Tag Archives: documentation

No Excuses!

How do you manage missing or incomplete homework?

I have a simple system for my Resource Room that puts the accountability on the students.

When students come in and don’t have their work, they immediately fill out a “No Excuses” slip. HW No Excuses

I put these simple papers in a small box next to the homework tray. I then hang onto these slips until they turn their homework in.

For documentation, I write a comment in Progress Book. I quote their exact words. “I couldn’t do it because I had to clean my room.” “I had a concert.” “I forgot.” This communicates the issue to the parents and serves as a record I can pull up any time to show a student.

Very rarely do I need to say, “Go fill out a slip.” They just know.

I also don’t usually have to go looking for the homework the next day. The accountability is there.

Just a brief side note on how I grade homework.  There is always a lot of debate about how to grade homework.  Our building has yet to come to a consensus on the issue.

Each nine weeks, I keep track of all the homework assignments; a simple check mark or missing circle system on a printed roster works for me.

At the end of the 9 weeks, I figure out how many assignments were assigned and completed I give a grade out of 10 points based on their percentage. (For example, 11 out of 12 assignments completed would be a 9.2)

I label this grade as a “Speaking and Listening” grade.  Look at some of these “I Can” statements for SL.7.1 of the CC:

I can effectively participate in one-on-one, group, and teacher-led discussions. [SL.7.1]

I can discuss my own ideas clearly in a discussion. [SL.7.1]

I can build on the ideas of others in a discussion. [SL.7.1]

I can refer to evidence discussion. [SL.7.1]

I can prepare for discussions by reading and researching class materials beforehand.[SL.7.1]

I can follow established guidelines for class discussions. [SL.7.1]

I can participate in conversations by posing and responding to questions and making relevant comments that keep the discussion on topic. [SL.7.1]

I can acknowledge new ideas introduced in a discussion or collaborative activity. [SL.7.1]

I can modify my views if presented with a new perspective. [SL.7.1]

I feel like this 10 point grade at the end of the nine weeks is justified in terms of grading completed homework. Students must be prepared for class discussion, and that means homework should be completed.


What procedures do your students follow for turning in homework (late or not?)

What is your philosophy about grading homework?

Does my grading philosophy make sense? 

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Dear Journal…I Finally Found a Way to Stay Organized!

As an intervention specialist who works with 4 different inclusion teachers and meets with students in 6 different rooms daily, I have to be very organized. As a traveling teacher, I find I am always needing something I don’t have with me and running back to my classroom isn’t always an option. None of the rooms, except my own, have a desk or a place to call “my own.” I sit my belongings on tables, bookshelves, counter tops and window sills. I carry a pencil, a pen, and a highlighter – which are usually all lost by the end of the day.

I have tried all different kinds of ways to document, organize, plan, and take notes in the inclusion classroom. I have made charts, tables, and forms on the computer. I have tried writing notes during class and then typing them up later in Word or Excel. I have used folders, binders, clipboards, and bags. Every system seemed to work for a few days, or a few weeks, but I always abandoned them. Sometimes, I think it is possible to be too organized.

Finally, in November of this past school year I found a system that lasted for 3 nine weeks and I plan to use it again this coming fall.

This method is not high-tech or expensive. I use a basic composition book – I opted for one with a faux leather looking cover versus the marbled black and white, because our 8th graders each carry two of those.


I carry it with me all day long and I write everything I think of or need to remember. This includes but is not limited to:

OAA scores, alternative schedules, team notes,

staff meeting notes, IEP/ETR dates,

a day by day plan for each inclusion class,

brainstorming ideas for my Resource Room class,

documentation for my intervention study hall,

small groups for our Rock the OAA days,

lists of missing work and retakes.

I use Post-It Index tabs across the top for my most important pages.

I also keep a supply of sticky notes on the inside of the front cover. Sticky notes are good for daily TO DO lists or notes to students.

I also carry a clipboard with worksheets, study guides, and other important papers.

I wanted to scan the pages and show you some samples of my layouts, but because I write in pencil and because it is very worn, it is hard to read. For that reason, I am going to type up some samples on Notes and show you some ideas of how to lay out the pages.

This is a sample of my documentation for my Intervention Study Hall. I keep brief notes on what we work on each day. This is my “secret weapon” when a student says we didn’t work on an assignment or that I didn’t help him. It also helps me remember what we did when students were absent.


This is a sample of a two page spread for my “This Month” tab. I talk to the inclusion teachers and pencil in the main lesson(s) for the day so I always know what is up. It is also helpful to have this two page spread to glance at because I can see if there are too many tests on a given day and I can plan for my intervention study halls.



This composition book lasted me for 3 nine weeks and there is still room to spare. I can picture 15-20 years from now a whole bookshelf of worn books full of notes. I decided at the end of the year to write a list of my IEP students in the back of the book – just to remember their names. (I wish I had this thought 16 years ago!)

Tweedle Dee bought me this composition book at the Dollar Tree for Christmas. How sweet is that?


She obviously noticed how important my other journal was, as I always carry it in my purse. (You never know when you might think of a good idea). I turned this journal into my “All Access Pass” journal. This is where great ideas begin….


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