"But you never gave me any make-up work!"
"When did we do that page? I didn't get a copy."
"<Insert name here> was supposed to get my work, but he lost it!"
"I lost my homework. Can I have another copy?"
Sound all too familiar?
One of my favorite procedures (found via Pinterest) I implemented last year is definitely a keeper for next year: the "I Was Absent" Folder. I recommend it for anyone who teaches intermediate grades because it's accessible as students come and go, and it really teaches them responsibility. I always make extra copies of work, and they always end up inside the "I Was Absent" Folder instead of the recycling bin. Kids in all 4 of my classes know to pick up any new work upon their return and then get it turned in ASAP.
One folder in the same designated place throughout the school year leaves no room for confusion or excuses. It's also an easy, no-fuss way to retrieve an extra copy of something whenever the need arises. In case you can't tell, I absolutely love my "I Was Absent" Folder!
In addition to writing, I will also be teaching science and social studies next year. So as an end-of-year project, I asked my students to write me a persuasive letter about what kind of class pet I should get for next year's fourth graders. They had to choose between a tree frog, bearded dragon, and Chinese water dragon. The Chinese water dragon won the vote by a landslide, so it looks like I have some shopping (and research) to do! Stay tuned for pics of the little guy.