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Collecting homework
Old 07-17-2007, 05:58 PM
 
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I need advice for collecting or checking homework. I teach 4th, last year was my first in this grade. My kids usually have something to do in 2-3 subjects a night. Last year I had them turn in their folder when they arrived but then I had to get everyone checked in pretty quick so I knew who had to stay in from morning recess and also to get the folders back. It was pretty stressful this way especially when I had an unexpected parent drop in ect. I was behind in getting started a lot in the morning. Is there an easier way?


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homework managers
Old 07-17-2007, 06:15 PM
 
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I had the same problem, so last year I tried a new idea, which seemed to work pretty well. One of my classroom jobs are homework managers. I had 2 of them, since most nights I give 2 subjects for homework. As students unpacked, it was their responsibility to take out their homework and turn it into bins labeled by subjects. The homework managers' jobs were to collect the papers from the bin, put them in order by number (each student has an id #), track down any missing papers or papers with no names/numbers, and turn in the papers to me.

I rotate my jobs on a weekly basis, so some pairs did a much better job at this than others, but for the most part, it worked. They did their jobs while the rest of the class was unpacking and doing morning work, so they didn't really miss anything. I was able to focus on getting the students ready to start the day and it was easy to quickly scan through and see what was missing. The one thing I learned was that it helped when I hung a class list with student names' and numbers' by the bins-- this helped the homework managers put everything in order quickly. Before I did that, it took them forever!
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Something that worked for me
Old 07-17-2007, 06:16 PM
 
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I don't know that you'll be interested in this idea but I used it successfully in 3rd grade and my team ended up using the idea too when they saw how well it worked.
If you have cubbies or a space in your room that you could use sticky clips (small clips with self adhesive stick that won't harm walls etc..)they work great! My kids would clip their homework and classwork throughout the day on the clips. It made a very quick way of seeing who turned in their work...who turned their work in on time...as well as the quality of work. I had the clips in ABC order and had a student helper collect them in order once I did a quick survey then they were ready for grading. Like I said this is a quick and effective way to survey work it also allows you to catch mistakes and/or concerns and talk with students or pull them into a small group for more help before you get the papers to grade and realize there is a problem.
As far as grading...first remember you don't have to grade everything Second I had my students ocasionally check their own work and then I would collect the work as I mentioned above and go through "check it twice with a quick glance" and then put a grade on it. The thing I liked most about this like the clip method I mentioned above is that it allowed students instant feedback and timely re-teaching/intervention rather than a week or so going by before the students got their work back.
Hope this helps at least give you another idea
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My homework policy
Old 07-17-2007, 06:24 PM
 
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My policy is I send all the homework assignments home on Monday. I assign one "subject" and then reading every night. However, here is my twist, I don't care what night they do the homework "subjects" as long as it is in my hand by Friday morning. They do need to do reading every night. Consequences arise if I don't have it on Friday.

I teach 2nd grade, but one of the strongest things that I teach in my class is responsibility. I talk to the students and the parents about this at our first contact. At first the parents aren't to sure of this, but by the time we have parent conferences the parents LOVE this policy. There are times when on Friday we would then pull out the homework and grade it together. If it's spelling or something minor, I usually let a parent check it for me and let me know who turned in homework. However, I ALWAYS look over or grade it before I send it back home.

This has been such a positive thing that I do my other teamates are doing it too!
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homework
Old 07-17-2007, 06:50 PM
 
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My homework system works very well in my 4th grade class. When the kids come in, they move a magnet to tell what they're doing for lunch, hang up their coat & backpack and then immediately turn in HW. I have a stack of letter trays that are labeled, one each for math, spelling, language (grammar/writing), reading, and one for science/social studies (since they don't have HW in those subjects regularly). They turn their papers so they face the same way and are easy to flip through. As students are going to breakfast/filling out planbooks for the day, I check off on little class checklists (6 fit on a page) who has turned in each assignment. I usually have a student or two who arrived early who wants to help by checking off papers, too. It goes very quickly, and it's very easy to track down those with missing work.


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Homeland Security
Old 07-17-2007, 07:08 PM
 
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My "Homeland Security" (one of my classroom jobs) team does a great job checking off homework assignments.

When students enter the classroom, they hand in their assignments into one of the corresponding bins. Once all homework is handed in and the class gets started on their morning business, my homeland security team, which consists of 3-4 students, take the bins and begin checking homework.

It takes a bit of training at the beginning of each trimester when classroom jobs are changed, but once my students are trained, I don't have to worry about a thing. The students know to check with me if something looks "fishy" and they're in charge of placing those students who have incomplete assignments in detention and collecting their "tax" for not completing homework.

