I thought I’d share a quick little strategy that I stole from one of my college professors: the index card attendance method.
Each student gets an index card with his or her last name printed nice and big on the front. Before each class, the cards are spread out on a table or desk. As a student enters the room, he or she is responsible for finding the card and placing it on the teacher’s desk (or projector or other location of your choice). Once all the students have arrived and moved their cards to the desk, the teacher can simply grab the pile that’s left and click off attendance in a matter of seconds.
I like this method for several reasons.
1. It makes taking attendance quick and painless. (Just a quick spot check is needed in case of fraudulent card relocations.)
2. It gives each student an action that says–everyday–“This is me, and I am here, ready to learn.” The students, though a little resistant at first, really learn to love this routine. Trust me, if you forget to put them out, you’ll have kids genuinely upset, saying, “Where’s my card?!” Even high school seniors.
3. The cards can also be used to assign groups at random (pick three cards–there’s your group), assign seats for a test (just leave the cards on the desk where the student should sit), or record participation points (have them handy during class discussion and keep tally marks).
Attendance cards. It’s a good thing.