To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Subject: Homework Policy
At the beginning of the year each team sends home a sheet (which must be signed and returned) explaining their HW policy. All of our middle school students must carry an agenda (assignment notebook) provided by the school to record all assignments every day. At the beginning of class they take out their agendas to record their HW, and take out their HW froom the previous night. I then make a quick trip around the room. If their HW is missing or unacceptable (set your own standards) they get a red signature from the teacher, and must stay after school for 1/2 hour. All teachers in all subjects do this. If the students are not used to this system, be prepared to keep quite a few after school the first couple of weeks. This serves 2 purposes. The homework will get done. Parents have nightly feedback on their children and should recognize a problem early on. Students may phone home if they must let their parents know they are staying. We have been using this system for several years and parents and teachers like it. It is also a simple way to communicate with short notes when necessary. It helps the students with their organizational skills that are a problem for so many of them. If they bring a note from home saying they attempted the HW but had problems completing it they will not get a red signature, but are expected to learn it in class that day - or come after school for extra help. I have the students correct their own HW, and give 2-3 quizzes/week (which may/must be made up if low). Personally, I keep my rankbook by entering the HW followed by the quiz that goes with it, rather than on seperate sheets. I collect and enter HW before tests/quizzes. I enter it as a check, check minus (1/2 credit), 0, 0-NW (no work, no credit), 0-INC, Late (1/2 credit unless absent). This allows them and me to clearly see the relationship between completed HW and highlighted quiz/tests grades. At the end of the term I make out a HW average to count as a test grade. A quick and easy HW motivator is to have a posted monthly HW chart. If a class has perfect HW they get a star that day. At the end of the month come up with a prize for them. (candy, HW pass, special activity?) A little positive peer pressure is not a bad thing, and they enjoy the competition. A simple way to inform parents of missing work is to number and list HW, tests, and quizzes as they appear in your rankbook. Write and Xerox the list, then just check off what is owed. It is quick to periodically update the original list, and saves a lot of time when a parent/student requests a list of missing work. This is probably more info than any of you wanted!
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