3 Tips to Promote Attendance in Your Virtual Classroom

Using Google Classroom tools to encourage student engagement

It is a Monday morning and you are ready to start a brand new week, but are your students? You log in to your classroom and wonder to yourself, “How many will show up today? How did their weekends go? What will they think of the science lesson I have planned? I hope they remember to use the mute button appropriately!” At 8:00 am, you see student faces pop up on your screen, and each picture tells a different story: one is eating breakfast, another is wearing unicorn pajamas while smiling at the class, and one is seen with a bright red shirt that reads, “Is homework optional?” A smile spreads across your face … but fades as you realize only 18 of your 25 have logged in. This is a common situation for educators worldwide; the pandemic has brought many challenges to tackle, including attendance.

  • How do you track student attendance?
  • In what ways can it be engaging?
  • Are you holding students accountable in a way that makes sense?

Here are 3 tips …

TIP 1: Ask a YES/NO attendance question in Google Classroom. In your classroom, you can create a new question to ask students each day; this will help track attendance, and the simplicity of the assignment will make it more likely that they will complete it. Have them select “yes” when they attend. If students had an emergency or appointment, they would select “no.”

TIP 2: Ask a Question of the Day: this is a unique way to track student attendance and promotes classroom discussion! It gets students talking and thinking about things a student may commonly wonder. When students select an answer for that day, it shows they were in class. The questions can range from “What is the best video game?” to “Would you rather live in a house made of Takis or a house made of chocolate?” These questions can later be used during a video call as an opportunity for students to share why they chose a specific answer. The questions will provide depth to conversations and allow students to learn about one another.

What do my current students think of these options? Mike R. from Phoenix, AZ, says…

“I like answering the question of the day in our virtual classroom; they make me think of things that don’t seem possible! I get the chance to see how my friends responded and talk about our answers during class discussions.”

TIP 3: Create a weekly check-in to track attendance AND meet the social-emotional needs of all students. Create a Google Form to ask questions such as: How are you feeling this week? What is on your mind? Choose the emoji that matches your mood today? Do you need to have a check-in with me today? These are great ways to gauge how students are feeling; sometimes they may be too embarrassed to speak up in class or in a chat box. This form shows they attended class and gives valuable validation to their emotions.

The weekly check-in is the preferred choice for Jesus P., a third-grade student from Phoenix, AZ.

“[I] like to share important information with my teacher and get the chance to privately meet with her if I am having a rough week. I get to tell her what I need with no interruptions from others!” His classmate, Daniel B. echos that thought: “I like the weekly check-ins because the form is easy for me to fill out. I use the emojis to tell my teacher how I am feeling.”

The ultimate goal …

The beauty of the teaching profession is the uniqueness of each educator; while all options are appealing, teachers will choose what method works best for their class and adjust accordingly. The goal is to: increase attendance, build relationships, and aim for 100% of students showing up on your screen each day.

Rebecca Brinkman is a third grade teacher who is active in the Classroom Champions community as a Teacher Ambassador. She values Classroom Champions Mentorship+ Program because she believes that contact with her class’s Athlete Mentor builds relationships among her students, increases their confidence, and grows their social skills. Rebecca says, “In my last five years as a Classroom Champions teacher, I have witnessed tremendous growth from students of all walks of life. What is the common bond these students have shared as members of Classroom Champions? Growth.”

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Classroom Champions mission is to connect underserved students with world-class mentors, support teachers, and engage families so our children can achieve a successful future. Learn more at: www.classroomchampions.org

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Rebecca Brinkman

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