Today, I am linking with a fellow Michigander, Christina at Bunting, Books, and Bright Ideas for her Why I do what I Do linky.
Ahhhhh...the one word that students dislike...HOMEWORK! :) It has taken me awhile to figure out how to really DEAL with homework. Now, just when I had a system down, I am switching to middle school! Now I have to learn a NEW system! Any middle school teachers reading this and have some insight???? :)
When I FIRST started teaching I would collect all of the homework, check it ALL, then return it. Now I know better! :) I've learned that not all students do THEIR OWN homework:
and ME checking it did NOTHING for the students. Not to mention the GIANT pile I would get behind on!!!
So, here was how I dealt with homework the past 2 years, and I have LOVED it. I really don't believe that students should have a lot of homework. I think that kids should be kids, and with most kids involved in so many extra curricular activities, there just isn't TIME for a lot, and honestly FAMILY COMES FIRST. With fourth grade I don't really do a weekly homework communication because I feel as though they need some independent responsibility at this point, so they record everything in their agendas.
First, I only really assigned MATH homework. I used to do a reading log, but then again, the students who were GOING to read, did, and the ones who weren't weren't and their parents would just sign their log. I ask my kids to read at night, and most do. Either way, I can't MAKE them do it...they need to WANT to do it.
Second, I made "Homework Checker" one of my classroom jobs, and assigned it to one of my responsible 4th grade kiddos. Their job in the morning was to go around with the clipboard and make sure kids HAD their homework, showed work, etc. This worked SUPER well for me because it saved me a TON of time in the morning!!!
Third, Every 9 weeks I allow my students 3 strikes with no penalty for missing their homework. The reason I do this is because EVERY ONE forgets from time to time, even me. So out of 45 days, I allow 3 free misses. However, if they DO NOT miss ANY in 9 weeks I reward them with no homework passes, classroom money, etc.
Last, I have learned to go OVER my homework at the beginning of my math lesson. It's not always me just reviewing it, sometimes I will have them review as a group independently and coach students that may not have the right answer. Or I play Stand Up, Hand Up, Pair Up (a Kagan Activity). I learned through a self-reflection that me just going over the answers isn't very engaging. :) Periodically I would also collect their homework to look it over to make SURE they were doing it like I expect. I also make sure the students know that homework is just a way of knowing if THEY are understanding what I am teaching. When it comes to homework my philosophy is:
I care more about WHY you got it wrong and now know how to fix it, than you got it wrong.
Also, today is the LAST day to enter my giveaway!!! It's not about homework, but it's always nice to get something for FREE! :)
This is a great resource for your back to school planning!!! Going over the rules and procedures can get, well, let's face it...kind of boring, but this helps to flip the review by having your students talk about the procedures and teaching each other what they are! By the end of the project you have a nice little class handbook for students to refer to, look back at, or even as a handy resource for a guest teacher!!