Submitted by Susie Lott, Cincinnati, Ohio

Idea posted September 12, 2008

I have each one of my class rosters printed out with phone numbers next to the names. I see students once a week. I set up my grade sheets with two or three columns for each time I see them. The first column is for attendance/behavior. I have a code to use for behavior.

P=playing around
N=not participating
O=out of seat
+=exceptional participation/engagement in the activity.

I can usually easily fit four letters into one column by utilizing each corner and writing small. (More than four should get a phone call home.) When a child consistently gets off task and a call home is required, it is very easy to go back and see what kinds of behaviors are an issue.

I circle the attendance/behavior square of the ones who help, to keep track of that. I usually only call on students who have no codes next to their names to be class helpers.

The second column is for the daily grade. Since my class is very much a hands-on class, the grade is based on participation and cooperation. I remind them they have an "A" for the day when they walk in the room. Their job is to keep the "A" by staying focused. The first column determines the grade in the second column. Sometimes all I need to say is "You are about to lose your 'A'."

The third column is for skills (+ or -) that may be evaluated that day. Additional columns may be used for additional skills.

Sometimes I tell the students that five minutes before class is over, I will be picking a random name and call home to let the parent know how the student is doing. If they have been focused and doing beautifully, that is what I will tell the parent. If they have been misbehaving, that is the message that will be given. Some of the most challenging students will try very diligently to get a good call home. I circle the phone number of the child who got the call home.