Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Absent Students: Catching Up on Missed Chapters

An absent student = a student that can easily fall behind in class. You can post what students missed on an online platform so they can stay up-to-date even after an absence. 

But, let's face it, the majority of students don't check what they missed when they were absent. Instead of checking for missed work online they come to class asking,  "What did I miss yesterday?" or even better, "Did we do anything yesterday when I was absent?" 

However, I actually love when a student returns from school after an absence because this gives us the perfect opportunity to review. I really enjoy it if they missed a class story or a chapter/chapters that we read in our class novel. I hand over this task to the community of learners in the classroom (the students). It is their responsibility to help "catch up" the student on what s/he missed when absent.

Today I did a slight variation of what I usually do for students that missed class when we are reading a class novel.  I use the name "Tess" below to make the explanation clear.

1. Put all names of students in a basket/bowl.

2. Draw 5 names. Tell the students whose name was pulled that they have to ask Tess a question about the new information/material that they learned when Tess was absent.

3. The 5 students take turns asking Tess questions. If Tess guesses the answer correctly, the student has to ask her another question. If Tess does not know the answer, the teacher pulls another name from the basket and that student has to explain the answer to Tess.

This review works well because:

- It provides additional comprehensible input for students.

- Students quickly learned that if they asked a super easy question, Tess would guess the answer and they would have to think of another question. Their questions became more involved and "meaty".

- Students not asking the questions paid attention because they knew it was possible their name would be pulled to answer the question if Tess did not know the answer. 

For novice learners, I ask the questions instead of the students.

*Teachers: you need to know your classes and your students. Obviously, do not do this activity if the student that was absent will feel awkward because he doesn't know the answers. Remember, it is the teacher's job to make sure the student knows that he isn't expected to know the answer; that the real purpose is to involve the students in the review, to think of the new information from the previous day and present that information to the student that missed class.


  1. Hi! How does an adult learner go about finding a TPRS class? I leave near Frederick, MD and google searches are getting me nowhere!