What is your homework policy?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by CDOR79, Sep 1, 2018.

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  1. CDOR79

    CDOR79 Comrade

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    I would love to hear about different policies that everyone has in their classroom! I’m trying to think of a fair one for 5th graders. It’s for subjects they’ll be having homework in on a daily basis too.
     
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  3. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    I think homework is highly overrated. My 4th grade team has had a no homework policy for 3 years, except to read a few nights per week, and it has worked beautifully. We are a Title 1 school, with lots of home issues, and the parents are grateful. It has not impacted test scores. If I have a student who requests extra work, I am happy to provide it.
    I know this is not really the answer you are looking for, but just thought I would share our experience.
     
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  4. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    My policy is not to give homework for homework sake. I rarely ever give homework, maybe twice a year if I feel there is a need. All the practice work is done in class and I find that sufficient. There are 10 to 12 formal assessments per year that would require work at home for higher grades but I don’t give homework.
     
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  5. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    When I taught grade 6, I didn’t give homework for homework sake. If students had homework, it was because they didn’t make full use of their class time and had to finish up at home.
     
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  6. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Usually, at most, students have a brief math assignment (10 minutes or less), and we correct it together the next day to ensure they get immediate feedback. It's also differentiated so that students who need the practice can get that, but those that need an extension have that, too. Occasionally I send home a different/another assignment, but that's usually only if it's an extremely rich curriculum connection (i.e. science experiment options they can do with their parent(s), walking their parents through the same life skill work that we worked on in class, etc...)

    From day 1, the mindset is developed that reading is not required, not an assignment, and certainly not something you just read for exactly 20 minutes a night and then stop. An environment is created such that students are reading wildly for varied amounts each night, and I want to make sure they have ample opportunity for that!
     
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  7. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    We're supposed to give homework (which I find to be utterly pointless). So I give it on Tuesday, it's due by the end of class on Monday. And it's never a weeks worth of homework (as if I were giving it everyday). It might be twenty minutes worth of work, if that. And it's always either a complete or incomplete assessment (1 or 0).
     
  8. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    My school requires us to give a set amount of homework each night - the amount of time being determined by grade level. So, for my fourth graders, they are required to have up to 40 minutes of homework plus another 15-20 minutes of reading.

    I hate this policy. It requires that we teachers give homework for homework's sake rather than to promote actual learning or engagement. It also makes reading all about minutes rather than reading for the enjoyment it can bring. Last year, my team tried to only loosely follow this policy, but our administration pushed back this year and required all grade levels to submit a homework plan aligned with the school policy. Some parents with the old-school mindset seem to like it, as do a couple of my colleagues. I, on the other hand, wish that we didn't do homework at all - except for reading for enjoyment and rare, meaningful assignments when they come up.

    Anyway, more detail about is policy is that we offer choice on some nights and specific required assignments on other nights. Homework includes setting a reading goal and working towards it throughout the week, math practice and reflection, and spelling practice. It's honestly busy work for the sake of having something to call homework.
     
  9. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    Up to 40 minutes plus twenty minutes of reading? What if they have after school activities and things to do?? Dern and my students complain about the bit that I give!
     
  10. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Exactly. I’m with you. Unfortunately, I don’t have a say in it.
     
  11. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    Okay so by this logic, if it were to continue up to seniors, would they have up to 120 minutes of homework? But yeah that's just crazy. I like the theory behind giving homework. I just find in application it just fails short of expectations.
     
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  12. MsMar

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    I teach sixth grade ELA and Science and this is my policy as well. Most of the time I have probably 50% to 80% of the students finish the work in class and then the rest need to finish it up for homework. I let parents know that if finishing it up at home takes more than 20-30 minutes then to let me know as that should definitely not be the case. Then I'll know to keep a closer eye on that student to see if they need more help with the work or just needs to make better use of class time.

    I do also require that students read 650 pages for each marking period. They get some time at school to read but generally not enough to do all 650 at school. I let them know if they average 15 pages each school day then they'll be finished with days to spare when the 650 pages is due. They do a written response for every 50 pages in the book and turn those responses in to me when the book is finished.

