Students being absent and trying to keep up with make-up work can be a NEVER-ENDING BATTLE! I know I tried something new each year in the classroom, and every year felt like another disaster. Finding time for consistency, making sure students get the work, and keeping track of who is where and when was nearly impossible. Not to mention the fact I am pretty sure we have all experienced the misery of chasing down students to get their make-up work, not remembering if we ever got them their make-up work, and the parents claiming their babies never got their make-up work. Yes, I have experienced all of these wonderful moments; however, I will not anymore…
I am VERY excited about my new plan for students getting their make-up work. It is almost completely hands-off for me and puts the responsibility back where it belongs… with the students! It has taken a little bit of guidance and practice with the new procedure, but the students are getting it and actually like getting to take hold of the responsibility. Once I went over this with them, I could already see their facial expressions showing a bit of excitement over it. Win-win!
STEP 1: SIGN OUT
During step 1, the students scan the QR code and complete a short and simple Google Form letting me know they have collected their work. This way I have a record that they have collected it, it’s a way to keep up with when exactly it’s due (one week from returning unless a special situation), and it helps me know to check in with them in regard to whether they have any questions on the content or work to be completed. Oh, and it also helps with the “I never got my make-up work” excuse students like to try to tell their parents when the zeroes start showing up in the gradebook.
STEP 2: WHAT YOU MISSED
For step 2, the students will scan the QR code and be taken to a Google Doc that consists of an explicit breakdown of exactly what was missed while they were out. This is requiring me to update a Google Doc daily with what we are doing, but this serves multiple purposes. The students can access it through scanning the QR code, parents can access it via my ELA website, and I have an ongoing record to look back on next year when I am writing my lesson plans. I encourage the students to screenshot the date(s) they missed for help as they try to get caught up.
STEP 3: THE CRATE
Step 3 is quite simple. The students check the “While YOU Were OUT” crate for any hard copies of what was missed (if there were any). With this step I know myself, and I know I will not do a great job of keeping extra copies of sheets in this crate, therefore, I have found that it makes a perfect student job. I pass out papers as if no students are absent and a neighbor puts one in the crate for the students who are absent. This continues to help my hands-off process and making it the full responsibility of the students. Also, I try to hyperlink access to any hard copies or resources on the Google Doc provided in step 2 and on my classroom website under my Interactive Notebook Table of Contents.
POST STEP 3: NOW YOU CAN ASK ME
I have made it quite clear to the students that they are not to approach me at all for their make-up work until they have completed steps 1-3 AND have had a chance to think through it and come up with any specific questions they have for me in regard to what they missed. This has helped eliminate the students coming to me for explanations of things they don’t feel like figuring out instead of things they truly have questions about. We all know those students who don’t want to put in the effort to figure things out for themselves.
So far, I have found this new strategy to be successful. Students are quickly catching onto the routine and are going a phenomenal job of helping each other out if there’s any confusion. If you are interested in this strategy, I would love to share my templates with you. If you think of any questions or would like to know more, please feel free to message me.