Encourage prompt arrival with a classroom policy, instill preparedness using a grading system, and acknowledge student success with a yardstick and clothespins.
Absent or Late?
Discourage tardiness by establishing the following "latecomer" policy. Explain to students that if they arrive at school after attendance has been taken, they will be marked absent. If they want to change the "absent" to a "late," they must see you after class. Also, decide on a system -- such as three "tardys" equal an "absent" and three "absents" equal 5 points off the class grade -- that will motivate students to be on time, and to remain after class to change their marks. The policy shifts the responsibility of being on time to the student, who now also has the burden of remembering to remain after class to change the absent record to a late.
Offer a "Preparedness Grade" to encourage students to arrive at school with all necessary supplies. At the beginning of each semester, award each student 100 points toward a "Preparedness Grade." Students who come to class with a pen or pencil, textbook, and completed homework, get to keep all 100 points. Students who show up without all the necessary items, however, lose one point for every missing item. The students' report cards include a category called "preparedness," which counts toward their final grade.
Buy 2 yardsticks and paint them in graduated amounts: green (about 12"), yellow (about 8"), red (about 4"), and black (about 4"). Hang the yardsticks in your classroom where they are visible to students. Label one yardstick "Completing Work"; label the other "Conduct." Explain to students that the colors represent grades for conduct and completing work. (Green=excellent, yellow=above average, blue=satisfactory, red=needs improvement, black=unsatisfactory.) With a black marker, write each student's name on two clothespins. At the beginning of the week, each child's clothespin is clipped to the green part of the yardstick. If homework is not completed, the clothespin on the Completing Work yardstick is moved down one increment. If a student talks too much or disobeys a classroom rule, the clothespin on the Conduct yardstick is moved down. When a student's clothespin reaches the red area, the student misses recess for the remainder of the week. When a clothespin reaches the black area, that student's parents are notified.
Article by Linda Starr
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