    My feeling for homework is to keep it to a minimum at least through 6th/7th grade. I get that my daughter in 11th grade with three AP classes and two honors classes is going to have a decent amount of homework. That's okay, but for elementary I just don't see the need, other than independent reading which I think is definitely important and doesn't necessarily fit into the daily schedule. I have my students for 52 minutes each day and I just can't give up 15 minutes of those each day for reading. I do think though that unfinished classwork should be homework.
     
  13. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    At my children's high school I would say most of the kids have 2-4 hours of homework each night. A night with less than 2 hours is considered a light night. Not saying I agree with this amount of work, but with the number of honors and AP classes the kids are taking, this is the amount they end up having.

    In regards to the "10 minutes per grade" I think it's a fine policy if the policy is that's the maximum they get each night, not the required amount. So I think my 6th graders are fine to have an hour each night, but are also fine if they have way less than that if they used their class time well.
     
  14. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    This is my policy with my Grade 7 students. They will also occasionally have to work to finish up long-term assignments, but that only happens a few times a term.
     
  15. Aces

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    Eh I'd rather have students doing sports and things. But of course I don't teach for the test, either.
     
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  16. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    My problem with doing unfinished classwork as homework in elementary is that some parents assist and others don’t. If the work is too hard to do independently and there aren’t any parents or teachers helping, I don’t like the idea of leaving the student to struggle alone. Also, if I actually wanted to use the classwork as a formative assessment and parents help with it, then it’s of no use to me because I can’t assess what the student can do independently.

    With 504s and IEPs, there is also the issue of extended time. If I send home unfinished classwork to be completed outside of school, then I’d get complaints from parents that I’m not giving extended time in class.

    My preference is to collect classwork at the end of class, no matter how far students get. Ideally, I’d send nothing extra home for homework, but, since I’m required to, it’s something different (and usually easier) than what was done in class - busy work for sure.
     
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  17. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    Agreed. My major thing about homework is that it's meant to reinforce the concepts you're learning in class or introduce you to new concepts. Okay that's great. Except if you understand the concept in class, then you benefit by getting the extra practice. But if you don't get the concepts in class, it means you're going to struggle at home, going to get frustrated, and probably just end up slapping down the first answer that makes any sense. Which doesn't help.
     
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  18. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Weekly reading is the only thing mandatory. I send out a sheet with optional activities if parents want their child to do it, but it's not required.
     
  19. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    I agree with this. However, if you never assign homework odds are students are not going to practice the skills they supposedly “learn” in class. They will end up just cramming for tests and forgetting everything after the test is over. That’s what many of our students from public schools tell me and my colleagues when they transfer. They tell me their homework was never collected or graded, so they only studied a few days before the test and goofed off the rest of time in class. For example, we had previous Spanish 2 students tell us they watched Serena and Dora the Explorer in class because they had next to no class work and no homework — and they learned practically nothing.

    Classes become a joke without graded work outside of classwork.
     
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  20. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    I think this is another secondary vs. elementary kind of tricky conversation :) Plus, I think it highly depends on the quality of the teacher and what's happening within the classroom; painting with a broad brush might not accurately describe the situation here.
     
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  21. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    #WaronPublicSchools rages on!!!!
     
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  22. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Think of it like this: If a student athlete only practices during PE, are they going to reach their full potential like they would if they dutifully went to practice after school on days they are scheduled to have practices? No.

    Would students in band or symphony learn to play well if they don’t practice after school and on the weekends? Probably not. And I would hazard a guess and say more than likely not.

    If a student artist only learns about various artistic techniques in class and doesn’t practice them outside of class, then will they attain mastery?
     
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  23. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    :rolleyes:
     
  24. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Elementary vs. secondary! :) Please don't take my comment as arguing the point that it is important in high school. I'm just trying to point out that there's a significant difference between it in elementary and high school (especially as you look at the research), and in addition, that homework itself doesn't denote a teacher's/course's quality.
     
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  25. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Fair enough. My point is that even in some of my college classes that didn’t collect homework, they still assigned it because students needed that practice for the exams.

    There is a stronger correlation between student success and homework for grades 7-12, but a weaker correlation for lower grades.

    “The research

    The most comprehensive research on homework to date comes from a 2006 meta-analysis by Duke University psychology professor Harris Cooper, who found evidence of a positive correlation between homework and student achievement, meaning students who did homework performed better in school. The correlation was stronger for older students—in seventh through 12th grade—than for those in younger grades, for whom there was a weak relationship between homework and performance.

