Wow. PD and classroom prep kept me busy last week, then I was out of town from Friday- Monday. Monday night I spent getting ready for the first day of school today. I am proud to say that I actually am feeling confident enough about school tomorrow that I can take the time to write this. Yay!
I wanted to do an #msSunFun post, even though Sunday is long gone, because I think this week’s topic of homework is so important and key. I also struggle with it daily and have been so interested in reading everyone’s posts this week. So here goes…
Some things I believe to be true about homework:
1. It is so important, vital, for students to practice the skills they learn in class on an individual basis.
2. Students, families, and society as a whole, are putting less and less emphasis on the importance of homework. I have many students who do every single thing asked of them every single night, but just as many who clearly don’t think it is important and don’t seem to care if they ever do the work.
3. I can pretty much determine which kids won’t do the homework based on their performance in class and the understanding of the material. If a student does not understand the lesson, they aren’t going to jump right on that homework to brush up on their skills. They just won’t do it.
4. If students understand the material and feel confident, they are much more likely to do the assignment because they feel good about it. And students feeling confident and good about things.
5. There are some students who really, truly, don’t need to do their homework and they will ace their assessments. BUT I think there is value in learning how to do homework and how to study for tests because one day will come when these kids will need to know these things and will never have learned them.
6. There is no point in a student doing 30 problems if they do them all wrong.
7. Students hate showing work and will do whatever they can to write down the least amount of “work” possible no matter how many times I tell them that the work is DOING THE PROBLEM.
So in thinking about these things, my plan for this year is going to be something like this:
I will assign homework on a regular basis, pretty much nightly. These assignments will be drastically different than I have done in the past. Last year, I had students do 20ish similar problems, typically they were able to do a lot of it during class, then the next day they would come in, the work and answers will be on the board, I would walk around and give students checks for completion, we would review the problems on the board and ask questions, then some students would stand up and recycle their papers and I would want to scream. My plan for this year is to incorporate a few of these great ideas:
1. Give students the answers with their homework. This accomplishes a few things. It forces them to focus on the work and it allows them to check and correct their work if they don’t get the right answer. I also plan on putting in a couple of wrong answers sometimes and challenging the students to find them and fix them.
2. In the past I would give an exit ticket (2 problem assessment) immediately after the lesson, then students would do their homework. I am going to move this. I now plan on having students come in, check their work, answer questions, then do the quick assessment.
3. Checking will be much more interactive. I loved this post where she talks about having students check their answers with their groups and discuss them when they come in. I am trying to focus on getting kids talking this year, so this will be a good start!
4. I also like the idea of assigning must do and may do problems, so students who need more practice can do more, students who need less can do less. I am also toying with the idea of letting students skip homework if they really believe they can get a 3.0 (mastery in our scoring scales) on the assessment. If they don’t, I would have them go back and to the practice and redo the assessment. If they did this multiple times, I would take this out as a an option for them. Not sure on this yet…
5. I also need/want to continue to check homework for completion, but want to change this somehow.
I would love any more ideas and suggestions!