Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Math Workshop - The Homework Center

On to the next center of focus in math workshop! And the winner is....HOMEWORK!

After my students finish their rotation at the teacher center, they go directly to the homework center. This time is a critically important time for my kids! This is where they get to practice what they have just learned by themselves. In past years, I have sometimes let them work with a partner, but this year I have kept the homework center as an individual work time. My students have other times to work together and I think it is important for them to try these problems on their own! Students have the choice of working at their seat or finding a spot by themselves around the room.

We have a math curriculum we use at my school and my homework assignments are usually a set of about 10-15 odd numbered problems (so students can check their own answers!). For a lot of my lessons, I actually give students two assignments to choose from. Homework A is the regular homework and Homework B is more challenging. I let students choose, but sometimes I need to push certain students to choose Homework B if I feel like they can handle it!

This year I also began sharing a homework list with students (and all my parents!) before each unit begins. This has been one of, if not THE biggest, change I have made from last year! It takes some preparation to have the homework assignments for each unit ready to go before we start, but it is a great way for parents to keep track of what homework is due! I share it as a Google doc and then just update the due dates as we go!

One downside to math workshop is that one group always needs to start at the homework center without meeting with the teacher first. It turns out this really isn't too much of a problem. I have one of my more advanced groups being with homework. Before we break into rotations, I usually give the whole class a quick mini-lesson on whatever concept we are learning (maybe 5 minutes tops!). That is usually enough for this group to get started on their own.

Finally, one extra note about homework that has been too effective not to mention! After the 4-5 weeks of the school year, my sixth graders as a whole weren't the greatest at getting homework completed on time. We decided to start implementing a new system at my school that has been extremely effective (check out the graph below!). Students who aren't finished with their work go to work on finishing it at lunch on that day. They grab their lunch and bring their math stuff to a separate room where they can get some help finishing up that day's assignment! If you find where the graph changes from teal to green, that is right when we started implementing this new system - talk about results!

I'd love to hear any questions about how I am using homework or ideas you have about what works in your classroom in the comments section below!


  1. Do you give any sort of grade for the homework? Do you go over it during class or do you check it all yourself?

  2. The only homework grade they get is for homework completion. I go around at the start of class and check off if they have it done or not. I will sometimes go over one or two problems at the start of class if there are questions!

  3. What text book series do you use?

    1. We use Math Connects from Mcgraw-Hill for 6th grade math.