    Cooper’s analysis focused on how homework impacts academic achievement—test scores, for example. His report noted that homework is also thought to improve study habits, attitudes toward school, self-discipline, inquisitiveness and independent problem solving skills. On the other hand, some studies he examined showed that homework can cause physical and emotional fatigue, fuel negative attitudes about learning and limit leisure time for children. At the end of his analysis, Cooper recommended further study of such potential effects of homework.”
     
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  26. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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  27. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    My Homework Policy
    -HW is assigned in at least 1 subject daily.
    -Reading logs must be turned in every quarter. Will be a project grade.
    -Late assignments will be worked on with a teacher during lunch time in classroom.
    -No grade reductions are made, unless the assignment is later than one week.
     
  28. TrademarkTer

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    Punishing the teacher for missed homework as well?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
     
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  29. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    I offer tutoring to students who need help on the homework each lunch, and I make them very difficult purposefully. It’s not that big of a deal.
     
  30. TrademarkTer

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    That's different. All teachers should offer help to students who want it. Sounds like teacher234 is force-feeding disinterested parties.
     
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  31. Aces

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    Yeah except when you stop teaching for the test students learn how to apply the information in new ways, not just spitting it back at you. I don't believe in homework, never have. Don't really believe in tests either. The ability to repeat information is if I'm not mistaken lower order thinking. The ability to take a concept and apply it to come up with new ideas is higher order thinking.

    I give homework because my school says so. I give tests because they say so. But if you have to cram for one of my tests the night before, it's because of your own laziness not an error on my part.

    By the way, do you just hate public schools in general or what? Because it seems like every chance you have you put public schools down and brag on your private schools. At the end of the day, it's not about which school is better. It's about which school students respond to better. And it's not oh here's a private school, you're magically going to be amazing. It takes a good teacher to make a good student.

    And to be honest I'm starting to take offense to your campaign in public schools. Every child deserves an education. But not every parent can afford to send their kids to private school. So does that mean that the poor shouldn't get am education because they can't afford private school tuition?

    Case in point: I have a student in my senior physics class whose family is extremely poor. His parents speak very broken English – complete sentences do not exist. This student struggles with English, but he's learning. He never had to speak English before they moved here in March of this year. But he's probably the brightest student I've ever seen in my entire life. I showed him a model of an equation ONCE using a real-world model and in just a couple seconds, he had figured it out. He's smart as a whip. Struggles with English, but I'd wager he'd show your private school students a thing or two.

    It ain't where you come from nor where you are. It's what you do with it.
     
  32. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I love absolutely every word of this paragraph.
     
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  33. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I'm not that big on giving lots of homework. I might give two short assignments a week.

    Homework is not allowed to count for more than 10% of our grade. It is only 5% for me. I teach in a low-income school and our kids come from families with different levels of support. Some kids might have parents who literally do the work for them while others might have siblings to take care of, etc. and no parental support. Homework is a chance to practice and make mistakes and I never grade it on correctness, unless it is something like the kids taking home an assignment that they didn't finish.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2018
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  34. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    10% of the student body at my private school are international students whose parents speak no English and require a translator or severely broken English. The students themselves are English Language Learners, but we have a summer immersion program where they are not allowed to speak in their native language and are forced to speak and write in English in a variety of different ways. At the end they retake the TOEFL tests and many of them boost their scores by 80-100 points.

    I’m sorry, but I’m not impressed by this student. Most students at my private school can do what you said and it’s nothing spectacular. I’ve taught a 7th-grade student in my Precalculus Honors class who spoke four languages and had a 180 IQ. I’ve had an 8th-grade Caucasian student last year who self-studied Chinese, was the top student in Chinese 3, and who got a 1,300 on the 8th/9th grade PSAT (which is out of 1,440). Said student also is an amazing jazz player (won national awards for this), is one of the most well spoken students I’ve had, and is now in AP Chinese and AP Calculus BC as a freshmen. We had a graduate last year who had a medical patent and did several major internships at biotechnology companies like Genentech and is now going to Johns Hopkins to become a medical researcher.

    We have had and have many amazing students who have never scored less than the 99th percentile, so I’d be willing to put my students up against yours any day. I’m not saying this to be a braggart, I’m just stating a fact. They are the norm at my school.

