Simplify Attendance and Grade Entry

When I was a first year teacher, I observed one of the P.E. teachers at my school as she marked students present on her roster. Instead of checkmarks, she used dots for present students. I adopted this shortcut immediately and developed it further into my own shorthand for my gradebook. Although my district requires electronic entry of attendance and grades, I still prefer to maintain a paper version for quick reference (e.g. grading student work while waiting for an appointment or showing a missing assignment to a student while walking around my classroom).

TIP #1: When entering student attendance data on your attendance sheet (download for FREE in my store), use a single dot to indicate if a student is present or a circle if the student is absent. AttendanceCodesI then code the dot with “ED” if a student has early dismissal or I’ll fill in the circle with “TE” for Tardy-Excused or “TU” for Tardy-Unexcused.

TIP #2: When entering grades in your gradesheet (download for FREE in my store), use a single dot if a student receives full credit, the number grade if the number is less than 100%, or a circle if an assignment is not turned in. GradingCodesWhen I transfer the grades from my paper gradebook to my electronic gradebook, I highlight the circles in YELLOW so I know that I’ve entered the grade as-is. If the work is submitted within the late deadline for reduced credit but after I’ve entered the grades online, I’ll change the online grade AND use pink highlighter over the previously yellow-highlighted circle to indicate that I’ve changed the grade already.

Download my FREE rainbow-themed attendance-and-gradesheet-thumbnailAttendance and Gradesheets here at my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

What systems have you developed to help you streamline your everyday tasks?

Teacher Binder Organization Tips


My teacher binder, AKA my lifeline during the school year, contains the most important documents for my day-to-day work:

  • attendance rosters
  • student grade sheets
  • paperwork about students’ learning needs
  • students’ “All About Me” forms from the beginning of the school year
  • logs for student behavior and parent contact
  • work for absent students
  • school forms


My tips for organization:

1) Use tabbed dividers to separate the papers for each class.

table-of-contentsOn the back of the divider, I attach paperclips to the top and bottom to hold extra copies of assignments for students who are absent from class. That way, when I flip open the section for the class to take attendance, the assignment is readily available for me to hand to the student when he or she returns. Back-of-dividerBecause I teach in 3 different classrooms, it’s easier for me to hold onto handouts for my students instead of setting up a separate station in each classroom where students can go to pick up their missed work.


2) Within each class section, use brightly colored paper to divide the contents further.

Each class section in my binder is ordered:

  • Students’ attendance and grade sheets printed double-sided (FREE in my store)
  • Colored paper divider
  • Paperwork on students’ learning needs (IEPs and 504s)
  • Colored paper divider
  • Students’ “All About Me” sheets from their class syllabus
  • Colored paper divider
  • Other, for example: If a student struggles with making appropriate behavior choices, I simply jot down the date and a few notes on a piece of paper (a description of the behavior and consequences, including parent communication, if applicable), and this paper is filed with the student’s class section.
What organizational systems do you use to keep track of your student data? I would love to know your tips!

Teacher Planner

Teacher Planner Covers


One of the first things that I do to prepare for the new school year is to set up my planner.

Once I’ve printed and ordered my pages, I take my planner to my local office supply store and have the front and back covers laminated for durability. Teacher Planner PreviewThe lamination and the spiral binding cost me less than $10.

This year, I also decided to add pockets because I previously used binder clips and paper clips to hold materials in my planner. I love these colorful binder tabs because they complement my color scheme, and I cover them with clear glossy tape for durability.Planner photo

Once I have the planner assembled, I label the dates for my weekly spread, and I add in events from my school district’s calendar, my husband’s work, etc. I like to color code the events using repositionable flags because they’re easy to move when dates change. When I receive my class schedule, I will then label each block with class period and name. As the year progresses, it’s so helpful to keep track of what my students have done and what my future plans entail.

What is the first thing you do to prepare for your new school year? How do you keep track of your lesson plans?