My after school choir is made up of volunteers.  The folks who have a good attendance record and who attend 80% of rehearsals get to go on our field trips.

With that in mind, over the years I’ve spent a TON of time keeping track of choir attendance.  I’ve created spreadsheets, created weekly rosters, had students using rehearsal time hunting for their name and learning how to mark a check or highlight their name….and conferenced with students who are at risk of loosing their spot……  Tedious business that did not really help me keep track of much and made sure that I was working too hard!

Good ideas happen in the strangest places!

This year I had an epiphany at the dollar store. when I came across some cookie sheets. choir attendance I asked some student choir elves to help me out.   They labeled one cookie sheet with HERE and one cookie sheet with ABSENT.  Since I had a large group of students, both 4th and 5th grade had their own set.  5th grade blue, 4th grade green

I typed everyone’s name like this:

John Doe
5-7 (my example is missing the number).

Then I laminated the green and blue sheets of paper that I printed onto.  I then had my choir elves cut out the tags and put magnets on the back.

When “John” is absent, I put a hash mark on the tag.  “John” decided a few weeks ago that he didn’t want to come to choir anymore…. I can tell just by looking because the hash marks make it super easy to count the absences.  It’s past time for me and John to have a chat.

Storage and Use:

1. I keep them in the choir folder buckets. (You can see the 5th grade choir bucket on the far right of this picture.  The attendance cookie sheets fit easily into the back.

2. I keep the HERE sheet nested in the ABSENT sheet so that the magnets don’t get picked off by accident.  Storing them together makes sort of a name tag sandwich and keeps those tags on the sheet when they are not in use.

3. Everyone starts out absent…we haven’t had class yet….

4.  As they arrive, they move their tag to the HERE sheet.

5.  All I do is remind everyone to move their tag.  Then at the end of class, I put a mark on the magnets still remaining on the ABSENT sheet.

6.  Numbering the tags makes it VERY fast to put them in order for next times use.  In fact, this set up is so easy that I have released the management entirely over to the students.  I have an attendance captain who marks absences for me and I can refer to this “living” document when I need to.

This has worked so well that I’m seriously considering using a similar system in my classroom for daily attendance. I’m thinking that if I had class sets in baggies and then “day” sets in baggies, I could switch them out….. I’m not totally sold on using this in a large scale capacity, but for choir or other special ensembles its soooooo much easier than what I was doing I’m going to keep it up.


This can double as a choir arrangement chart