Homework Policies

by Kelly

Something else occurred to me - re: homework and copying. I have developed (stumbled upon) over the past 12 yrs a few strategies for driving home the fact that homework/ practice is crucial to success -

Often I give assignment in which students are drilling i.e. supply the correct form of the verb, chang the verb to a different tense, supply an appropriate adj, adv etc (I AM the original grammar geek) - while checking hw after an assignment like this, several times, I have told the kids to take out a piece of paper and choose 4 or 5 of the sentences and use them as the basis of 4 or 5 short stories - (I tell them just blab on and on .....) and I set a required number of sentences. If students have not done the work, they have to first do at least 4 or 5 of the sentences. I also give them a time requirement - so most of the time there is no way a kid can do last nights work and finish 4 or 5 paragraphs of 4 0r 5 sentences each... EVIL i know, but effective in showing that homework is essential.

variation on the last one, when we did a short subjunctive lesson, I gave them 25 structured examples to write. 2 days later I told them to choose 15 and add 2 sentences each. 2 days after that, i told them to choose their best 5 and create 5 short stories or notes... kids who dont do homework were scrambling.... they had to go back a week just to get started on what I wanted for a grade - when they whined...I just said "look around - you have put yourself here.. pull on those hip boots and start wading out of the mess you have made for your self...." (but I digress....)

also - the lazy homework do-ers - the ones who do what the ones they know or can guess without looking anything up or consulting notes but leave the 5 blank that have an old or obscure word in them that breaks their stride - I give an immediate quiz on the 5 with the obscure word, or put all 5 obscure words on the next exam.

when I give conjugation or subdrills - I always mix regulars with irregulars (liberally). If they have all the irregulars wrong, I make them come after school and do a sheet just on irregulars - or I limit the number of errors to 5 0r 10% - if they have over that wrong - they have to come after school and do it over... after the first time it's amazing how the no. of errors drops. I also have been known to say " johnny - you and mary can come after school and redo the assignment together - since I can see from your errors that you work so well together..... "

other ways of driving home the point - an immediate quiz following checking and seeing that only 7 out of 20 did the work.

I go over the work and concentrating on the kids that I KNOW copied - asking them specific questions, I actually give examples of how I catch them cheating every so often.. often the kids are in the room that I am taking the examples from... I ask them to demonstrate.. at first they are reluctant.. but as long as we keep the mood light (sarcasm CAN be a tool) it usually goes well. I am careful about who I "pick on" :) And I often stop and address how they feel at the moment that I call on them, tell them to remember the feeling... use it the next time they are tempted....

I cannot stress enough how much being immediately CONFRONTATIONAL and DIRECT has avoided so many problems later - I hardly ever deal with parents telling me that they dont understand why their kid is not doing well, because the kids know that if they snow their parents.. well..... I am the one with the plow - and I am not timid or embarrassed to use it.. after all - I did MY job.... I often ask them if THEY did THEIRS (the kids not the parents - I am direct - not insane)

I know that there are times when there is a legitimate excuse for not getting an assignment done. I have been often accused by some of my older more seasoned kids of thinking that my class is the only important class they take (isnt it???) I always remind them that missing/copying one assignment will not drop their average more than a point or two (if that) - several times, I have given opportunities for extra credit to the kids that have a 100 hw average at the half way point of the marking period. kids who do not have time to do their homework CERTAINLY do not have time to do extra credit.

I have set up a page for all of my classes on quia as well. They can go their to do extra credit - if they have completed their homework. Because of quia's ability to record the time and day when they were there, I will never have a kid tell me that he did not have time do his homework on a night that he spent 30 minutes playing games on quia for extra credit... it would be insane .....

Just to reassure some of you who think I am nuts... I love my job - I love my kids... even the ones that dont do what they are supposed to ... I remind them that it would be easier for me to ignore theproblem and let them fail... although I really think that ignoring the problems just leads to bigger problems with discipline later - I try to keep my kids so busy and focused that they have no time in class for cutting up.. some kids however do not take to my style.. and I have lost a few.. and of course being the control freak that I am , it keeps me up at night sometimes.. but for the most part I would not do it any other way. Kelly
Last updated  2008/12/21 10:40:45 ESTHits  119