Fourth Grade Homework

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by bella84, Aug 3, 2018.

  1. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Aug 3, 2018

    Just curious... What do you do for homework in fourth grade? I'll take responses from third and fifth, too.

    My team is looking to change up our homework - again. Our non-negotiables are:
    - encourages daily responsibility (something to turn in or show every day)
    - offers flexibility (for busy families)
    - allows for choice or differentiation (adaptable by student interest, achievement level, family preference, etc.)
    - authentic opportunities for continuing learning or reflecting on learning
    - minimal time required for teachers to look over or "grade"

    We need something for both reading and math - a structure that is consistent from week to week. Any ideas?
     
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  3. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Following because I'd like all the same! In previous years I've done a choice menu that pretty much met all your requirements. I didn't do it last year because my students were having a hard time with the "choice" aspect and if I said "choose 3", for example, they'd not fully complete all three choices. I didn't like that I had to count their activities and see if they were actually done since it made grading more difficult. When I switched to regular worksheets for homework, it was easy to see if the page was done or not done.

    I think I'll try again this year though. I liked that the choice boards had options to practice various skills and taught students to pick the areas that they need the most practice in.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2018
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  4. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Mine is pretty consistently: short math sheet related to what they learned that day (I try to differentiate it if need be, given that day's success) - should be done in 10-15 minutes. We correct it together / they correct and we go over it together the following morning.

    And that's it.

    No reading requirements, except for the constant encouragement and culture of reading / stealing reading time as much as possible; enjoying their reading. (This also plays into the flexibility piece: we specifically talk about how some days they'll not read at all, some days they'll binge read for hours - just like any good reader)

    Occasionally there'll be a separate project or home thing related to social skills, social studies, or science that I might have them do, but that's just if it's a fun home connection.
     
  5. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Aug 4, 2018

    We do read at least four nights per school week; that is it. I was nervous to try it at first, but if last year’s test results are an indication, it worked well.
    We are a Title 1 school, with a lot of difficult family situations, and every single parent was happy. I had a few students who liked to do extra, and I was happy to give them work to take home.

    I know this does not fit several of your criteria, but just wanted to share.
     
  6. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    What were some of the options that you’d put on the board? And how often did you give them a new board? I was thinking of something similar to this, so I’m curious to learn more about it.


    Truthfully, I’m not big on the daily accountability piece, but I have a teammate who is. I prefer to do weekly accountability and allow the students and their families to decide when they have the time to best do homework. I’m generally in the camp of “let’s get rid of homework”, but that won’t fly at my school. So I’m willing to budge and go along with daily accountability.

    I just really don’t want to go back to having all kids complete the same worksheet that was generally busy work. It was too hard for some kids and too easy for others. I didn’t have time to “grade” it well on my own, and we didn’t have class time for it. We just check homework for completion, not an actual grade. Although, when we’ve had students turn in worksheets, I did mark them for correctness, but there was no grade for it. It was just so time-comsuming, and it didn’t seem like the best use of my time.

    We’ve also gone the other direction where we offered total choice to students and families. They can choose any math activity or an optional worksheet that we have available and then log what they work on. It was similar with reading. Write down what you read, how long you read - basically whatever you want to write down to communicate that you did some reading. We would at check the log at the end of the week. It took less than five minutes to look over all of the logs. There was nothing to be graded for correctness. Parents have asked for more guidance, though, and my teammate wants students to turn something in every day. So we are back to square one, and we need to meet somewhere in the middle of everybody gets the same worksheet and everybody can do whatever they want as long as they do something.
     
  7. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I gave them a board weekly. It had options such as: write your spelling words in cursive, write a one page story with your vocabulary words, read a book out loud to a parent for 10 minutes and have the parent sign here, research online to find five facts about sea turtles... I changed it up a bit each week and also left some the same.

    Like I said, though, grading was tricky to do quickly. Sometimes a student would write a half page story instead of a full page, or only include two activities, or choose the one where a parent is supposed to sign but sign it themselves. Homework isn't worth many points anyway, so I was constantly deciding, how many points do I take off for this? Is five lines from the bottom a whole page? What do I do when they've neatly written 17 spelling words but forgot 3? Etc.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2018
  8. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    For my fourth graders, I usually assign one worksheet (ELA, math, science, or social studies) and have them read for 20 minutes over 2 days.
    Sometimes I assign more than one worksheet.

    Upon closer inspection of the original post, I felt it is necessary to add a few things to this post.
    -Reading: Try Book Bingo, Goal Reading (maybe 300 minutes-5 hrs by the end of the month)
    -Math: a packet assigned on Monday and due on Friday
     
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  9. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Aug 4, 2018

    Look into getting IXL. We use it for reading and math at our school - I wish we could get it for science too but that doesn't seem possible. It covers a ton of topics, is self-grading, tracks how much time students worked on the problems, will explain their mistakes, and it means kids can go on their computer, cell phone, tablet - anything that can get on the internet. Our students LOVE it.
     
