What to do when half the class doesn't do assignment

Discussion in 'General Education' started by lucybelle, Jun 17, 2014.

  1. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Jun 17, 2014

    I had my 7th grade class write down weather data for the past 12 days for different cities. We were then going to use the data to compare the different cities on poster boards to lead into talk about weather vs climate and how different factors affect climate.

    But half my class didn't do it! So of course they got a 0 on the assignment, but then what do you do with the kids during class? Today I managed to come up with a random vocabulary assignment to keep them busy while the other kids worked on the posters. But then, do I give kids who didn't do the info a 0 on the poster board? Or give them a grade on the vocabulary assignment?

    I'm wondering just generally- what do you do when you plan a lesson on the fact that the kids actually do homework and then they don't do it?
     
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  3. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I'd never plan a lesson that assumed third graders had done anything at home. In your case, I'd probably just find the weather data myself, give it to them, and start the kids at a -10 on the assignment.
     
  4. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I know this won't help much (maybe for future references), but I would check on the homework daily or every other day. That way they're reminded, they can still catch up and then you don't have to deal with all this. How often I would check or remind them depends on their age. In high school I would remind them often, and check / grade the homework halfway through.
    6th grade, probably check every 3rd day.
     
  5. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    The reason I assigned this to begin with is because I went this whole time without a class with them (about 8 school days). I didn't want them to not be doing anything and figured it was a good time for them to collect data for a larger project. I did speak to a few students when I saw them and reminded them, I also put a reminder on facebook.
     
  6. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Hm. Well, then what I would do in this situation is to give the other kids an alternate assignment, but it wouldn't be worth as many points of the original one. This way you send a message that they must do what you assign, and if they don't, they will lose credit. But by having another assignment (one less fun), they can still earn something and you won't have to deal with a bunch of bored kids.
     
  7. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    What I've done is that the students have to work on it while class is going on. Those students who did the assignment will meet together to present/share their data.

    If students who did not do the hw don't finish in class I basically count it as 2 days late and they have to turn it in the next time we have class or I don't take it.
     
  8. ScienceEd

    ScienceEd Companion

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    I would put the grade for the alt assignment in for the poster grade in addition to requiring them to summarize the posters the other kids made. that way they get the information even if they didn't do the project.
     
  9. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    When I give two/three part assignments like this (collect data, analyze data, present data) I weigh each section independently. In your case I'd collect some data myself over the break and give that information to everyone that didn't do their own. They'd still get practice analyzing and presenting but would lose a third of their points.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2014
  10. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    "....when half the class doesn't do the assignment"

    It's called.........................our school. :lol:
     
  11. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    When half the class fails an assignment of mine or gets a low grade on something, I assume it's my fault. When 100% complete an assignment, it's my success.

    I would look at these posts and figure out a way to make your students successful and still maintain a rigorous curriculum.
     
  12. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I wouldn't make that assumption as a high school teacher. Maybe as an elementary school one, but things are mighty different as children get older. I'd neither take the blame nor the credit for homework getting done. Failures and successes belong to the teens. Motivation and drive must come from them at this point.
     
  13. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    This is a great idea. Thanks!

    The school where I worked before in the USA, I very rarely assigned homework. I needed to get everything done in class, and that was fine.

    But the school where I work now is a fancy pants, private school with overall a smart and privileged population. They nearly always do assignments so when they didn't it took me by surprise.
     
  14. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    I like the idea of making them collect the data in class and taking a lower grade. That way they don't bomb out completely and are still held accountable. Weather data should be easy to find on the Internet somewhere.
     
  15. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    I think teachers should take credit or blame for their students' successes or failures.

    When I was teaching middle school science, I had nearly half the class not turn in a project that was 50% of their grade.

    I composed a personal email to each of these kids families pointing out when I was available to help their child turn in enough of the project to pass the class. Soon I had an 80% completion rate.

    I called the homes of these kids and got another 8 projects done. I still didn't get 100%, but I made it very hard to fail my class.
     
  16. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    we'll have to agree to disagree. I refuse to take the blame for young adults' choices.

    I am no more to blame for a 17 year old not doing his homework than a probation officer is if that same kid steals a car.
     
