Monday, March 10, 2008
Taking Attendance: Making it Meaningful
Here is a simple strategy that can be used during morning attendance to make it easy to practice facts. Currently my class is learning the states and capitals: not for a test or quiz but just for fun. I started off a few weeks ago by giving each of them a capital city. They had to figure out for which state it is the capitol. Then when I read their name for attendance. They said the capital and the state. For example, "Concord is the capital of New Hampshire." Then the class repeated it. After a day of two of practice, they only give the name of the capital city when I call their name. The class responds with the same full phrase, "Boston is the capital of Massachusetts." Then the class repeats it again for those who missed it the first time. After a couple of weeks (and you can change the rules- sometimes I have them list the state and the class repeats the phrase starting with the capital city) I add a second city for each person. Eventually a third state is added until all 50 states are covered. In 5 minutes a morning for about a month the class becomes familiar with the names of all the states and their capitals.
I also use this strategy for math facts. While reviewing multiplication facts each student repeats their fact while letting me know that they are present and the class solves the fact. It is a simple repetitive way for all students to practice their facts and it allows students to feel that they "own" a certain fact. Multiplication facts can be turned around to division facts some mornings for a bit of a challenge.