While I was in college I observed an 8th grade teacher who taught math in a school with a horrible reputation. It was a tough place to teach but this teacher excelled at her job. One of the things I learned from her was the importance of keeping students responsible for missing work. As teachers, we know there will always be students who can be counted on for anything, and students who can not be counted on at all. Most of the time these students are not disruptive and do not need major discipline - they are lazy. While laziness is common, it is not an acceptable reason to miss work. Students who walk into class without their homework are breaking a rule. Students who walk out of the classroom without turning in their daily work (or without turning in a test -- happens to me every year!) are also breaking a rule and they need to be held responsible for that.
The teacher I observed had a form system she used to keep a record of which students were staying on track completing work, and which were not. She had an elaborate color-coded system that was amazing, but a bit too much upkeep for me. In order to simplify the process of keeping up with missing work, I created this student responsibility report form. (Right click on the picture to save it - then you should be able to print it from your computer!)
In the classroom, student responsibility reports are accessible to all students. When a student walks into the classroom without their homework, they pick up a sheet. When everyone else turns in their homework students without their work turn a form in. If I grade papers and find out Julie did not turn in her classwork Tuesday, Julie ends up with a paper on her desk to fill out Wednesday explaining why her paper was missing. Every time a to-be-graded-and-recorded assignment is turned in during class I expect every student to turn something in. Either the assignment itself or a filled out responsibility report.
These sheets have 2 purposes:
1) They make students take responsibility for their mistakes. Students do not like signing a paper acknowledging they did something wrong!
2) If a student ends up with a low grade in the class due to missing work, these sheets eliminate problems with parents and/or administrators. Every 0 in the grade book is backed up by a paper the student filled out on their own (and signed!) explaining why the work was missing.
They are also great to pull out when parents come in with the "but my child said they turned that assignment in" excuse. All I have to do is say "well Mrs. Jones, Jesse may have told you that but I have a form right here that Jesse filled out for me explaining why he didn't turn that in to me."
Every page I receive gets hole punched and stuck in a "missing work binder". Dividers separate the pages by class so that the sheets are easily accessible.
If it gets to a point where a student has 3+ forms in the book it is time to conference with that student. I firmly believe guidance counselors are underrated superheroes in middle and high school. A 5-minute conference with a student and a guidance counselor on missing work can change everything!
Image Courtesy of: Flickr.com. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/