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!
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