Taming the Homework Beast

25 Aug

When I first got into teaching, I would assign homework, collect it, and then spend evenings and weekends killing myself grading it. A couple of years ago that all changed.  I believe I was hiking, which I so desperately wanted to do more of, when I designed the “Homework Summary Sheet“.

This is how it works: The sheet has a section for each day of the week. In that section is a place for the students to do their bellwork (warmup), a place for a post-lesson written reflection, and a little box called HW Status. I hand this sheet out each Monday and I collect it the following Monday. When students arrive to class, they take out the sheet and their homework. While they’re doing their bellwork, I walk around and check off the HW Status for that day with a check-mark (HW done), an X mark (no HW), or I (incomplete) or any other notes I have about their homework.  After this we proceed to go over the homework (which I keep to a small set of exercises).  I never collect the homework (however I do quiz the students each Friday and I look that over in detail).  This has saved me so much time, and the students are able to grade their own homework and look back at it for studying, etc. The last part of the Homework Summary Sheet is an end-of-the-week feedback questionnaire which I carefully read along with their reflections. This is where students tell me how they are doing with the pace of the lessons, topic difficulty, and any other comments that they would rather tell me in writing. I collect the sheet on Mondays, happily reveling in the idea that it’s the only piece of homework I collect!

Now, time for a hike …

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6 Responses to “Taming the Homework Beast”

  1. Megan Hayes-Golding September 1, 2012 at 9:26 pm #

    Anything to get us out of the kids’ way rates an “outstanding idea” in my book. And the way you pulled together warmup, homework, and reflection on a single page is great. I use Interactive Notebooks and could see this going on the left page for me. Thanks for sharing!

    Also, welcome to the math blogotwitteroverse!

  2. Jennifer Miller August 14, 2013 at 5:51 am #

    How is your homework summary sheet going? When reading about it it sounds great. I didn’t see that you collected daily scores for homework, do you just grade the quizzes?

    • pperfectsquares August 15, 2013 at 10:50 am #

      Hi Jennifer,
      The homework summary sheet is a huge time-saver for me. I modified it over the summer to include a place for students to record their HW scores (this is for formative info only for them and me — HW grade based on completeness/effort only). I only grade quizzes and tests for correctness, but I give them weekly. I also changed the HW Summary Sheet to contain a substantial weekly reflection instead of a short daily one. I will post it to my website soon. Thanks. Pam

  3. Monica September 4, 2016 at 2:13 am #

    I cannot wait to try this! My school has gone from block scheduling to 55 minutes. I can do a quick walkaround check and record it into my book, and not have a single piece of homework in my possession. Do you still record it into a gradebook just in case the students lose the sheet?

    • pperfectsquares September 4, 2016 at 7:42 am #

      Hi Monica,

      I don’t record the scores on a separate sheet when I am walking around. The kids must turn this in. If they lose it, they can arrange to bundle together the week’s HW and turn it in, but then they’ve lost bellwork points.

      Good luck on your new school year and schedule!

      –Pam

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  1. New (Math!) Bloggers « Megan Hayes-Golding - September 1, 2012

    […] Taming the Homework Beast […]

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