  17. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Teachers should possess the capacity to self-examine their own abilities, monitor and adjust those abilities based on a wide repertoire of delivery options that capture the largest number of students. Some students learn in spite of the teacher even though the teacher may take credit for it.

    Homework is done at home and the teacher has no control over it. The parents do. The OP might consider assigning only projects which can't be done at school. Even with this type of project support at home can range all over the place. When holding students accountable for work done at home how does one know for sure if it was done by the student, parent, sibling or friend? I'm reminded of the fourth-grade California Mission Project in which students were to construct a mission of their own design at home. Missions were graded and ribbons awarded at back-to-school-night. It was obvious some had been designed by engineers with tolerances NASA would be proud of and assembled with the best power tools from Lowes and Home Depot. Then there was Miguel's. His mission was predominantly toothpicks, pipe cleaners, tape and cardboard leaning in a wind storm. He received Honorable Mention.
     
  18. bewlove

    bewlove Companion

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    I agree that students at that age should be responsible enough to complete the work, and that it's not a reflection of the teacher. When I was in middle school, I didn't complete homework all the time. It wasn't because of my teachers, but it was because I was lazy and my parents never stayed on top of me as far as school work.

    I am a new teacher this fall in fourth grade, but I've worked in a school for almost four years. I think, when dealing with seventh graders, that I would send an email first to the parents whose child did not complete the assignment. There is a possibility that some parents didn't even know about it (I love my parents, but they didn't ask about school work and I didn't tell them-making it very easy to skip assignments). That may kick a lot of kids into gear. The others....I would allow them to work on it during class for the next few days, but if it's one day late -20 points, two days late -40 points. If it's not in my the end of the week it's a zero.

    That is a tough situation!!! It must be frustrating. Something I learned last year during my student teaching was to have a parent checklist. It gives mini due dates, like "On June 21, student needs to have "insert component of project" completed." The parents would then sign and the student would bring it back throughout the project. Failure to bring it back could result in an email to a parent, or a point deduction (completing the checklist could count as 10% of the final project grade or something).

    Good luck!


    Edited:

    I just want to add (and as a new teacher my views may change over time :) ) I know many are suggesting that the OP doesn't assign things that they can't complete at school, but I feel like that is a disservice to the students in a way. I wouldn't assign complicated or new material necessarily, but a project with explicit instructions should be something the students can complete. When they get in college, they will be expected to complete assignments at home. They need to be comfortable with the idea of homework without a teacher present. By not assigning them independent work at home without a teacher present, we are not really preparing them for the expectations in college. Just my :2cents: :)
     
  19. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Was it a break from school? Not seeing a class for 8 days is a long time. The only time that happens in our school district is over winter break.
     
  20. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    The only thing I can think of is to have an assessment that falls along what they would have learned if they had done the assignment. Those who actually DID the assignment can do something fun with their results.
     
  21. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    I would give them a zero and let them use data from another student's research in order to move the class forward.
     
  22. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Thanks for all the good ideas! I appreciate it :)

    I only have class with them two days a week- Tuesday and Wednesday. So we had class Wed, then the week after we had off Tues/Wed and so I didn't see them until the following week on Tuesday.
     
  23. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    I just hate when the OPs problem happens to me. If I was doing an assignment like hers, I would have a set of data ready for those students to use, but I would take points off. I have broken assignments like these into separate grades as did another poster, and they get a zero for the part they mess up.

    There is a station activity I do where the kids take a partner's paper through several revision and editing stations. THe kids that don't do the original writing assignment, go to the Revision Rookies table and write the assignment. I then conference with them. If they want the fun of a station activity, then they need to fulfill their responsibilities. If it is simply a practice/extension activity that I give for HW, I usually grade A+ or F based on whether they did it at home or not. Then as we review the answers, they fill theirs in so they have the same study materials as the rest of the class. This, however, has its flaws too. The kids who are in my later classes have more time to finish the work on the sly or during lunch than do the early classes.

    As far as taking blame, if a large group does not do the assignment, but they know the material, then it is on their heads, not mine. If it seems that I did not do a good job providing the information they needed, I re-teach and don't count the assignment. I give 110% of myself as a teacher, and I expect close to the same from the students. If they want to be lazy or continuously forgetful, then it is not my problem. You can only lead a horse to water...
     

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