I've got the homework check off sheet I use (I adapted one from Rick Morris) but I can't seem to figure out how to attach it...jeez...

Hope that all made sense!!!
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The best tool I found for collecting papers
Old 07-17-2007, 09:41 PM
 
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Last year I used my book club points (Scholastic) to order 2 long red pocket charts that I used to collect papers. The pockets were deep enough to hold the student's paper (landscape style) with about an inch or so showing. It also had a place to put a label on each pocket. (I put the students' numbers instead of names, with number 1 at the bottom.)

When the students arrived in the morning, they put their homework papers in their pocket and I could tell at a glance who, if anyone, was missing their work. It took me about 30 seconds to record missing assignments, then I pulled the papers out by starting at the bottom of the chart working my way up. When I was done, I had the students' papers in alphabetical order and the whole process took less than a minute!! My rate of homework returned increased dramatically because it was so easy for me to track returned papers (and I also think there was a little bit of peer pressure because everyone could see who was missing their work).

I orginally intended to just use the pocket charts for homework, but it was so easy to use, that I ended up having them turn in everything by using their pockets. I could keep an eye on the charts, and once I saw everyone had their assignment turned in, I pulled the papers so the pockets were ready for the next assignment. There were a few times when assignments overlapped, but I found it was still easier to go through the pockets and pull out all of one assignment, then pull out the other, than it was to have students turn papers into a tray.

The charts I got from Scholastic had 12 pockets. I just tried to find them online for you, but Scholastic has redone their site and I couldn't get to the Bonus Catalog. I found similar charts, but they only have 10 pockets and the ones I got have 12. You can find the 10 pocket version by searching for "file folder pocket charts" on google.

As far as checking homework, I do try to check everything the kids do and keep track of completion, but I don't record scores. I have read many good ideas online this summer and I am going to make some changes next year. I am going to give a homework grade by taking the number of assignments each child returns and dividing it by the number of assignments given. I am also going to do more checking of homework in class (especially math). There are 2 reasons I don't take grades on homework. First, homework is practice and I don't believe practice should be graded. Second, you will always have some kids whose parents tell them whether every answer they write is correct or not, and those kids who parents do everything they can to make it next to impossible for their kids to even get a chance to do their assignment, much less help them with it. I prefer to give grades on assignments that are completed in school, and only after the kids have had a chance to practice the skill.

Hope this helps!
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Old 07-18-2007, 03:09 AM
 
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I know a teacher that kept a homework binder in the classroom that had an answer sheet for each homework assignment. That way, if anything was turned in late (absence, etc.) the student could check their own answers and not hold up the rest of the class.

I was considering an expandable file with a numbered tab for each student that they would put their homework into, but I would like to have them check the homework in class, instead of me doing it at home. I agree on giving a grade for completeness, not accuracy as some parents do help more than others. Maybe random checking of answers, especially if there was a particularly difficult problem? I guess it depends on the class you have too.

(Not in my own classroom yet, and I still think about all this stuff!)

Like the long pocket charts - could be good for unfinished work as well.
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homework check-in
Old 07-18-2007, 03:16 AM
 
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I have a clothes line hanging on my chalkboard tray. Each student has their own clothespin. They put their homeowork on when they arrive daily. A quick glance and I get a rough idea of what is complete. This clothesline comes in handy for work during the day also. Ex- finish handwriting, put it on the line. Need a place for artwork to dry, put it on the line. Need to pick a student to do a job, choose a clothes pin.

Marie from PA
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Old 07-18-2007, 04:12 AM
 
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I only collect the assignments that I want to actually grade. All other assignments are checked for completion. For example, math homework that I'm not grading: The first 3-5 minutes of math class, the kids know to take out their homework, and begin going over the answers with their table. While they do this, I walk around with a clipboard and record any kids who do not have their hw complete. Then, as a class, we go over any problems that a table couldn't agree on, or anything anyone doesn't understand. It's quick and easy, and I end up with a weekly record of missing hw for the whole class (the page on my clipboard shows the whole class down the left side, and across the top, each subject area. If Johnny is missing his math homework, I just write the assignment in the box where Johnny and math cross). (hope that makes sense!!)
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Old 07-18-2007, 04:22 AM
 
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I teach kindergarten so I don't give homework too often...but I wanted to comment on your weekly homework packets. As a parent, I love them!
I have trouble with my daughter completing homework...telling me she has homework, and any other issue you could think of. She had three different teachers last year (5th grade..they rotated)...one of the teachers assigned work, that needed to be done by Thursday. It never failed...my daughter had this homework done by Monday night. For some reason..the nightly homework brought her mood down (sometimes WAY down..). She is an A-B student, that does not enjoy homework. But, she always did that packet right away!
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homework
Old 07-18-2007, 11:17 AM
 
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On Monday I give each student a homework chart which lists all the homework for the week, spelling list, and any important reminders. I find this to be helpful for working parents because they get an overview of the week and it helps them plan outings and activities.

