From: Terry Hernandez
To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Subject: Grading Policy for homework
As a school the principal asked us to get together to have a homework grading policy that was reasonable for our students. He recommended that we not weight the homework as much as we had been doing in the past, and we settled on making the homework only 5-10% of our total grade for the quarter. I really didn't like that idea, but... I have found other ways to get students to do their homework. I check it in each day by handing out "Hot Tickets" (an idea I got from Mailbox Magazine). These tickets are handed out to students who have completed the assignment. They sign them and turn them in, then I have a weekly drawing for prizes. These prizes usually take the form of a bathroom pass good for 5 uses, a "no homework" pass good for 1 assignment, 10 "dragon dollars" (my classroom currency with which they can purchase things they need), inexpensive mechanical pencils, neon-colored wedge-shaped erasers, etc. Occasionally I throw in a package of hot Cheetos or some Airheads. Once or twice I've even put in $1 bill. My returned homework has gone from about 25% up to an average of 87%, and it takes little effort on my part to make up the "prizes." I also have lunch and after-school tutoring on Tuesdays and Thursdays. These are times students can bring in their homework for more small-group help. Those who have difficulty with the English language, and those who are just struggling are welcome to come. This has built a good relationship with these kids, as well, which comes in handy when I ask them to do the work, "just for me."
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