Anne-Marie McAllister, of Georgian College in Ontario, writes in with a simple tip for reducing the time it takes to take attendance for a large class. At the beginning of term, she makes tent cards—pieces of card stock paper folded in half so they sit up like tents—and writes each student’s name on the outside of a card. These sit in a box on the her desk; when each student comes into class, he or she takes his or her name card and puts it on his or her desk. Filling out the day’s attendance is as easy as noting which cards are left in the teacher’s box. The strategy has the added benefit of helping the teacher remember the students’ names in the first weeks of class, as each student has his or her name displayed at his or her desk.
McAllister also uses the cards as part of a beginning-of-term introductory exercise. She has her students write important information about themselves on the inside of their cards, and then walks through class and shares some of what she finds with the class as a whole. At the end of the first class, after collecting the cards, she looks through them all to learn more about her students. -DG