A reader of my recent blog, Charter Schools-Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained?, commented that perhaps one of the disadvantages of charter schools is that teachers...
Hassel Free Homework: Solutions For Teachers
Hassle Free Homework
I always refer to homework as a necessary evil. Meant to reinforce concepts learned in school, homework sheets can be a major part of a school’s photocopying budget. Another problem is getting the students to do the homework. With many children enrolled in afterschool programs due to working parents or families just being too busy to provide adequate supervision of homework completion, finding homework solutions is becoming increasingly difficult. Finally, we as teachers are also cramped for time and formulating, correcting, grading and recording homework results can take an enormous amount of our precious time. A good teacher needs homework strategies to provide relief from the homework nightmare.
.Homework Tips For Teachers
One of the first ways we can address all of these issues is to remember what homework is really all about. Encarta Dictionary defines homework as: “schoolwork done at home, schoolwork that students do outside of class or after school at home.” While we cannot actually demand that the work be done at home, through good preparation we can try to guarantee that our students are actually completing the homework and not someone else.
A good way to keep everyone from getting bogged down by homework is to plan ahead. If at the beginning of the week students receive a listing of the week’s (or in older students, the month’s) homework assignments with due dates, they can schedule themselves to make sure to complete the assignments on time. Knowing they have a big soccer game on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning an important assignment is due, students can choose to complete the work on Monday night. By either distributing a handout to place in their notebook or folder or listing the assignments and due dates on the class website, we can help our students learn how to organize their time and plan accordingly. Some assignments can be regulars every week (month) so that students always know on a certain date that type of assignment is due. (i.e.preparation for spelling tests, weekly math quizzes or any subject chapter/unit review.)
Keep your assignments brief and to the point. Ten math problems on a new concept learned will give you just as much information about whether they have acquired the concept as forty. Your students will be much more likely to complete them and you will have an easier time correcting them as well. You can always throw in an optional challenge question or two for those motivated to go a bit further. Homework strategies such as having students choose to answer a set number of questions out of a total group also work well. Even if some students consistently opt to answer the easier questions, you can evaluate them accordinglyby listing the “homework points” available for each question. They may still opt to answer the easier questions, but if a student knows they are capable of completing an assignment, they will be much more likely to do so.
Create a system for handing in completed assignments or homework worksheets, be it folders, baskets on your desk or collection through a student monitor. Make sure from day one your students know and understand your system and be consistent in following through on using it. Students need to see that you value the work they do at home. They need to know that what you have assigned isn’t mere busy work, rather a way for you to monitor the progress and acquisition of concepts. A long these lines, it is very important to return assignments, with comments where appropriate, in a timely manner. In addition, if you get backlogged in your grading, you may have no idea that they didn’t understand the first step of a sequence so how could they possibly complete the next level of work?
Make use of the technology that is available to students these days when assigning homework. There are many wonderful web sites with exciting activities for students to practice certain skills such as Discovery Education. Many also contain homework strategies and some even offer options to have homework solutions verified. Parents and students can be notified at the beginning of the year of your plans to make use of such sites and a list of those you find appropriate. If you are aware that not all students have computer and internet access these can function as additional practice. Alternatively, these sites can be used strictly as “helpers” for the students who may not have such help available to them and you can “suggest” they make use of certain specific options on the sites. Homework does not have to be boring, nor do you have to reinvent the wheel. With proper planning and forethought, homework strategies can alleviate the evilside of the necessity!