View of Room 117

I love this idea, but I am going to make a few changes.  First, I am going to include an assignment binder that is placed in the front of the filing crate.  Every year I have at least a handful of natural 'office assistants' in my class.  'Office assistant' will be added as one of our classroom jobs this year.  While we don't generate a lot of worksheets in our classroom and there might not be much to file, there are certainly plenty of assignments completed during the day.  The ' office assistant' will record the day's assignments (only if there are absences that day) in the assignment binder (the forms will be the same as my current missing/absent assignment forms).  When a student returns from their absence, they will take out the binder and copy the assignment information onto their own missing/absent assignment form.  Then they will retrieve copies of the assignments (when available) from the appropriate file.  The last file in the crate will be used for completed work.   When all missing assignments are completed, they will be stapled to the assignment form and placed in the last folder.

Why did it take me so long to figure this out?  Maybe I've been too busy trying to solve the age old "I don't have a pencil" problem!

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