Well, I am late as usual, but that doesn’t mean I am not excited and up for the Challenge!! What challenge? The A to Z Blogging Challenge! You can read all about it here. So here we go! Today’s letter is:
My A stands for attendance! Oh how teachers struggle with attendance! Not their own, but the students’ consistency to show up every day. When I taught elementary school attendance was an issue we dealt with on a much smaller scale with only a few significant students but I have found that in middle school it is a HUGE issue with a much larger group of students. Unfortunately, it is usually the students who desperately NEED to be in their seats and learning who miss the most days. I won’t go into why our kiddos NEED to be at school. I think we all know why. But I will mention that “Showing UP” is a life lesson all kids NEED to learn to prepare them for the big bad world where “Showing Up” is half the battle.
So how do we motivate students to show up? Here are a few quick ideas to keep’em in their seats each and every day:
- Attendance Lottery. I have every student write down their name on a Post It each day of the week when they show up for class. On Friday, we raffle off a prize of some sort. It is usually a homework or bathroom pass, a flavored water, or some other small novelty they like. I explain, at the beginning of the year, that the more days you are present, the more likely you are to win. You would be surprised how much just a little prize will motivate even the older students!
- Football Math. During football season, I have several mini lessons connected to the game. One of them is a football field bulletin board where they earn a yard for each day of attendance. Each student’s name is on a football and they move it each day when they come to class. At the end of the quarter, the students with a certain amount ( a number we determine at the beginning of the quarter) of yards earn popsicles or popcorn on the last day of the quarter. Once again, it sounds small but they really are competitive when it comes to even the smallest of rewards.
- Tell them you missed them. In a recent post, I wrote about Always being happy to see them. This tactic follows a similar idea. When a student genuinely feels that you care if they are present or not each day, it will motivate them to be there. Make a conscious effort to tell your absent students you missed them and ask why they were out. This leads to building relationships and we all know that students learn best from someone they trust who they know cares for them
These are just a few quick ideas to improve attendance in your classroom. What do you do to make them show up? I would love to hear your thoughts!
Happy “A” Day to my fellow A to Z Challengers– better late than never!!