I have a homework bucket/dishpan to collect folders. Each student brings me their folder and drops it in the bucket. I use this time to greet each student and do a little friendly check in. While the students are following their morning procedures, I simply remove homework and check off those who turned it in or not.

Then I'll start correcting and pulling up students who have errors or forgot something. The others are still working on morning procedures.

I like this way because I can look over the homework right away and work with students who are having troubles. There are some assignments that I can not correct that quickly, but I generally get a good overview.

I will admit that there are often interuptions, but this method still works best for me.
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Old 07-18-2007, 11:37 AM
 
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I have a homework monitor which is a weekly job. In the morning, the monitor get his clipboard and dated sheet with lines for names on it. He collects the homework and writes down the name of anyone who didnt' turn it in. It works well for me!
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Old 07-18-2007, 03:07 PM
 
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I also assign homework on Monday and collect it on Friday. I send home a homework calendar/newsletter stapled to the homework pack. On Friday, students tear off the signed calendar and make two piles at the end of their group, one pile of calendars and one of the homework stapled together. I go to each group and can quickly check whether the homework is turned in and the calendar is signed. It works great for me!
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Homework packets
Old 07-18-2007, 05:16 PM
 
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I have toyed with the idea of sending home all of the homework on Mondays so that it can be completed at the family's own pace.

Those of you who do this, do the parents like it? What happens if I send home a math homelink (everyday math) with the packet on Monday, but the lesson is not taught until Wednesday? How do you communicate that to your parents?
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Old 07-18-2007, 07:10 PM
 
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Belly, that is my concern as well teaching 4th grade. I really do like the idea of sending home all homework on Monday, but then again my homework changes often in math and unit depending on what students are ready for. Last year, there were plenty of times where students just weren't grasping a concept. The HW in my planbook would not be appropriate because the students were not ready. I am also not a HW for the sake of doing HW kinds of person. I really want my HW to be purposeful and meaningful. Perhaps the happy medium is providing ahead of time the HW that is highly unlikely to not change. Then playing it by ear on the other subjects like math. Like I said, the overall concept is wonderful, and I think parents would also like it.

I always tell on Monday when tests will be that week, but at the beginning of the year I explain to parents that this is subject to change. They do get bothered every now and then, but when I explain the class wasn't ready, they understand.
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Study Hall on Thursdays
Old 07-18-2007, 09:38 PM
 
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One way to assist the kids who don't understand someting on their homeworrk, or to assist with a newly taught skill is to have a Study Hall Day. For me this is on Thursdays. I let the parents and students know that if there is something on the homework that they can not understand and they have asked their parents for assistance, they may then join a study group on Thursdays. I also offer to stay after school on Thursdays for anyone who might need help or students who have a difficult time completing work.

One problem I have had with giving a homework pack for the week is that the 5th grade teachers give homework every day and a lot of it! Crazy! (my opinion) They want us to do the same in 4th grade. ug!!
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Old 07-20-2007, 02:45 PM
 
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I got the idea of sending a homework packet on Monday and having it due on Friday from my son's kinder, first and second grade teachers. As a parent I LOVED it!!! My parents also love the homework like this. I have never had a complaint! I do explain at the beginning of the year that I do expect homework to be done daily, like it is written on the calendar. I also explain that concepts may be taught daily, so if it is Tuesday and Thursday's homework is not understood, wait to do Thursday's homework on Thursday. As I am teaching a concept I tell the class that they will have homework to do, so they need to understand and if they do not, they better ask for help. I also tell the class that I will always make time to help them with any homework that is not understood, but they better ask me the following day! I have had students ask me for help at times on a concept we have not learned yet, so I tell them to wait until we learn it and if they still don't understand ask me the following day. Third grade does homework daily and the parents tell me they miss my homework system. I tell them all teachers are different and students must adjust. Even though I send a homework calendar weekly, I have students write their homework daily in their school agenda. This is so they get ready for third grade. For me, I plan on keeping my system just the way it is as long as it works!
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