What do you do about students that don't do their homework?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by hollydoris, Jul 22, 2013.

  1. hollydoris

    hollydoris Rookie

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    Jul 22, 2013

    (Let me preface this by saying that I don't give out much homework--once or twice a week I do.)

    I'm looking to change up my policy this year for students that don't complete their homework. Last year, my co-teacher and I would keep them in from recess until they finished and then they could go out. I didn't like this for a number of reasons, the biggest one being that their recess time is my prep time (I'm a private school teacher and have to teach my own specials, so their half hour recess is the only time I have.) I don't want to have to be stuck in my classroom supervising work that should have gotten done at home, therefore making it impossible for me to get things done that require me to leave my classroom.

    Another reason I hated it was because it was always the same students staying in day after day and it obviously wasn't motivation enough for them because they never tried to get their homework done.

    The thing is though, I don't just want to take off points day after day and essentially excuse them from their work. Their homework is where they practice their new skills and reinforce them. I don't just want to move on to the next day's lesson when they haven't adequately practice the previous day's...I worry they will get behind.

    We loop at our school and have 3rd/4th together, and 5th/6th together, so I will have the many of the same students this year as I had last year. I already know the students that I will be having trouble with in regards to homework, and last year I spoke to the parents at conferences and also through frequent email correspondence. The parents would always say they were on the same page as me, but then the homework would never get done.

    What are some ideas for how I can handle this this year? TIA!
     
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  3. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Jul 22, 2013

    When I taught 6th I wasn't allowed to take off points, so I just made note of who was missing. Sometimes I called parents. I always included a box at the bottom of the rubric or checklist that I checked off if the assignment was handed in on time.

    I didn't assign much homework, so it wasn't an issue.
     
  4. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Jul 22, 2013

    I don't grade homework, per se, but my students DO receive a weekly homework grade, in Conduct - determined by whether or not it was turned in on time.
     
  5. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Jul 22, 2013

    In my class, homework is optional. Our school has a large percentage of children who can't do homework (homeless, parents unable or unwilling to help, older siblings doing the child care, etc). I have some children who ask for homework...I give it to them.
     
  6. hollydoris

    hollydoris Rookie

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    Jul 22, 2013

    Thanks for the suggestions--unfortunately, my district is requiring I give more homework than I do. They want 10 minutes per grade level per day. Last year I just did a half hour's worth once or twice a week, but now I'm supposed to do 50-60 minutes every night (which I don't agree with, but alas it is our policy.)

    Unfortunately, with this I know that there are going to be a lot of problems getting all the work in. I don't want it to be optional because it's good for reinforcing the concepts the children have learned, plus there aren't any excuses for the homework not getting done (I teach in a private school with upper middle class families. Every one of the moms is a stay at home mom--I'm not generalizing, it is part of their religion that women don't work. So knowing that, I really do expect that the kids do their homework and not just lose some participation points at the end of the week when they don't.)

    Is that really the best I can do with this, though? Just take off some participation points and let them not do their homework? That doesn't seem right...
     
  7. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Jul 22, 2013

    They may need to see how not doing their homework can negatively impact their grades. Have you tried a positive reinforcement for those who do it, such as homeworkopoly or letting those with it complete put their name in a raffle for a drawing?
     
  8. MsB2012

    MsB2012 Companion

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    Jul 22, 2013

    I use a ticket rewards system in my class. They earn tickets to spend in the class store for all sorts of things (participation, 100s on tests, good behavior, bringing homework all week, etc)...BUT, there are consequences. If they do not bring their homework, it's a 10-25 ticket fine (it got hire as the year went on since they were maturing, and almost to fourth grade!). Needless to say, I had very few missing homework assignments, as the tickets were like money to them! :)
     
  9. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Ron Clark used a reward system based on everyone turning in their homework. He kept track of all the days in a row that everyone turned in their homework. After 10 days in a row, he would bring in a baked treat to share with the class. He would do this for every single day past 10 in a row. When someone didn't do their homework, they woud start over from 0 days in a row and work back up.

    You could try this and modify the reward based on your choosing.
     
  10. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jul 22, 2013

    What happens when you call home and notify the parents that homework isn't getting done?

    Do you have a detention option at your school?

    Could you have homework quizzes on a regular basis?
     
  11. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Jul 23, 2013

    50 or 60 minutes of homework every night. My GS would not be able to concentrate that long.
     
  12. samsmom

    samsmom Rookie

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    Jul 23, 2013

    PAT

    A number of teachers in my school have "preferred activity time" (PAT) every Friday during the last period of the day. Depending on the teacher, students play board games, read, draw, use the computer, etc. Students who have not completed assignments/homework do not get to participate but instead are required to work on the missing assignments. It is a HUGE motivator. No one wants to miss "PAT" time (Fred Jones, I -think-).
     
