Monday Mailbag – Students Forgetting Assignment Books

I would love it if you would address how you deal with students who consistently forget their assignment books!  I have started keeping large sticky notes on hand to stick right on the front of their book, but it’s very frustrating when this also doesn’t return!  It impedes progress.  My students who always bring their notebooks manage to keep their practicing moving right along and their is no question of what I assigned or where we are!

Honestly, I don’t have any students who consistently forget their assignment books. I think a huge part of this is the fact that I custom design assignment books to correspond to our practice incentive program every year. Their assignment book includes not only the assignment pages, but all of the supporting material and tracking information for earning points, Diligence Dollars, balls, etc. If a student forgets his assignment book, he gets nothing for that week because I have no alternative method of tracking his progress.

Now, this is not to say that all of my students faithfully refer to their assignment book throughout the week, but it does almost always make it to the lesson. 🙂 In the past, before I started doing my yearly practice incentive programs, I remember hearing a suggestion that I used a couple of times. Write a short note and “embed” it among the other assignments on the page…”If you circle this sentence, I’ll pay you $1.” Or something like that. The student was always mortified if they arrived at their following lesson and discovered that they could have earned $1 just by reading their assignments!

I think the key is to give the students a reason to read and bring their assignment books. Some students are naturally inclined to practice systematically, following each assignment step-by-step. But others are convinced that they can remember everything perfectly and never need to refer to their assignment book. Also, if it’s a serious problem and is affecting the progress of the student, I wouldn’t hesitate to enact a policy that students who forget their assignment book will have to call the parent and ask them to retrieve it for them or will forfeit the lesson. A one-time lapse of memory can be excused, but when it persists from week to week, you have to let them know that you’re serious about the importance of bringing it.

Those are a few of my thoughts. I would love to have some advice from others, though. How do you deal with students who forget to bring their assignment books? Or do you use something else in place of assignment books?

Remember, if you have a question you’d like to contribute to next week’s Monday Mailbag, leave it in the comments below or send me an e-mail sometime this week with Monday Mailbag in the subject line!

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