I've noticed over the years that students will give just about any excuse to get what they want. Most of the time the excuse is geared towards making their life easier all while getting the best grade possible.
My next few posts are going to be geared towards showing ways to eliminate those excuses (mostly through classroom organization). Hopefully they can kill two birds with one stone: firstly keeping you (the teacher) organized and secondly, DRASTICALLY cutting down on excuses and increasing student self-responsibility.
In my room, each hour has a box (I use a magazine holder box). In each box are three folders: IN, OUT and ABSENT.