  13. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Jul 23, 2013

    I think the best is to have a consistent HW policy. If they have homework M,T, W, Th--then they get use to doing HW each night. The parents get use to it as well and appreciate the consistency. If you don't like to give much HW, just make the assignments short.

    Next what I do is that I try to always start the HW in class. This helps so much as the students find getting started the hardest part of HW.

    Also, I see HW as a part of a job that has to be done. I can't skip doing report cards and they can't skip HW. All HW is to get done. If they don't get it done at home, then we as a school have them stay after school to do it. If this isn't possible, then recess might be okay. I would have them bring out their homework on a clipboard and sit on the benches outside and the teacher on recess duty supervises them. I'd also always let parents know if the HW isn't done.

    For those who have trouble getting HW done, I try to make sure they get a bit more done in class before they leave for home. I also make sure I communicate with the parents.

    Good luck to you.
     
  14. hollydoris

    hollydoris Rookie

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    Jul 23, 2013

    Thanks for the suggestions everyone! I have a lot of good ideas to mull over. I was thinking about doing a punch card system (I check to see if homework is completed each morning and if it is, they get a punch) then they can save up their punches for treats/homework passes. That is an idea I got off another thread on this board (man, I just discovered this forum a week or so ago and I am loving it! So many great ideas!) But I also love the PAT time that samsmom suggested so I think I am going to do that, too. Hopefully these two ideas together will help my students become more motivated and responsible for their work.

    I do think 50-60 minutes is way too long, so even though my district requires it, I think I'm just going to send home 15-20 ish minutes of work a night and then tell them to read. Can someone speak from experience if that much homework (50-60 min) for 5th and 6th graders is actually beneficial? I don't want to just blatantly ignore school policy, but at the same time it just doesn't sit right for me. I feel like homework must reach a level at some point where it is more like busy work than it is helpful concept reinforcement. Thoughts?
     
  15. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Jul 24, 2013

    I let students do homework during recess too - sometimes it is the only time I can get them to get the work done so I can see if they are understanding what they need to know and have the needed practice. This is my prep time too, but I'm okay with leaving the room for a few minutes if I need to go make copies or I will work around a student if I'm setting up for a lab.

    My view is that this time is still school time and I'm responsible for helping my students during school hours- so I can't just skip out on helping a student during recess time because it's inconvenient for me. Could you try getting in earlier or staying a bit later to help make up for lost prep time?
     
  16. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Jul 24, 2013

    I aim for about 15 minutes for science homework for 3rd/4th grades and 20 minutes tops for 5th/6th grades. They have about 4 subjects a night, so at most that's 80 minutes for a 5th/6th grader- most of their classes are not every day either.

    We found out that the 7th grade students were having a really hard time with homework because teachers were giving them about 30+ minutes of work for each subject every night, due the next day. I told my P how awful that is and that we really need to work on that- either we need to bump ours up (I don't think that is the best solution) or the middle school teachers need to bump down their hw time.

    (Mind you- 7th grade also starts clubs and sports too- I have no clue how the students can do all that work, 1 or 2 sports/clubs, and then have any family/personal time)
     
  17. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Jul 24, 2013

    Lock them in the chokey, of course. ;)

    But, seriously, it was very rare I assigned homework besides reading toward their AR goal. I knew they had a lot in some of their other classes and I felt I could achieve my teaching goals while I had them in the classroom. If students didn't complete those rare assignments, I would sometimes allow them to complete them during Independent Reading...I only assigned important things, so I couldn't just not have them do it. They did have another weekly assignment, but that could be completed in class. If students chose to read during that time instead, it became homework. Most liked to knock it out on Monday, though.

    If students didn't complete that weekly assignment they could accomplish in class, it would show in their assessment. Only summative assessments were recorded in the gradebook.
     
  18. hollydoris

    hollydoris Rookie

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    Jul 24, 2013

    I'm fine with helping students during recess if they have questions or need help with something, but the few students that consistently don't do their homework are actually quite bright but just don't do their school work at home. I can stay later (and DO stay later) to prep, but the prep time isn't really the point. The point is my students are learning that they don't actually have to do their homework at home because they can just do it the next day during recess. I just don't think it bodes well for teaching them responsibility.
     
  19. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    In our middle school, 50-60 minutes or more is typical. Does your gs have something in his IEP for modified HW?
     
  20. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Jul 24, 2013

    One of our teachers had students sign two sheets saying something like..."I did not turn in my math homework today. Susie Johnson."

    One sheet went home for a parent signature and the other was attached to the turned in papers. When complete, the second one went home with a statement from the teacher saying it was not complete.

    The teacher claims it works for most, but not all, of the students.
     

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