To homework or not to homework?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by horned_Frog89, Jun 15, 2017.

  1. horned_Frog89

    horned_Frog89 Companion

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    Jun 15, 2017

    I will be starting my 3rd year of teaching 6th grade general ed. math. I've been at the same school for all 3 years.

    I teach at a school where parent involvement is minimal. Most parents don't answer the phone, or if we do make contact they say they'll help, but nothing happens.

    My first two years of homework hasn't gone well. By January, half the kids aren't doing homework (not just my class - ALL classes). We call parents, but nothing happens. I've tried "Oops I forgot my homework sheets", but so many kids weren't doing their homework that I was having to make copies every day.

    I've tried having kids glue their homework into their INB, but kids STILL lose the homework and don't do it.
    I've done weekly packets, but they still don't do it, or they lose it.

    My homework has been for a completion grade since the beginning, but that doesn't help. I'm thinking about taking homework off the table this year because it's not getting done. There have been days when only 4 or 5 students complete the work. My homework is even just for completion, but half the time I walk around, it's obvious students have rushed though it. This past year, I had two students who did NOTHING in any class, all year.

    We don't have a recess to take away or a "Homework hall".

    Would you continue to do homework in this school environment?
     
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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Maven

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    Jun 15, 2017

    I have the same problem. This year I am lengthening the math lesson in class to allow students to complete the problems that would have been assigned for homework.
     
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  4. agdamity

    agdamity Enthusiast

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    I can't stand homework. I assign about 10 minutes a week simply because I'm required to assign it. If there is no school or district policy that you have to assign homework, I would drop it.
     
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  5. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Fanatic

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    You need to ask yourself what the goal of assigning homework is, and if you are meeting that goal. It doesn't sound like you are, so I would stop assigning homework and try something else. I rarely assigned homework when I taught grade 6. The few times I did, it was assigned to students who didn't use their class time well, which resulted in unfinished work. I worked with supportive parents who made sure the work got done. But there was no routine homework.
     
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  6. horned_Frog89

    horned_Frog89 Companion

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    Thanks, guys. I am really thinking about scraping it. Not only would it save me a whole lot of time at the copier, but MissScrimmage is right, if less than half the kids are completing it, then there's no point. Ideally, it'd be a way for kids to reflect, decide if they need tutoring or help, but it's not working out like that.

    Overall, the kids at our school don't get a lot of homework. Science and Social Studies does NOT assign homework daily. ELAR will have some a few times a week, but math has usually been the most consistent. In the end, they hardly do any of it.
     
  7. rpan

    rpan Companion

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    Homework is up to teacher discretion in my school. I don't give any homework, perhaps 3 times a year if that. I don't believe in homework for homework sake; that does not accomplish anything except overburden students for no good reason. I prefer that students do in class work where I can monitor them, they can ask questions and it gets done. It's also a good way for me to see who needs help, who hasn't really understood, who has understood etc. I make sure my in class work can be finished in the one lesson and at the end of the lesson, I get students to swap papers and peer assess, with me giving the answers and student using their judgement to judge if an answer is correct. This works well for me.
     
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  8. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Fanatic

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    I would say yes you should have some homework for 6th grade math--since the practice can help.

    Students will always try to get out of homework. Some kind of consequence for no homework--even if that means a "0" in the gradebook is needed. No consequence will get all kids to comply with homework. I think you can get 80% of students to do homework--90% would be exceptional--but even if you get only 50% that is better than no homework where 0% are getting the benefit from it. Keep homework, short, simple, and practice. If you want to make it interesting that is a bonus--but don't kill yourself over that.

    My two cents.
     
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  9. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I give no regular daily homework to my Grade 7s. I ask them to read and they will occasionally have to complete unfinished work or work on long-term assignments, but that's it. I don't believe in homework just for the sake of it.
     
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  10. Backroads

    Backroads Connoisseur

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    Last year I mainly need the reading logs because our school was logging reading minutes. If that drops this year, I am dropping the reading log.
     
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  11. MathGuy82

    MathGuy82 Companion

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    I don't like assigning homework anymore. I teach 9-12 math. That way, they can ask for help from me and other students. We also don't allow cell phone use either. Unfortunately with certain electronic devices, students can take a picture of the problem and it will show all steps on how to solve it. With the exception of certain word problems, there are apps you can download that do it all and all the work. I found that was starting to happen when I assigned outside projects. Now everything is done in class without any electronic use, with the exception of a non-graphing calculator. That way I know students are working and there is no way it can be cheated or forgotten. Was tired of so many excuses too.
     
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  12. phillyteacher

    phillyteacher Comrade

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    I give one page (front and back) of math practice each week most weeks. It's given on Monday and due on Friday. Usually somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 problems, sometimes up to 40 if they're especially short/ quick. I teach MS math and use it as spiral review/ additional practice of skills I know they have down pretty well. Sometimes I include reference material right on the page if I think they will need it.

    Homework is required at my school but only counts for 10% of their grade. I would say anywhere from 25-75% of my class completes it each week (varies a lot), normally probably about a third to half the class. I just grade it for completion. Not doing it the whole quarter can bring a kid's grade down a little but it doesn't have a gigantic impact so I don't stress about it too much.

