While You Were Out Wall

In a previous blog post One thing to Improve I wrote about a problem I have with absent pupils. This summarizes my thoughts.

One area which has always been a struggle for me is dealing with pupils who have been absent. Whether an illness or appointment or school trip or family holiday, pupils tend to expect to walk back into class and somehow magically catch up with the rest of the class. One of my biggest frustrations is when a pupil leaves a homework or test question blank and says “I was off when you did this”.

How do I help pupils to take more responsibility for their own learning?

After this post I was given the suggestion of using Mardel® Filetastic Hanging Folder Pockets. Unfortunately, these are not available in the UK (or at least I couldn’t track them down).

Then some lovely teachers on Twitter sent me links of how to make your own. I love a craft project!

Here are the pictures of my wall being created, I used paper wallets and cut off the top part and stuck everything on with a lot of double sided tape:

Here’s how I’ve been using the wall:

During a lesson, if I hand out any sheets, notes or  homework, I put any spare in a plastic wallet and label with the date and period.

Then when a pupil returns from being absent they go straight to their class folder and pick up any missed work.

This is working really well. I am not losing lots of bits of paper, my pupils are taking it upon themselves to collect missed work and the side of my filing cabinet never looked so bright.

This has been a success, yes, but I am still not confident that pupils are spending time reviewing work they have missed. I am still finding notes in homework and tests saying “I was off when we did this”.

My next step: to encourage my pupils to want to spend time outside of class working on work that they have missed. Any suggestions on how I can do this would be lovely.


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