This is post two in my series of organization tips to make your life easier and make your students' excuses go out the window.
Flu season is upon us. I don't know about everyone else, but keeping track of who was absent when and for how many days gets to be a huuuge headache. The hard part of all of that is trying to remember which assignments and classwork they missed and relaying that to them easily. Yeah, you can probably verbally tell them. But what 14 year old is going to remember what you say to them ten minutes later? I also cannot stand being crowded around at the beginning of an hour with students asking what they missed. It wastes my time and their fellow classmates' time.
Instead, I decided to start a clipboard system. Each level has a clipboard in the room. Each clipboard has a sheet of paper on it with three columns: date, classwork and homework. This allows students to see exactly what we did (INCLUDING: what was handed in...I can't tell you how many students do their homework but don't hand it in because they were absent the day it was due), what notes they need to get from a classmate, and what homework they have. Any handouts are in the absent folder (see THIS post to know what I'm talking about with that).
I only started this a few weeks ago, but it's making a big difference. It's especially effective in conveying if there is something out of the book or a non-worksheet assignment that is due. My students used to just go to the absent folder, but I obviously can't put their textbook in there to tell them they have #4 on page 38 due. My goal is by the end of February to never hear the words "Madame, what did I miss?" ever again. Of course I'm happy to clear up any questions, but 90% of their original questions can be answered by checking the absent folder and the clipboards.