Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Providing Work for Absent Students

Yesterday I received an e-mail requesting a week's worth of assignments for a student that is slated to be absent.  I teach over a hundred students and often receive requests to provide several days worth of assignments due to illness, family vacations or disciplinary consequences.  These requests often come at the last minute and as much as I dislike assigning busywork, the truth is that many assignments make little sense if the student is not present in class.

A few months ago, a colleague tipped me off to learnzillion.com.  This site provides hundreds of video lessons and practice items that are correlated to the Common Core math and English/language arts standards.  Now when I receive requests for assignments, I sign the student up for an account and assign lessons that relate to what we're learning in class.  The onus is on the student to find Internet access through a personal computer, borrowed computer, the public library or a smart phone (there is an app available through iTunes, Google Play and Edmodo).  The site is free and has saved me hours of precious time that I of course devoted to tracking data, writing (and then re-writing) student learning objectives, accumulating evidence of differentiating and meeting with my principal to discuss all of this.

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