It is July, the month I let myself start thinking and preparing more about the next school year. I try to make myself take the last half of June off (usually without much success.) Today I am pondering the homework question....
I have tried many different ways of doing homework. I have done weekly packets, nightly homework and a calendar. I have done differentiated homework packets and challenge homework packets.
I am a Mom of two girls (going into 3rd and 6th) and will admit their homework assignments have been a reality check! In my perfect world a student will complete their homework, study for their test and read for 20-30 minutes every night. In my real world, we rush from school to gymnastics, dance or softball. Eat dinner in the car while rushing the other child to a different event. I would love to actually get a little exercise in for me (thought not likely.) We get home at dark, take showers then sit down to do homework. I make sure what has to be done is done before they go to sleep. I love, love, love packets because we can do more on a slightly less crazy night. I am so proud of how well my girls can now use their time wisely and will work on assignments before and after school in the classroom, in the car or the day before. Sadly I will have to admit reading is usally the thing that gets put off.
As a teacher, I want the homework to be meaningful for the students and not take me forever to put together or check. This past year, I used a "homework menu" where the students had several must-do's and then could pick from the other lists. Most assignments helped review for upcoming test and skills practice. There were several computer based practice methods and several that were not computer based. I think the students and parents like it. It was pretty easy for me to put together and I just checked it for completeness. The students could challenge themselves by completing all of the activities if they wanted too. I did "tweak" the menu every month or so. Homework is not part of their grade. However it is the kids who do not do their homework who score poorly on their weekly test.
Click on the image bellow to download the menu we used as a pdf. You can download the Word file here, but I don't know if the format will hold on your computer, but you can make the adjustments you may need.
I am interested to know, what do your do for homework in your class. Weekly or nightly? Do you grade it for correctness or completeness? Is it part of their grade. What are your plans for this year? I look forward to reading the comments and getting more ideas!
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