Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Managing Absences

Over the past two years, one of my biggest teacher headaches came from a place I never expected: absences. I definitely was not as prepared as I could've been when managing how my students' made up missed work.

Something that makes me even crazier when trying to keep up with missed work is that I have students in and out of my classroom throughout the day. Our talented and gifted kids are out for half a day one day a week for an enrichment program, our band and orchestra students have half hour lessons during the day, plus our band and orchestra kids have their full group lessons at the end of the day! This is in addition to the students who are absent due to sickness or family vacation.

I went to Pinterest in search of management ideas and found a lot of great resources! Combining their ideas with my classroom needs, I created my own system.

The Inspiration

I love the little graphic on this one! I started to realized that I wanted to have separate folders for each weekday, but I didn't love the idea of the weekday folders sitting loose in a bin. Knowing my 6th graders, it would get very disorganized.

Here's another great idea! I like that the weekday folders were hanging folders and that this teacher has a separate folder for missing forms. That would be perfect for my homeroom kids who missed the daily notices from the office in addition to the classwork.

I love that this is on a bulletin board, because I have a ton of wall space (the entire back wall of my classroom is a bulletin board!) and not a lot of counter space. This was also helpful because it was labeled by class periods and I teach 3 periods a day. I like the idea of a calendar, but I wasn't sure what realistically I needed the calendar for and figured it might end up making more work for me in the end.

Another great bulletin board option, but this one used pocket folders.

Here's another compact file folder option! This one just didn't leave me room to fit in multiple periods worth of work. I didn't want my kids to have to go through more papers than necessary. Simplicity is key!

So after looking through other teachers' ideas, I came up with what worked best for me.

My System

Here's my finished product! I am lucky enough to be able to staple things directly to my back wall, so that's how the folders are hung up. My two columns are for each period. Periods 1 & 2 have the same work, so I could consolidate those periods. Then I had a folder for each week day, plus a folder for social studies. All social studies work is the same, so I could keep that in one folder too.

It came together very easily too with supplies that I already had in my room. I color coded my file folders based on the ones I had in my cabinet. The label up top is just construction paper and the period/week day labels are sentence strips.

My homework is always written on the front whiteboard, so the students come in and grab their missed work and check the homework section of our board to see what was classwork and what was homework. We also have an "Ask 3 Before Me" policy, so my students ask three classmates their questions about their assignments. This prevents me from being flooded with questions, and saves me a bit of sanity.

My life became much simpler once my kiddos became more independent. I can't wait to set this system up again in my classroom for next year.

How do  you manage absences and missed work? I'd love to hear your ideas!
XO Emily


  1. This is SUCH a great idea, so helpful for the absent kids to get caught up. Love this idea!

    1. Thanks so much! It saved me a couple of headaches :)

  2. I wish I had you as a teacher!!!


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