I love the color code idea, I'll have to try that one! For parental communication, I find the most effective is using the parents email and our class website. In terms of students that are missing class/or out of class for any reason, I have a small whiteboard with a marker & eraser taped to it next to the door and students that exit my classroom for ANY reason (office, ESL, resource, band, Title I, bathroom etc.) must sign their first names on the white board, so at a glance I know exactly who is out and where. This is extremely important in emergencies or during fire drills/code blues.
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