Saturday, 19 February 2011 17:45

Tip #23: “While You Were Absent” Sheets

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An important part of holding students accountable for their learning involves making sure they complete the projects and activities that occurred while they were absent.  Whenever my students miss a day (or more) of school, I write down all the work my students need to make up on a “While You Were Absent” sheet.  I place this sheet on their desks, along with the books, papers, and other materials they will need in order to complete everything described on the sheet.


Generally, I fill out these sheets each morning during our silent reading period.  During this time I also meet, one-on-one, with the students who are returning from an absence so I can discuss with them everything I wrote on the sheet.  Sometimes I will have the students take their make-up work home, while other times I will have them work on the activities in class, as time permits.  My decision depends on the complexity of the task, whether my students will need access to certain materials, and the the number of days the students missed.  

I encourage parents to come to the classroom at the end of each day their child misses (or send a sibling or trusted friend) to collect the work so that everything can be made up as expeditiously as possible, though I fully understand this is not always possible.  Since I started using these sheets many years ago, I have been better able to keep track of my students‘ work and ensure they remain caught up with regard to our state content standards.


New Teaching Tips appear every Sunday of the school year.