Sunday, October 31, 2010

Parent's Signature Required!

What papers do you have signed in your class?  In mine, all test papers are signed by the entire class.  I will usually check for signatures at the beginning of that subject's period.  But every once in a while, for whatever reason, I need to have an individual student have a paper signed by a parent.  I usually just write "Parent's Signature" with an X and a signature line above it. When I started teaching, I had to think of a way to see those signed papers without drawing attention to the one or two kids that needed to have a paper signed.  Let's face it, the other kids know it usually means that kid didn't do too well on that assignment.  So, how to go about it?  A Signed Paper Basket!

Here's how it works.  This basket sits on a shelf near my desk.  The sign on front reads "Signed Work  -  Place your signed work in the basket face down."  In the basket is a big paper weight that sits on top of the work.  If a student needs to have a paper signed, they know that within the next two days the signed paper must make it into that basket, face down.  Face down so that other students can't see whose paper it is.  After school, I will take a look at the papers in the basket to see what was signed.  I note it by putting a line through the grade in my grade book. This is my way of documenting that I know the parent has seen that particular grade. I then place the paper back in the student's desk.  No muss, no fuss!

The purpose of this is simple. It's a trust issue between student and teacher. We all have had days where our work is not up to par.  I wanted my students to know that if they have a paper that doesn't go so well, I'm not calling them out on it.  It's not True Confessions time.  I'm not going to ask for the signed paper in front of the whole class, I'm not going to single them out, I'm not going to draw attention to it.  If I need to talk about the work with the child, I do so in private.  When it's time to turn in the signed work, they simply find a time at some point in the day to slip their paper in the basket.  I tend to get 90% of papers back in a day with no problems.  For those that don't get the work in the basket, well, we have a little private conversation about that!  Overall, this works for us!

Coming soon!  I am planning a week of posts called "Binder Love!"  I am hooked on binders and use them for several different purposes in my class.  I plan to share 5 different ways I use binders in my room to assist with organization, student work, teaching, etc.  I use binders for a ton of things, so it's possible you may see me revisit this topic again later.