I need an idea to motivate 8th graders to do homework. I am teaching math and they are going to get homework basically every night (except some Fridays). I have 4 classes. I was thinking something along the lines of "Homework Wars": the class that has the highest average at the end of each marking period gets some kind of reward or treat.
Marking periods (assuming 6 or 9 weeks?) may be a bit far out to keep them motivated. Though 8th graders are older and need to learn to not have their hands held as much, that just may be asking too much from a bunch of hormonal kids.
What about a step system where the BIG reward is the end of the marking system, but that there are smaller ones along the way. For example:
Each day, you add to the Homework Race banner an additional square showing the classes' progress. Then at two weeks there is some reward for the best performing. You might do it again at 5 weeks then the big one at 9 weeks. You might say that greater than X days of everyone doing the homework but not winning at the mark will get a smaller reward (for example, if at two weeks, you bring the winning class brownies, you'd give a piece of candy to the classes with 8+ days).
One teacher I read a book of brought a reward for every day past 10 days that all homework was turned in, but it was a younger, self-contained classroom. But you *could* do it if you did it like:
Once a whole class bring in homework every day for 3 days, pass out candy or pencils or something. At 10 days, make it cookies. At 20 days, make it brownies. At 30 days, make it pizza. But if anyone misses a day (without a homework pass), it starts over.
Additionally, make sure the homework is meaningful. So much is not! But if doing the homework will really help them gain the knowledge and skills, then they are going to do better on tests. You can also reward them there with "if everyone passes the test...." and "those who earn over 85% on the test..." Owning the knowledge is the big goal while homework goals and test passing goals are smaller ones in order to reach the big goal.
Another thing you might do is have them exchange numbers with X number of people in the class (3 or 5). That way if they don't know what the homework is, they can find out from a friend. That is what college students do and your kids are getting closer! They might also encourage one another to do it.
I hope some of these ideas help a little bit. I just think a grading period is probably too far off of a goal to keep them motivated. But please adapt these to your style and personality.
Mine just goes toward their grade. I have a rubric type deal where they write homework down each night. It is stamped either 5, 3, 2, 1, or 0. Points are added up on Fridays and the record sheet is turned in. All of their homework stays in their composition books with notes, so they can use it to study. On the back kids do Bellwork 4 days a week by folding the page into four squares. They can get 25 points for homework (Friday is a free 5), 12 points for Bellwork (3 points a day), and 3 points for a parent signature. If they get the full 40 points, the get 5 punches in their cards on Fridays.
I use "credit cards." I have a small star puncher that I punch colored index cards for rewards like being on time, answering questions, doing homework, etc. At the end of each month, stars are counted up. The person with the most stars comes up to the table first to pick their prize, second most stars then comes up and so on (they get the bigger prizes, usually candy like ring pops). They like it and it works well. Some of the girls are too cool and choose not to come up, which is fine. I still make them keep and use their cards so they are able to judge their classroom behavior.
with my seventh graders (who last year had tons of trouble turning stuff in in a timely fashion).
I have the smartboard version.
The chance cards are mostly a piece of gum, a piece of gum each day for a week (very popular), bonus question right on the next test, a homework re-do and one free homework pass (not good for projects, papers, tests, or chapter reviews). Someone actually pulled the free homework pass today.
Some of the kids who a lot of trouble last year and doing their best to get stuff in because they kids love it even if they don't get anything.
One boy was too cool to get up and play the first week but he jumped up the second week.
Three weeks in and I have 3 out of 41 that are missing papers. Last year, it was about half out of 41.
I have a system similar to Doxie Teacher (5 points maximum each day). At the end of the week, students who have done their homework each night (earning 25 points) get a sticker on their Homework card. After 5 stickers on the Homework card, the student earns a Homework Pass that they can use instead of doing a math homework assignment. The students love it and it works well. There are always a few who don't start off doing the homework but once they see others earn their Homework Pass, they wise up (usually)!
I teach 6th grade math. I use a homework punch card system. I punch a whole in their card each night they have their homework. Every 10 punches earns them a 100 in the grade book for as a homework grade. In addition I randomly collect homework 1-2 times a week for an accuracy grade. The "free" homework grade seems to motivate them.
The thing about whole class rewards is that it could put a lot of pressure on kids who may already have plenty to deal with. Some kids honestly have home lives that make it difficult to focus on their studies- watching over siblings, loud families, etc. You have to go by your population. It may not be fair to one class if they have one kid who just can't/won't do their homework. In my experience, peer pressure or external rewards can result in cheating- it may not improve their study habits, it may just improve their coping strategies.
I have gone to standards-based grading, where 90% of the grade is based on test scores. Their grade reflects their understanding/ profieciency in the state standards. This makes the lack of homework a learning issue, rather than a compliance issue.
I have a decorated box for each of my classes. Students can earn entry tickets. I randomly draw tickets out of the box at least once weekly. Students win prizes. One day it might be a soda, the next time it might be free time, or a pencil. I give my tickets randomly as well. One day it might be for returning homework and the next time it might be for being on task when the bell rings. My kids love the boxes and this system is simple for me to keep track of. You could allow students that returned all homework for one week a ticket. This system rewards the students who are doing the right thing and allows everyone to do better next time.