One of the little idiosyncrasies of teaching that you might not really think about until you’re in the thick of it...make-up work! How do I distribute it? How do I keep up with it? What is the best, easiest way to do this? I’ve been teaching for almost 9 years, and I feel like I’m JUST starting to get a system that works. It’s been a beast.
Since I teach middle school students, I have the ability to put most of the responsibility on my students, but I have little ways of reminding and helping them out.
Mr. T Make-Up Work Crate
Here’s my Mr. T Make-Up Work Crate. Sure, I could have just called it the Make-Up Work Crate, but where’s the fun in that? I teach middle school, people. And, I also like to make it fun for myself. “Go see Mr. T for your make-up work! You better make sure you do it; you don’t want to make him mad.” Do these students know who Mr. T. is? Maybe not at first, but they do now. #boompopcultureeducation
How it works
In the crate, I have 31 file folders labeled with numbered tabs. Each represents a day of the month. If a student is absent, they go check the date(s) on which they were absent. Inside the numbered folder, they’ll find the assignment, a note, or info on what we did that day. I also make the disclaimer that if nothing is in there, they make sure and double check with me. (Again, the responsibility is on them.) I do have to make sure to place my assignments in the crate, but it actually works pretty well because it keeps junk from building up on my desk. I just put it in the crate. #teacherhack
An additional safeguard I have to kind of help them out is the way I mark absences. Our online attendance system doesn't have a simple way of seeing who was absent the day before, and with 130 students, it's likely I'll forget who was absent.
So, I kick it old school by putting my seating charts inside clear protective sheets. I still take roll online afterward, but while students are working on their Bellwork assignment, I physically write an A on the seating chart desk of the student who is absent that day with a Vis-a-Vis*.
*Disclaimer, I do not use an overhead projector, #neverforget , but I do still have these charming markers in my arsenal!
This technique is helpful because the next day, I can see a simple visual reminder of who was absent the day before by viewing the big, fat A on their seating chart. Then, I can just wipe it clean each day and we're good to go.
Do you have any suggestions?
Again, this is the best system that has worked for me in the last 9 years, but I’d love to hear how you distribute make-up work in your class. I’m always trying to tweak or innovate for the sake of my students, the flow of our classroom, and element of design.