I Just Can’t Grade Homework

My homework LIFESAVER this year has been my “No Homework – Responsibility Notebook“.  Students who do not do their homework sign this binder.  Every time they sign it deducts 2 points from their trimester homework grade.  It’s so easy to keep up with and the students now know to just go and sign it when they come in class.  It is zero maintenance for me!  I do not “grade” homework right or wrong, but they do get a trimester  grade for homework.

  • I usually assign about 10-20 minutes of homework a night, Monday – Thursdays.
  • I do not give homework on the weekends, but do expect students that are behind to spend some time catching up.
  • I give students the answers to their homework before they do it.  I expect them to check each answer as they work, so they don’t do 15 practice problems incorrectly.
  • The homework is always easier than the work we do in class.  I do not want them to struggle at home where I can’t help them.  I just want to reaffirm the main ideas in class.
  • I have created Concept Help Pages for students to go if they are confused.  If they email me and then work on these pages I do require them to have completed homework.  In this case they must come visit me before school for extra help.
  • I do not collect and grade homework.  I would rather spend my time planning engaging lessons!
  • Each day I walk around and really examine everyone’s homework while they do the warm-up.  I sometimes make students redo it.
  • I do not grade their answers right or wrong since I give them the answers in advance.
  • Students who do not complete their homework must sign the “No Homework – Responsibility Notebook“.  This deducts 2 points from their trimester homework grade.
  • About half-way through the year I have an increasing number of 7th graders that start skipping their homework.  This year I started having them come in at lunch to complete it.  Next year, I am going to put this rule into effect day one.

I think independent practice is so important in math.  Especially since our classes are 50 minutes long.  Since I do many discovery lessons, we barely have time to get to the main ideas much less give them time to practice enough.  Their homework score adds up to a major test grade.  Next year I am going to reduce it’s worth however to equal a quiz grade.  I would also like my students to do their homework more “neatly” next year but I haven’t figured out how to frame that yet.

I actually switched up homework this week in 7th and it was a nightmare.  I did not give them the answers and I we checked it together.  I had them mark what they missed and then I collected it so I could look at it.  So now I have 5 giants stacks of “graded” homework on my desk that I have barely glanced at.  I don’t know how teachers that actually grade homework get it all done!

16 thoughts on “I Just Can’t Grade Homework

  1. Pingback: To Grade or Not To Grade: Homework in Math Class | I Speak Math

  2. I’ve only given out answer keys for test prep but you’ve made me see the value of doing it for daily homework. I’m gonna start that tomorrow. I like your idea of keeping kids in for lunch but I feel thatI’m also being penalized if they don’t do the homework. How do you wrestle wirh that?

    • They ARE being penalized! Lol! This is not for kids that don’t understand, they can come too, it’s for kids who are doing their homework. Plus, my hw only takes 10-15 minutes but lunch is 30 and I make them stay the whole time. I’m a meanie. Do your homework! 🙂

      • I understand. What I mean is that keeping students at lunch can be exhausting for the teacher because (s)he loses out on a peaceful 30 minutes. Your last comment reminds me of a Paula Poundstone comedy routine: “Why pay ten bucks for an assignment notebook with daily inspirational words when I can buy a 99 cent spiral and write Monday: Do your homework. Tuesday: Did you do your homework? Wednesday: Do your homework or else!”

  3. How do you do the answers? Do you run them off, put them online, etc? I don’t grade hw either, but love the idea of giving them the answers. This would also be good for parents who are helping.

    • I run just the answers off, one chapter at a time. If we do a worksheet I put it online. When they do an online set they get immediate feedback so answers aren’t needed.

  4. I like the idea of the no homework binder. do you check to make sure they are actually filling it out? Have you noticed anyone trying to skip that?

    I’ve noticed a HUGE difference in understanding as well for students who have answer keys at home. I’ve offered the solution key on google docs to all the parents, but most of them don’t bother to check their work 😦

    • I make them line up and sign the book. Walk of sham. And mine often forget to check. They aren’t used to having the answers or aren’t taking the time. I have to remind them frequently.

  5. I love how you post the keys, my grandson’s teacher is still working out how to use e-mail.

    And 20 minutes of homework, my son’s family has given up weekly game nights or going to the pool, on Monday it’s usually 2-3-4 hours of homework, with multiple tests and assignments due on Friday, grade 7 has been a hard one on the whole family. Last year my grandson was working on the grade 8 text for fun in grade 6, now he hates math, worksheet after worksheet of repetitive questions, no text books just photocopies they are not supposed to mark up and have to return. Very, very old school, older than me even.

    • Oh my! I’m so sorry! 😦 Our K-5 students in this district have hours of homework as well, it is one of the reasons that I do not send my children to the public schools here. Please read this study, http://today.duke.edu/2006/03/homework.html, and show it to your child’s teachers! My students are a year ahead as well but that is no reason for excessive homework. Kids work hard in school all day, they need a break when they come home just like we do as adults! Good luck to you.

  6. Do you find out if a student decides not to sign the no homework binder? If you check their books anyway, aren’t you essentially grading it (done or not done) and then double checking that they have filled out the folder?

  7. I would love to see one of your Concept pages as my students, being ELLs have no support at home to help them with homework.

  8. Hi, Julie! Hope you are enjoying your spring break. As I begin to prep for school life after my break, I was drawn back to your homework post. Loved the idea of posting the homework answer key online. Are these full solutions or answers only?

    Obviously, students are expected to mark their homework. How do you ensure that students are correcting their work at home?

    The no homework binder was something I also began this year. My sheets happen to be exactly like yours. Hmmm. Maybe that is how I landed on your blog in the first place! My use of the binder also evolved because I experienced the same problem as you with the “Student Responsibility Cards” (I got the same one from a seminar given by Harry Wong and Chelonnda Seroyer last August). Not only did the cards pile up, but I ran out of them and never got around to photocopying more. The binder is definitely neater. My trouble is that while waiting to sign the binder, my students are soooo talkative. Any helpful hints?

    Also, like your students, mine are working on bellwork when signing the binder. These offenders then miss bellwork. Thoughts?

    Thanks, Julie!

  9. Pingback: Blog Entry #7 (I Speak Math) | Steph's Blogarithm

  10. I stole this from a fellow teacher. I grade on completeness and effort only. When the students come in, the answers are on the board. They mark each questions correct or incorrect. When I go around, they can get ‘done’ – the answers are there, partial work or so messy I can’t read, ‘well done’, all work shown, but needs to be neater or more organized, ‘very well done’, all problems have been attempted; the work is neat and orderly, all work is shown. When I see a sea of ‘done’ in my grade book, I tell parents that they just did enough so i could not say it was not done at all.

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