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making up classroom absences

Hi folks! I teach Jr and Sr high choir and band. Because of the small active community of students we have, many students often miss class for sports, FFA, etc. I'd like to develop some sort of absence assignment which helps them get playing/singing time and allows me to keep moving forward without having the rest of the class have to sit while 5 students catch up the next day. 
 
Do any of you do something like this in your classroom? Do you have suggestions of things that have or have not worked for you? Do you use a form that you have the students fill out?
 
Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions!
 
Anne Schatz
 
Replies (8): Threaded | Chronological
on July 1, 2014 4:44am
Do you have recordings available of the music you are working on in class? If so, you could assign the student to practice the material you did in the class he/she missed for a certain  amount of time and have him/her verify the practice with a parent/guardian note, perhaps on a standard form you develop.
 
What do the math/English/social studies teachers in your school do in such situations? Does the school/district have a policy on this? Consistency never hurts when asking students to do something that all the other students aren't doing.
on July 2, 2014 1:18pm
Good suggestions Thomas.   This sounds like another instance where the priorites are sports, "academic" subjects, everything else, and music, in that order.
on July 25, 2014 9:31am
Thanks Thomas. This is what I'm trying to develop along with a form. I'll have it vary slightly for band and choir kids obviously. :) Do you use anything for making up missed time? 
on July 26, 2014 5:42am
If you have access to Smart Music, perhaps you could use that as a way to document their practice and check proficiency - not only for students who miss class but for all students.
I haven't used it, but that is one of the selling points.
Laura Brock
 
on July 26, 2014 7:33am
When my students know that they are going to miss, they pre-arrange with their section leader to record the rehearsal.  I will allow a phone or iPad to be used for this.  We place it in front of the room during rehearsal.  The absent student then gets the recording and goes through it "virtually."  It is not a perfect system, but it works for me.  I also expect my section leaders to get with absent students and make sure they have any markings or pronunciations that were covered during the absence.  It keeps the responsibility on the students and not on me.  I teach high school choir.  This may not work in a Jr. High situation.
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on July 26, 2014 9:00am
Smart Music does the trick, and it is customizable for the music you are using at the moment.  Will do your scoring as well.
on July 26, 2014 12:02pm
Whenever I have students miss a rehearsal, I have them learn excerpts on their own and record themselves singing it for me. I might say "Sing measures 1-20 of piece A and measures 43-57 of piece B". They post the video on youtube (as a private video) and send me the link.
 
I also do this for part-testing. Once or twice a quarter, I have all of myu students submit videos of themselves singing excerpts. I use this as an assment grade. I also do this before concerts. Only students who pass part-testing may sing in the concerts and you can only pass my class if you singi ng the concerts....
 
My rule is that everyone gets an "A" on these videos. I will allow you to continue to submit the videos until they are error free (within reason, of course).
 
This encourages students NOT TO MISS REHEARSALS. It also is a great way to make sure everyone in your choir knows their part.
 
When I started this process, I got a lot of resistantce from my students (and a few parents), but I stood my ground. The difference it makes in your choir is simply incredible.
 
The one thing that you need to do is make part tapes available so that students can learn music at home if they do not have a piano or skills to plunk out notes on their own.
on July 27, 2014 11:15am
For missing a class period, I ask my students to answer an "Absent Question" which I post on my online lesson planner.   The question can be anything related to class that day, such as about something in the music, something we discussed, something about an upcoming event, etc.  My thought here is that they have to access the planner (hopefully read through what we did/worked on, so I don't have any more "did we do anything important in class yesterday? questions) and then just answer the question.  Sometimes they can answer it with little help, but other times they must reach out to a classmate or me for help, so there are short interactions that center on at least one important thing from the missed lesson.  I save the "record yourself singing your part" idea for less frequent absences, such as missing an after school rehearsal/concert.
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