A Student Roll System

Tim Hawthorne



  • Key Words:Learner Training, Vocabulary
  • Learner English Level:beginners
  • Learner Maturity Level:Jr. High, Sr. High
  • Preparation Time:approx. 1 hour
  • Activity Time:approx. 2 50-min. periods, but vocabulary should be constantly employed thereafter


The following article marks the introduction of a new feature of My Share: Tales from the Trenches. Teachers tend to find novel, highly individual, and efficient ways to address problems that recur in their classes: Be it a student who dominates the conversation, one who never speaks, or one who always sleeps, we develop ways to create more positive learning environments; when administrivia threatens to disrupt the flow and pace of our classes, we seek to reduce its negative impact; if we find ourselves with more writing classes than we have marking time, we systematize and streamline our methods of giving feedback. Our solutions to problems like these might seem very obvious and ordinary to ourselves, but they may be a revelation to another teacher grappling with a similar situation.

From time to time articles taking a "problem-solution" approach to classroom situations will be presented in My Share. These articles will be from 200-400 words and will focus on one way to address a specific problem. Authors wishing to submit such an article are asked to contact the editors for further guidelines.

Problem: You have trouble remembering your students' names, but want to keep an accurate record of their attendance and participation in each class.

Solution: Using ball-point pen, trace the lines on a standard-sized B4 sheet of graph paper (5mm lines). With a marker, make an extra-thick line every eight lines vertically and nine lines horizontally. This will give you forty large boxes in five rows and eight columns (the bottom row of boxes will measure 8 X 8 lines, rather than 9 X 8, because of the constraints of the graph paper).

Within each of these thick-lined boxes, block off the upper-left corner, six lines square; this box-within-a-box is for each student's photo. The remaining area is for each student's name, number, and other relevant student data. White-out the box divisions on the line immediately below the photo area, and use this space for the student's name and number. This leaves 28 five millimetre square spaces to the left and at the bottom for recording information about student attendance and participation.

Record this information by date only, using the following colour coding; one class period's comments fits in one 5mm box:

  • red date = absent
  • red-circled red date = late
  • blue-circled red date = absent, no homework turned in
  • green date = poor class participation
  • red-circled green date = kicked out of class for disciplinary reasons
  • blue date = poor homework
  • red-circled blue date = present, but no homework turned in
  • pink date = exceptional homework or participation
  • purple date = absent on test day
  • black = evaluations

Tip 1: Tell all students the first day of class that they will not be allowed in class again until they have given you their photo. If you don't it will be a year-long nightmare trying to get photos from some of them.

Tip 2: Don't entrust students with the job of pasting their own photos on the roll sheets.

Tip 3: To prevent peeling and snagging, make colour photocopies of the finished roll sheets.