How do you get students to do math homework?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by CHCteach, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. CHCteach

    CHCteach New Member

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    Dec 7, 2012

    I am a student teacher in a high school classroom teaching geometry and algebra 2/trig. The culture in the school seems to be very lax on homework. Only about half of the students do their homework nightly. It is impossible to learn math just by watching someone else do it. The students actually have to do it. I try to give them some time in class to start on it. Homework does count as part of their grade. Any suggestions on how to get more students to do daily homework?
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Dec 7, 2012

    You could try offering rewards if a higher percentage of students completes their homework...

    You could also try changing the homework. Instead of solving math problems, have them copy down the definitions or a sample problem or two from the book. Then the students can spend more time working problems in class.
     
  4. microbe

    microbe Comrade

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    Dec 7, 2012

    I've noticed that students are more likely to do their homework if the teacher does something with it the next day. Is there a way you could incorporate their homework into an in-class activity? It doesn't even need to take up that much class time.
     
  5. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    Dec 7, 2012

    I cut out homework for the most part (for the lower level math courses I teach) as I realized many were just copying the work or not doing it at all.For these kids I have tried to compress instruction time so I can get the students working as quickly as possible. as soon as the work starts, the ones who need or want further instruction will seek it. The others will just bide their time or pretend to be busy.The classroom work is usually not graded, it's for practice mostly. I will formally assess with a quiz weekly. This has worked well for me.
     
  6. PolarBear

    PolarBear Rookie

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    Dec 7, 2012

    We have one teacher (Retired Marine, teaching as second career) at our school that will write an automatic after-school detention to any student that doesn't have his/her homework completed. At first I thought that sounded a bit draconian.

    After watching his students for three months, I'm a believer. It takes about a week for the students to understand what's expected of them, and what the consequences are for not meeting those expectations. In those first few weeks, I've seen him go from 3-4 detentions per class to a couple per week, for all six of his classes.
     
  7. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Dec 8, 2012

    I assist sped students in their core classes. I see the homework techniques of 3 very good math teachers. It's really tough to get the 9th graders to do homework. Limiting the assignment to just a few repetitive problems that were worked thoroughly as guided practice in class works best. Both the higher grade teachers give points on the homework as it's collected and its turned back to the students within a few days to put in the homework section of their math binders. I'd say they have a 90% compliance rate. Neither teacher will accept partially done work. It gets zero points.

    The 9th grade teacher I worked with last year consistently issued and followed up on detentions and would not accept incomplete work. This was also successful.
     
  8. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Aficionado

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    Something I did in chemistry that would work well with math (won't work with my other courses) is to give a pop quiz the next day. Students could use the homework as a guide on the quiz. So their homework problem might be 24/6 and their quiz problem would be 36/6.

    I did this only once in a while, to keep them on their toes, but it did help some.
     
  9. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Fanatic

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    Dec 8, 2012

    To increase homework, I'd suggest the following:

    1. Make sure homework is begun in class.
    2. Make sure there is a consequence for not doing homework.
    3. If you can't think of a consequence, then I would suggest that those who did their homework during the week, get to play a class math review game, while the others must do their review alone with worksheets. Maybe about 15 minutes for the game.
    4. Try coming up with a group reward if everyone does their homework in one night--possibly that they can sit anywhere in the class if you have assigned seats. Possibly a fun math game for a few minutes.

    The largest is the consequence. Homework is not fun, and if there is not a consequence there usually will be a lot of students not doing their homework--even if their grade is lowered.
     
  10. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    Dec 9, 2012


    What this process ensures is that you get a piece of paper with answers to every question and a name on it. It does not ensure that the student is doing any work outside of the classroom.

    Last year I had a few students who got enough points from "doing homework" that they passed the course. I was firm about students turning it in.However they could not come near reproducing the work on the tests or when I asked them to work a random problem.

    I realize that every school/classroom/teacher situation is unique so there is no "one size fits all" answer.
     
  11. PolarBear

    PolarBear Rookie

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    Dec 11, 2012

    I think you'd be surprised. I should have mentioned this teacher pulls his detention kids out of detention and into his classroom, so the time really is spent productively.

    That being said, we all know our kiddos fall generally into one of three catagories. The first will do well, or at least make the effort, in all subjects. The second will put out the effort given enough support. That support could entail both positive and negative aspects, depending on the student.

    The third group is there because legally they have to be. Many will make no bones about letting you know this, and I've yet found an effective way to reach out to this group.
     
  12. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    Dec 12, 2012

    Of course you haven't figured this out...you are just a teacher. If you knew how you would be an expert and be working at the central office, admin or setting policy with the state boe.

    It's like the football games...the "experts" aren't on the field coaching, they are sitting in the stands.;)

    when you get this figured out though, make sure you post the answer here please.:)
     
  13. gdmckav

    gdmckav Rookie

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    Dec 20, 2012

    It's an interesting topic. I will come out and admit that I do not teach Math (rather History). Therefore, I cannot speak directly to what is effective and ineffective for another content area. Yet, I am curious about what works the best way in a Math classroom. At my high school, Math has been a consistent low-score subject on the state testing.

    From my experience in a History classroom, my students have trouble with critical thinking questions about topics. Short answer and essay questions without a word bank just is a HUGE struggle with them. My best guess about Math problems is that my students cannot formulate a response to a problem that does not provide a prompt like word bank or multiple choice question would. School is far more challenging when a student has to rely on solely their own retention of content.

    Am I right? This might be why they tend not to do homework because they actually have to know the content and process to do it without relying on a something to prompt them.
     

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