homework.pngAssigning homework is something more than assigning the even numbered problems. Problems need to be chosen carefully and on purpose. Isn't it your hope that when your students leave your classroom that they will be able to practice the concepts and skills they have learned? Once it is assigned, how do you deal with it so it doesn't take the whole hour to go over. What has worked for you?

  1. Instead of going over every problem, choose (you choose them or have your students choose them) the most important (probably no more than 5) problems and treat them with importance.
    • You can have students put these on the board and present them to the class.
    • You can do the ones that no one else can do.
    • You could have them copy their complete solutions from the homework and turn them in for you to take a look at and then go over some in class if necessary. I don't usually let them use their book when copying their solutions and limit their time to what they can write down in 5 minutes.
  2. You could have the answers on the board/overhead to check when they arrive to class (or after they've turned in problems as described above).
  3. After you go over a few problems, you can have them "roll" to determine how it will be graded (a little more fun)...for instance, this is what I've used in my classroom. Students throw two big foam dice and I throw the same two. (NPowell)
    • If their sum is larger than mine, they earn 5 points (or a proportion) for having done the homework.
    • If my sum is larger than theirs by 5 or more, I grade their homework so that each correct answer will determine their grade.
    • If my sum is larger than theirs by 4 or less, I count how many problems have been attempted to determine their grade.
    • If their sum is larger AND they got doubles, I give them extra credit for their homework points - how you determine the points is up to you.
  4. Instead of going over every problem, try having 5 problems (some days you might have more, some days less depending on the content) for them to do at the beginning of the hour similar to their homework. Some days you might let them use their homework and other days, you don't.
  5. You can have them grade their own homework using different colored pens.
  6. You can have them trade and grade each other's homework.
  7. You could have them use their homework and have them pick problems for their neighbors to do at the beginning of the hour.
  8. have the numbers on the problems on the board with places to work and as students enter the room assign them a problem and 5 minutes after the bell, have them sit and check their own work. (You might not always have time to check them before you turn them loose. Have them get comfortable letting them find errors or challenge answers. - Isn't that how we learn? If I check a problem on the board, I usually a happy face next to it if it is correct and circled problem numbers of ones I had questions about.) Go over (your students or you) the ones that they need help with after looking at the board and their work. I try and give the power to my students.
  9. Instead of giving homework answers, give students 2 or 3 of the homework problems that have been worked incorrectly and have them find and fix the solutions.
  10. Mix it up....Whatever you decide, make it a learning experience and not just a bunch of answers. Your students will appreciate the extra chance to learn (even if they don't tell you or act like they don't care!)
  11. (KR) - Have each student put a problem on the board from the previous night’s homework. While this is happening, those students that have finished should be checking their answers. Go around the room and determine how many of the problems are wrong and only reveal that number to the students. Now, the classroom debate begins. It is the students’ responsibility to determine which problems are wrong and what the mistake is. When a single student decides to “challenge” a problem, they give their stance and why they think the problem is wrong. The student being challenged then gets to defend their work and state why they believe they are correct. After hearing both sides, the class votes on who they think is the winner of the “debate”. Whomever is the winner (and correct…which is where the teacher comes in), gets a prize (candy, spider rings (for Halloween, pencils, etc). This gets the students involved, collaborating, and also not only checking their answers but also comparing them and checking their work.

Resources:
  1. The Trouble with Homework - takes up the idea of quantity vs. quality, and its impact on learning