    I often use CommonCoreSheets.com to generate the pages.
     
  13. horned_Frog89

    horned_Frog89 Companion

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    In my district, homework isn't mandatory. We just have major and minor grades.

    However, the split is 60-40, so a kid that misses two or three homework assignments will lose 10+ points on his grade. This is another reason I'm considering abandoning homework.

    How would this grading system affect your decision about homework?
     
  14. Teacherhere

    Teacherhere Rookie

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    Jun 16, 2017

    Homework is for a non-academic benefit. You are teaching the child about responsibility. They have to go home and practice some skills they did in school and bring it back the next day. It should not be looked at as getting your bang for your buck academically, because that is really not the purpose of it.

    I like to think of it this way... Of all the jobs I have had there are things that the employee must do that the employee may see as a complete waste of time and energy. However, if the employee does not do it, they lose their job. As adults we do this all the time, it is called life. Children need to learn these lessons when they are young. If they don't learn it as a child, when do they learn it? When they get their first job and don't do something and get fired? We are not just educators of academics, we are just as much educators of life skills so the child develops into a person who can overcome adversity and succeed.
     
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  15. Backroads

    Backroads Connoisseur

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    Jun 16, 2017

    So homework is the only way to teach responsibility? Why homework specifically to teach this skill and why should I as a teacher spend previous prep time making homework? Aren't there all sorts of other responsibilities, even countless ones, out there in life?
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2017
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  16. otterpop

    otterpop Fanatic

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    Jun 16, 2017

    I get I'm maybe a minority here, but I feel like getting rid of homework because it's not turned in is lowering the bar because these kids are not taking responsibility for their learning. I understand the arguments against homework, but I also feel like we (our country/culture) coddle students and let them get away with being lazy. If it were me, I'd try two things: making sure there's a consequence for not turning it in (0 on assignment), and finding an incentive or motivator for students who do turn in their homework.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2017
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  17. Backroads

    Backroads Connoisseur

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    Jun 16, 2017

    I see your point and agree with it and I would in particular give the same advice of consequence/incentive if the OP were truly up for keeping homework.

    But if the OP is just keeping homework around just because and has no other philosophical ball in the court, would it be so awful to just drop it? If finding a way to keep homework going is an end to itself, well, it seems all educational focus has gone to a battle over homework.

    Is the homework engaging? Is it reinforcing concepts/providing opportunity to extend knowledge? Does the OP feel particularly strong about teaching the practice of that responsibility? If not, I personally would just bow out of the homework.

    Plus (and in realization this probably isn't what you're saying but merely using the phrase as a jumping-off point), I don't think a slack/lack of homework is the sole reason or contributor of student laziness.
     
  18. horned_Frog89

    horned_Frog89 Companion

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    Jun 16, 2017

    I'm reading Love and Logic, and I'm contemplating doing something I read in the book.

    I thinking of giving weekly homework 10 problems or so- and giving students opportunity to chose which problems they do out of, say 5 or 6.

    Maybe, just maybe, if they have some choice in the matter, there will be more buy-in.

    I do agree, that at this point (and at least at this particular school), that there is minimal academic benefit. I think it tapers mid year because of a school culture issue. We are about to get our 3rd principal in as many years. So many of our leaders talk the talk, but don't walk the walk. Our New Principal sounds like he knows what he's doing. I'm sure he'll make some decisions that will affect my classroom policies.
     
  19. WarriorPrncss

    WarriorPrncss Companion

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    Jun 16, 2017

    My first year teaching we had a LONG school day, 8-4, so the "homework" was assigned in class after the lesson. Students had plenty of time to complete it and if they didn't it's because they were horsing around at which point they had to take it home to finish.

    This year we barely had time to teach our lessons. I'd send home weekly homework packets, usually 4 pages (a page a day) with math facts and general concepts students needed reinforced outside of school. I gave jolly ranchers for returning it. (in 3rd grade they live for the jolly rancher, maybe not to much in 6th).

    Anyhow, I agree with the other here--- why are you assigning homework, what is your goal with it? If it's not necessary, send it. If it is, decide on some consequences to hit them where it hurts--- my students will do ANYTHING for even 5 minutes on SumDog or another technology app. And they know if homework isn't done and turned in on friday they miss "Fun Friday Free app time" the last 15 minutes of class, and they spend that time doing homework.
     
  20. Teacherhere

    Teacherhere Rookie

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    Homework is necessary because school is a student's job. They need to do it because it was assigned and they are not to question it. Students need to be taught status in the world. Kids are not on the same level as adults. When we as adults/professionals have to justify ourselves to those of lower status(kids) then we interfere with a basic principle in the development of a child/adolescent. Think about at a big family get together on a holiday. Most important adults sit at a table and there is a kids table or two. Adolescents still sit at kids table sometimes because they do not have status to sit at the adult table yet. When they become adults they get more and more respect and status. We do this naturally all the time in our lives. Why do things differently at school?
     
  21. Backroads

    Backroads Connoisseur

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    Jun 16, 2017

    That does not answer the question of why homework is necessary. Lots of jobs don't have homework.

    That's fine and fair. You were assigned this, do it.

    But does that mean a teacher must assign homework in the first place?
     

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