Keeping Track of Our Attendance

Combating absenteeism.  It is just one way this teacher has tried to get kids into their seats.As we all are well aware, you can be the best teacher in the world but if the kids are absent, it doesn't really matter.  Teaching an empty chair is doing nothing for anyone.   A few years ago, we were really struggling with an absenteeism problem at my school site.  Kids just weren't coming to school.  For one reason or another, they were taking days off like crazy.

Today I wanted to share a little thing with you that has been working to help get the kids into their seats each day.  
A 5th grade education blog with a great idea for keeping kids accountable to attendance.
Since the kids were missing so many days,  I thought that if they actually *knew* how many days they were absent within a given month, it just might help to make them think about coming in.  To help them keep track, I created this little postcard on Vista Print.  You can see that all the days we are in school are written on the card, from September to June (this is actually a Vista Print image of the card from a few years ago, so the dates don't match up to our school year now...but you get the idea)   At the beginning of the school year, we talked about why attendance was important and ways that we could make sure we came to school each day.  Then, I showed them how to fill in the card.

At the start of each day, the students would come in to school and mark their card with a green crayon.  Once the card was marked (indicating they were here), the bankers then paid them for attending school that part of our classroom economy.    If they were absent, their table partner would actually be responsible for the card.  The partner used a red crayon to indicate they were not in their seat.  For those who came in tardy, a green crayon was then colored OVER the red crayon.  You can still see the red, but you also have the green.  This showed that the student was tardy.

Getting into the routine of this took some getting used to, but once we were in it...the kids really dug it!  Just the fact that they could physically see how many days they were here or not really did make a difference in their attendance.  They just didn't want to be absent, so they weren't as inclined to be "sick" in the morning.  My first year implementing this I had more perfect attendance trophies at the end of the year than ever before.  Who knew something so simple could be so effective!

What do you do to help combat absenteeism?


  1. I really like this idea, something to add to my Vista print to do list (lots of ideas I got from your blog!!) I am surprised by the amount of school students miss due to vacations and sporting events. I am happy that our school admin has taken the stance that we do not need to send work for students that will be on vacation - a worksheet covering the concepts is NOT the same as being present for a lesson and the hands-on activities (rant over). Not sure when the change happened but I love the look of your blog - love the pencils an notebook!

    1. That is great you don't have to give the kids missing homework for vacation. Sometimes that is so time consuming! Thanks about the blog. It is a few weeks old now :)


  2. Our whole district is working toward reducing chronic absenteeism. I think before we began the campaign our overall absentee rate was something absurd like 26 or 28%! Ouch! We have a program in our school where every month the kids who had perfect attendance have a celebration during a lunch period. Our community partners come in and donate games, prizes and other treats. Sometimes it is elaborate (expensive toy prizes) and sometimes it is smaller (ice cream treat and a bookmark or pencil). It's amazing what the kids will do to get even the smallest prize. We also have a partnership with a grocery store and they donate a $25 gift card to a family for perfect attendance (chosen from all the names by raffle). This past year we also began a school-wide tracking system and our principal gave us sheets that said PERFECT ATTENDANCE in letters that could be colored in. Every time the whole class was present with no tardies, we filled in a letter. Once it was full, the class got a prize (popcorn, extra recess, out of uniform day). I wasn't surprised to learn we had the best attendance in our whole district at least 3 months out of the year :)

  3. LOVE this idea. Did you do a different color for tardies? Did the other classmates color the card red at the end of the day if someone showed up mid-day? I keep a log in my book for my own records, but this is a really neat idea to hold the kiddos accountable. Thanks for sharing!

  4. This is SO much easier than what we do now!

  5. What a clever idea. I used Brag Tags this past year and I know it started off as a BIG motivator but I think it died off as the year went on and everyone had some tags on their chain. This way it would be much more evident who is missing days and you could also notice any patterns (always Fridays out, late every Monday...)
    Thanks for showing what worked for you!

  6. I like having the students keep track of their own attendance. I bet this really helped a lot of students.
    Thank you,
    Artistry of Education

  7. I LOVE this!!! I can't wait to try this this year. Thank you!!! :)

  8. I love the idea! DO they make one for the parents who allow them to Not come,or feel that "as long as they get there" I've done my part......even if it's 9:30-10:00?!?


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