Variations on a theme: more uses for tent cards

Two teachers have written in with additional variations to the tent card tip submitted by Anne-Marie McAllister, who uses name cards to help her take attendance, and as part of an introductory exercise. Monique Finley, of Niagara College, in Ontario, writes that she has used the name card/attendance idea for some years now with one enhancement: on the inside of the tent card where they write the date they also have spaces to give feedback about the class:

  • Stop: where they write what is happening in class that they find distracting
  • Start: where they can give suggestions for class improvement
  • Continue: where they can voice their opinion on what is working well for them

So in addition to helping the instructor with their names and taking attendance, the tent cards give the students a chance to communicate with the instructor on classroom and curriculum issues.

Similarly, Jan Oosterhof-Contant, of the University of the Fraser Valley, writes:

"I, too, provide students with a tent name card, but I invite students to put the name they prefer to use in class on the card. (We have many International students who do not go by their formal name.) I originally did this to learn the students' names (this also helped me when first returning assignments to students), but I soon noticed that students in the class also addressed other students by name and soon everyone knew each other's name. Students in my classes also pick up their name tag at the beginning of class and return it at class end. In addition to using this method to mark attendance when students are working, I use the name cards to put any handouts that have been given to students that class or marked assignments that have been returned during the class in the name card of absent students, which I then put into a separate protective sleeve in a special binder. When students come to class and see that their name tag isn't available, they know to check the binder where they will find any returned assignments or handouts for that class tucked inside their name tag. This makes it easy for students and for me because the student doesn't miss out on handouts, and I don't have to remember to take extra copies of handouts to each class. Furthermore, students can come to my office to get any missed work even when I am not available, which means they do not have to wait until the next class to get their work. If I agree to do something for a student, I attach a post-it note to the name tag to remind myself , and I return the name tag when I have followed through; if I have 'information' for the student, I put it with their name tag in the binder.

"With so many students, I also find it easy to simply mark a student away without necessarily noting how many classes have been missed; however, the binder serves as a visual reminder to follow-up with students who are chronically absent. When I have been unable to reach a student by phone or email, I can also slip a note into the plastic sleeve asking that student to meet with me. Again, this can prevent an awkward moment for a student because I do not have to try to speak to the student with others listening. These 'notes' are always out of view for other students."