It's hard to believe winter break is coming to an end! After spending some time relaxing and taking a trip to historic Lambeau Field (these were our nosebleed seats!), it's time to get back in the school state of mind...or at least partway there. With nothing new happening in the classroom, I thought I'd take a minute to talk about some of the new homework routines I've put in place this year with my 6th grade math students.
With our district's transition to grading for learning, my view of homework and its purpose has changed quite a bit from when I began teaching. Homework is a chance for students to practice whatever concept we are learning in class. It doesn't count towards a student's grade, other than being marked as turned in or missing. I have spent a great deal of time stressing to students how completing homework assignments has an almost direct correlation to how they do on tests, quizzes, and other in-class checks that reflect how they are doing in the class! Below are some of the things I have started to include into my daily homework routine.
1 - Shared Homework List
This year I began sharing a homework list ahead of time with each student and parent on a shared Google document. This has been one of my favorite changes I've made to our homework routine. Before each chapter starts, I add all of the chapter's upcoming assignments to the document and print a hard copy to post in the classroom. As we get closer to each homework assignment, I add the due date to the document. Parents have really appreciated knowing the assignments in advance and it especially helps if a student knows that they will be absent for a day.
2 - Checking Homework
At the start of each class, I walk around the class and check each student's homework assignment from the previous day. I am looking for whether or not the student has completed the homework and shown work (if needed). Checking the answers is the responsibility of the students. I always assign problems from the book that have answers given in the back. This way, students and parents can check their own work as they complete the assignment. Although I don't collect every homework assignment, I still have these homework turn-in baskets in my room for any late work that needs to be checked!
3 - Homework Completion
In the past, I have struggled with getting students to complete their homework on time. Tracking our homework data as a class has helped motivate some of my students to improve their homework completion. For students who are missing a lot of work, my school also has them stay after school a couple of days each week to help them get caught up. This has helped motivate some of my students who have started to fall behind with work. Recently, one of my classes made it to 100% for three straight days!
It seems like every year my homework routines get tweaked to make it a little bit more effective and efficient! So far this year, I like how this system has been working. My students are much more accountable for turning in work than they have been in the past and it has shown in the percentage of students who are turning in homework. I'd love to hear how you run your homework routines in the comments section! Enjoy those last few days of winter break everyone!