    And here we go again with my supposed “hating of public schools.” I don’t hate public schools at all. A LOT of them are great. I went to public schools and enjoyed it. But you and other posters, for whatever reason, think any criticism of them equals hatred of them. You can’t make that logical leap. Please move on and develop a new talking point any time I mention the “taboo” word public.

    Getting back on track, many of the students at my school wouldn’t be able do what they do here elsewhere because they would be told by their teachers and guidance counselors that they are “too young,” “they’re not yet ready,” “they’re not emotionally ready,” and other such nonsense. Obviously, they are able to handle it because they graduate top of their class and have some of the best test scores in the nation.

    And tuition at my private school is slightly more than what California pays for each student. It is not a lot considering what students get for it in return. Also, 40% of the student body receives financial assistance and only pays like 30-50% of the regular price. Do you know what impoverished parents do to pay that? They get a part-time minimum wage job to pay it and make monthly installments.

    I think students shouldn’t be forced to take standard course sequences if they can handle taking higher-level courses. I wish educators (public AND private) would just give students a chance to prove themselves and to challenge themselves instead of giving excuse after excuse why that can’t be passed up. I don’t care if a student goes to a public OR private school — I want them to get a sound education anywhere, regardless of their socioeconomic status.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2018
  35. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    And you don’t believe in tests? How else would you assess student learning for a unit?

    So doctors should just be allowed to practice medicine without passing their Boards? Teachers should be allowed to teach without getting their certifications? Student drivers and anyone in general should just be allowed to get their drivers licenses without passing a written and practical exam?

    Is that what your advocating? I just want to be sure.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2018
  36. Teacher234

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    The teacher who would work 1:1 with the student would either be myself or my aide. Having a "silent" lunch in the classroom is the best way for my students to learn and focus on the assignment. There are other times where they could work on the assignment, but I prefer to be able to provide individualized attention without 11 other students to help.
    I do not think it is a punishment for the teacher, because I enjoy helping my students whenever. My philosophy is "I teach, the way my students learn".
     
  37. Teacher234

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    I wouldn't say that. I am helping the students who need assistance individually. A couple of my students are not interested in doing assignments, but a consequence still needs to be given. I will work with the students until the assignment is done or close to done, even if they do not want to work (within reason). Yes, it is a silent lunch, but it is an opportunity for the students to learn the skill and build homework performance.
     
  38. Aces

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    The labs are my assessment. There's a whole lot of people who can't read the sign that says toilet but they know what to do. Whole lot of people who can't read music but they can out play anyone.

    With those particular 'exams' you are attempting to compare apples to oranges. There is a vast difference between a test that only requires you to spit back information and an assessment that requires you to demonstrate the skills. With those things you've listed, there's still a demonstration period in order to prove your knowledge of the skills.

    Do you remember every single thing you memorized for your drivers license exam? Every single detail. No? But I bet you know how to drive your car safely. For instance how many extra feet should you allow stopping distance for rainy conditions? Don't remember the exact amount? I didn't think you would because I sure don't. But I bet you know to compensate for rainy conditions.

    As far as the public school v. private school thing, if multiple people are telling you the same thing, perhaps it's time to self examine and see why people might be saying that. Personally I have no idea how you feel about anything. But it seems like every chance you get, you put down public schools for your 'superior' private school. At best it makes you sound like you hate public schools, at worst it just makes you sound snobby.

    Oh and for the record, that student I mentioned? You missed the entire point of why I mentioned him. It wasn't too prove that oh we're better. It wasn't something to put you down. There's of dozens of students just like him at my school and at every school. The point was that effort means more than circumstance.
     
  39. nstructor

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    I agree. Giving hw also helps the students when they are in college and have regular jobs. We all have HW as adults!
     
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  40. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    My new school, I'm doing what everyone else is doing in the grade. There is technically a homework packet, but it seems to consist of a news letter and some stuff they can read/practice. It seems a nice home-school connection for 1st grade, but doesn't strike me as true homework.

    I'm not really a fan of homework, at least as far as elementary goes.

    Yes, they could use the homework to "practice responsible" but aren't there other ways? I've never met anyone who was horrified to not have homework at an earlier point of life but have homework at a later point of life.
     
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  41. Backroads

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    I'm sure you make a fine time of it, but I admit I would be horrified at any school forcing teachers to have lunch tutoring. If it works for you, hey, but, oh, I shudder at the thought. I want my lunch break.
     
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