The No Homework, “Responsibility Binder”

The homework discussion came up over and over at #TMC12. No one is totally happy with their system, but here were some common themes.

We were all more concerned that students attempted the problems.  Several of us give the students the answers when assigning homework.  I’m in this category. I like them to check their answers as they work so they know when if they are doing it correctly.  It also allows me to tell them that I all already know the answer, I want to see HOW they came up with that answer.

As they already have the answers,  I do not grade homework. I just check it for completion as they are doing a “bell ringer” activity. For their grade, I start them out with 50 points at the beginning of the trimester and dock then two points everytime they miss an assignment. For most kids, this is a real grade booster as 50 points is equivalent to a test grade in my class.

Last year, I saw an amazing Student Responsibility Card on Hedge’s blog.  I totally stole it, but but made it into a half page to save paper and made it YELLOW.  Then, I had students fill out this yellow slip when they didn’t do their homework.  This was a great idea, as I never had to “record” who didn’t do their homework.  I just collected the yellow sheets and then recorded it at the end of the trimester. This took almost no time and was a record, in their own handwriting, of who had not done their work.  The biggest problem was that I just stacked these in a pile and didn’t really look at them until the end of the trimester.  So, unless a student was very obvious (no homework several times in a week), I missed accumulating homework incompletion.


My second problem was that I thought that filling out yellow sheets would thwart most of my errant homework kids, but it did not.  Seventh graders can be quite persistent, and homework incompletion was no exception.

In a discussion with Sean Sweeny at the airport (yes, we were all still talking math right up until we got on the plane), he told me that if one of his students doesn’t do their homework they have to stay after school or to do a study hall to make it up. I believe he said that this was a school wide policy. Sean said that this was pretty effective in getting the kids to do homework on the night it was assigned.  They knew they had to do it anyway, and no one wants to sit after school doing homework.  So, his students were pretty good about doing their homework.

This year I would like to do something similar, but more organized. And, I would like to make the students more accountable for completion of their homework.  My fabulous director always says that if we are assigning homework, then it should be important enough for every student to complete.

After seeing this great idea on Pinterest from Leslie at Jack of all Trades, I made a no homework binder.  I call it a “Responsibility Binder”.  I still want students to fill out a sheet when they don’t do their homework. It was so valuable to see their reason WHY they didn’t do their homework in their own words.   But instead of loose half sheets, it will be organized alphabetically in a binder.  Another improvement is going to be the addition of a “date completed” column on this sheet.  I want to give the students ownership over completing their homework.


Even if students don’t do their homework initially, they will still be required to complete it.  And this should be an easy way to have the student keep track of it. If they don’t complete two or three in a row, I’ll intervene.

There has been much discussion on Twitter about having an electronic GDoc Form that students filled out when they did not do their homework.  I really liked this but I can’t make it work because I want students to go back and fill in the date when the homework is completed.  I don’t want them to have access to the GDoc as they could change it, or get confused about which column to write it in.  I could have them fill out another GDoc when they complete their homework but I’m afraid they won’t be able to keep up with this.  I am thinking that a hard copy record in a binder is going to work best for me right now.  I am still working on this in my mind however because I do love all things electronic.
Here is my proposed sheet. I would love any suggestions!

Read other #made4math posts here!

19 thoughts on “The No Homework, “Responsibility Binder”

  1. Love it! I had seen some great quarter sheet forms for missing homework, but was concerned about how to keep track of little forms – anything that becomes my responsibility to file/paste/sort ends up in the “pile”. This is a super form, especially the date finished column. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I did something similar last year with positive results. My “No Homework” sheets were quarter size and yellow. I would take the ones turned in and clip them to my next days’ lesson. It served as a reminder to me to ask the student for the assignment. If it still was not completed then I phoned the parents that day. Typically, the assignment would be turned in after the parent contact with rarely a repeat of a missing assignment again. However, if I still not get the completed assignment, the slip with all my documentation on the back of the slip went to the VP. The VP would then deal with the issue in a variety of ways.

  3. I’m making my No Homework binder forms and wanted to ask you some questions if thats cool.
    So each student will have their name on a paper and put in the binder. Are you keeping all of your students in one binder, or going to have different ones depending on the prep?

    Also are you worried about traffic control at all – say 4 students don’t do their hw then they all have to go to the same binder find their sheet and fill it out – do you foresee this being a problem with it taking up too much class time?

    I really like the whole date you missed it/ date you made it up aspect and want to incorporate it but don’t know how to make it work for me.

    • All of my students will be in one binder. I am not going to make a sheet for every student. Rather, I’m going to have a stack of sheets in the front of the binder. The first time a student doesn’t do their hw, they will get a sheet and put their name on it, fill it out and then file it. Hopefully that will cut down in traffic bc they can all fill out at same time and then only wait to file it in the binder. Many of my students will never need a sheet.

      I was initially worried about traffic but am less so now that i have added the completion date. Since they will be required to finish the homework wo credit, I am thinking I won’t have as many students not completing their hw this year,

      I hope this helped some. 🙂

      • I love all your ideas… they are amazing and super helpful. I love your ‘No homework binder’ idea. I was wondering if you still give the students the 50 marks with 2 mark deductions or is the incentive that once they miss two or three assignments, they stay after school to complete it? Thanks again for all the great ideas!!!

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  5. I have the students who fail to complete their homework fill out a pink slip that essentially has them state the assignment, the chapter it came from and why the assignment was not complete. We are required to email parents if a student does not complete an assignment. If they turn it in on time, high of 100%, day late (even if turned in later that day), high of 80%, two days late, high of 60%, after that point, it is a grade of 0.

    I allow my students to make corrections to their tests for half credit back. Failing to complete all assignments for that chapter on time will result in the inability to make corrections for credit. I still make them do the corrections because I need to know they understand the materia.

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  8. I like this and am going to give it a try…I have some regular 7th graders that don’t do homework…I had one class that 16 kids out of 22 did not do their hw one day!

    The other thing that I am doing is emailing home a copy of my answer key to parents…the parents are loving this! (not just the answer but each problem worked out). The child does their homework, the parent checks it, and helps them to correct it if there are mistakes. This has cut down tremendously on the time I spend going over homework at the start of class. I only answer questions from kids that are still struggling to understand a problem and dodge all those questions where they get it wrong, I spend a few minutes going over it, and their response is something like, “oh, 2 times 3 is 6, I wrote 8!”.

    Anyway…love your blog, just found it recently. Appreciate all your goodies!

    • Help! I’m thinking of discontinuing my binder. I get a line of students to sign the binder, and then they either miss the homework review or warmup and they are the kids who need to do it the most. I’m thinking it is easier to just do a visual check, but I don’t want to give up the excuses they write down. Suggestions?

      • We give the sheet to each student. If they don’t do the homework they are responsible for filling it out. Since my students are in groups, I have other group members keep those students accountable for filling out the table.

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