  10. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Do you use this for homework?
     
  11. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    I'm always curious about the reading bit (and this was me for the first couple years of my career, too): why - outside of trying to "ensure" that reading is happening - is there such a focus around 20 minutes a day for school days...but not much of a focus around getting them reading as a way of life? Weekends provide the greatest amount of time, for example - kids could be reading for hours those days.

    My colleagues do pretty consistently. I don't. I personally am not a fan of giving tech-based things as homework, unless it's a 1-to-1 situation (for obvious reasons), but even if I did assign it, it would be asking students to put X amount of time; some require students to finish a strand, which means that for some kids it'll take 2 minutes, for some it'll take 3 hours and they still won't be successful (since it lacks the teacher input). I certainly "star" the strands that are connected to what we're doing, mentioning those to the kids and parents/families, so that they have that opportunity to do that extra practice should they choose to.
     
  12. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I'm with you. I am not a fan of reading logs and would much prefer that kids just read for pleasure whenever they have the time. It's really because parents want us to require "x number of minutes" that we end up doing it, plus I have teammates who insist on reading logs.

    My school also has IXL, but it's only for students in our intervention program. Even if every child had access, I still wouldn't want to use it for homework because we have many students who do not have access to the technology required. It's sounding like most of you do worksheets or packets for math homework, which I think is what my teammate wants to go back to. I just personally don't like it because I don't have time to grade it, and I hate the whole idea of "everybody gets the same homework, no matter your level". And, I really hate giving kids busy work just to give them homework. I think that there are better ways to teach responsibility.
     
  13. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    How many students do you have? It's not too hard to give two versions of a packet. You could have an advanced version and a remedial version. I've done that before too, and called them yellow group and blue group or something of that sort. Students stay in the same group weekly unless their coursework shows they need to bump up or down a level. When I pass out the homework, I have all the yellow group kids raise their hands, pass those out, then all the blue group kids raise their hands and pass to them.
     
  14. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Our classes range from 17-19 students right now. I've thought about doing something like this, but I see a few issues with it... We would need at least three levels of homework for students on, above, and below. Even within a single class, our students' levels vary that much. The main problem, though, is that we have to create all of our homework from scratch. We don't use a textbook, so we can't just go copy tiered worksheets that align to the lesson. We can occasionally find random worksheets online, but those often don't align to what we're doing in class. There are many times, where we have to start with a blank word document and create our worksheets all on our own. That's time-consuming enough when you're just planning for in-class work or for one achievement level. To have to add on three achievement levels of homework would just not be possible. It's ideal, of course, but the time for doing it just doesn't exist.
     
  15. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    This is why I have pre-set extension/enrichment opportunities (math menus with culled high-level problem solving), and then my way of differentiating between the other two is providing more explicit examples / models on the page, whereas the regular practice tends to just be practice problems.
     
  16. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Tell me more about this... So, does everyone get one of the worksheets with the examples, and then students can choose to do the menu if they want? Or do some students get assigned the menu and not the other pages? Do you create all of this from scratch? If so, tell me your secret for making it reasonable on your end. Can you give me an example of something that I might see on the menu? And, how often do you update the menu?

    Sorry about having so many questions, but this menu idea is really the way that I want to go. I'm just having trouble visualizing it. And, the time factor for creating the worksheets is, again, a factor.
     
  17. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    I can send the menus -- it's not exactly probably like you're thinking, though. It truly is something meant for those needing the additional challenge, broken down by key strand (Base 10, Algebraic Thinking, Geometry, etc...) (PM me your e-mail address and I'll send the documents / explanation - if not by tomorrow, then next week)

    We have Envision, so the reteaching / practice side essentially does what I just said - but to differentiate when I use other HW sheets, I might just work a couple problems on the side as examples, or have them just solve the simpler problems (i.e. 2-by-1 multiplication instead of that and 3-by-1 and 4-by-1).
     
  18. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    I do not since I'm the science teacher, but the LAR and Math teachers will assign homework in it for students to complete. I have had the opportunity to work with students on it since I ran the Homework Helper club after school. I think it is a great tool to have for students and teachers alike.
     
  19. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Thanks! I'll PM you. Even if it's not exactly what I need, it may spur some ideas for me.

    I used EnVision in my previous school, so I know which worksheets you are referring to. That's exactly the type of thing that I wish I had because those were very useful for the purposes of differentiation. My current school doesn't have a packaged program for us to use though. Instead, we just pull from a variety of resources and create a whole lot of things on our own.
     
  20. maltidevi

    maltidevi New Member

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    Apr 2, 2019

    Fourth grade worksheet ...
    see this worksheet may help you...

    [​IMG]
     

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