At some point, every teacher faces the dilemma of figuring out how to manage absent students’ make-up work. Managing make-up work can be time-consuming and daunting, and it can include a lot of trial and error.
It is so essential to establish a set number of days to complete make-up work, and to hold your students accountable. Whether preparing them for high school, college, or for life, they need to understand the importance of staying on track.
However, it is also crucial to express your understanding that missing school and completing make-up work can be overwhelming. Managing make-up work can be quite a daunting task if you do not strategically plan ahead. Luckily, there are many ideas that make this task extremely simple and beneficial for both you and your students:
Instead of allowing students to approach you at all times during the day with their make-up work, it is a good idea to have a turn-in bin in your classroom.
It can be as simple as a paper tray the Dollar Store, or if you are feeling crafty and creative, you can add color and labels, or have separate turn-in bins for each class- instant organization!
Assigning Absent Partners
At the beginning of each grading period, assign or let the students choose absent partners. The student will go to his or her partner for make-up work and for getting the notes. The partner can also be responsible for getting any extra handouts.
This strategy works very well for some classrooms, although there can be problems that arise, such as a student being continually absent or both partners missing on the same day. Comfortably Classic shares a great ‘What did I miss?’ bulletin board calendar idea.
Planning Ahead with a Calendar
As teachers, we all know the value of those few minutes between classes or before and after school trying to get work done, and as much as we love our students, frequent interruptions can be distracting! Keeping an up-to-date, accessible calendar is a good way to hold students responsible, while maintaining your own time.
On a calendar in the back of the room, you can list lessons, work covered in class each day, and homework assignments. Another option is creating a digital calendar using, Google Calendar. A digital calendar is helpful, because you can update the calendar and students can access the calendar, regardless of where you are or what time it is!
An option for holding students responsible for their own makeup work is to create a specific absent folder for each class. On any handouts, write absent students’ names on blank copies. The students should know to check their class’ absent folder when they return to class.
Another option is to assign classroom jobs each week. One student’s job could be to collect all of the make-up work for all absent students for a whole week. They could be responsible for gathering handouts and work for the absent folders.
You can have a standard homework recording sheet that they complete for each absent student, and then they can collect any handouts throughout the day, with each absent student’s name already written on it.
This method is perfect if you have separate sub-folders in a binder for each student to take upon their return, then bring back when they have caught up on all the work. You can re-use the folders and add them back into the absent binder.
Rescheduling Tests & Quizzes
Instead of spending time emailing or chatting with each absent student in those few, precious minutes between classes or on your own personal time, you can set up a sign-up sheet to hang outside your classroom, or a digital sign-up that students can access online.
On the sign-up sheet, you can list days and times before and/or after school that work for you and leave space for students to write their name to sign up. This can also be done digitally by creating and sharing a Google Sheet with your students.
When passing out tests or quizzes, immediately write any absent students’ names on blank copies, clip them on a clipboard, and then place the clipboard with the name visible. Then when the absent students come in to take their quizzes, they can simply grab their clipboard. There are many other benefits to using clipboards in your classroom!
Meredith, at Bespoke ELA, shares a great idea for managing make-up work. She uses her classroom’s page on her school’s website as her “Make-up Work Log.” She uses it to write a “diary entry” of everything that went on in class, updating it every day.
It only takes a couple of minutes each day, and is so advantageous! In addition to serving as a resource for make-up work, it can also serve as a resource for students that were in class, curious parents, your principal, and you for planning next year’s curriculum!
As I am sure you have realized by now, sometimes planning ahead and doing a little extra work in the beginning can save you a lot of time and energy in the future, and help make your classroom smooth and efficient.
When it comes to managing make-up work, it is important to establish the guidelines with your students beforehand; there should be firm and clear expectations on how long they have to make up their work, quizzes, or tests, and they should understand what steps need to be taken. I hope these ideas are helpful for you! Do you have any ideas or tips for managing makeup work? We’d love to hear more!
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