Why Attendance Time is Our Most Valuable Time
Taking attendance is a valuable part of my day and it is something that students look forward to. In my classroom we go beyond just having students respond with “Here” and we use this time as a way to build classroom connections.
Everyday an attendance question is asked where students get to share a small part of themselves. The questions allow students to share who they are, what is important to them, and how they are doing/feeling.
The questions are always safe and easy to answer because I don’t want them to get anxious or dread having to answer.
Questions can be as simple as:
- “What is your favorite type of pizza?”
- “How many pets do you have?”
- “What is one special talent you have?”
By asking attendance questions students start to see the similarities and differences they have with their peers. It is always great to hear the reactions when 2 students, who normally don’t hang out, start talking about how they both like a certain video game or how they also put mustard on their hot dog.
Who Asks the Questions?
At the beginning of the year I am the one asking all the attendance questions. Once I feel that my students have become more comfortable with each other and are at ease talking in front of the class, I have a student ask the questions for the week.
As part of my classroom jobs there is a mayor (they say Mayor of Browne Town … lol) who is responsible for taking attendance and asking a daily question. This (and gym helpers) is the job that they are most excited about and cannot wait to do.
The mayor can come up with a question by themselves (which they usually do) or they can pick a question from a list provided (see below for the list).
A Cherished Part of Our Day
With all the changes that have had to be made to our daily routines because of COVID, this is one thing that I would not give up.
Sure, I could have cut this out and had attendance time only take a minute or two but then we would lose the easiest way to start building a classroom community and foster connections among classmates.
If you are not currently asking attendance questions, I highly recommend giving it a try. Do it for a couple weeks and see how it changes your students’ interactions with one another.
I have used this strategy to help foster a positive, caring classroom community with every grade I have taught. If you have been part of the Terri’s Teaching Treasures community for a while now you may remember that I have taught Grades One through Seven.
A Free List of Questions!
To help you get started here is a free pdf with a list of 100 attendance questions. Use it to get started or have it handy for students if they are the ones asking the questions.
I keep this list in our attendance binder so it can easily be accessed by students or guest teachers.
I have left some space on the last page so that you can add your own questions as you think of them.
Click on the above picture or right HERE to get your free copy today.