I teach middle school and have found that the students are pretty clever about homework! For instance, if they figure the teacher won't do more than glance at the homework then they put gibberish or answers that are incorrect because they know the teacher glances for completeness. I asked how they figured that out and they have all pretty much told me they knew this since they were little. So, what I am trying to say is that if a teacher gives the homework then the teacher should go over it all in class the next day with the students because homework that is done just to be done is meaningless and reinforces nothing. Giving homework just to give homework really has no value. Also, I went with my brother to get a CT scan recently and was just amazed at a family that was waiting for a relative getting tests as well. At first the children, around 5th and 6th grade, were working on homework (except for the boy). The girls kept telling him to get to work and he just kept goofing off. After 30 minutes the mom came back out to the waiting room and told the boy to give him the social studies. So, being a curious person I watched as this woman proceeded to do the boy's homework. I noticed her answers were long and so told her she shouldn't put such long, detailed answers down because that is a dead give-a-way that a boy his age didn't do his own homework! She looked me in the eye and told me not to worry and that she was a pro at doing his homework and the teachers in all these years hadn't figured it out and feels they won't now. The boy spoke up and said the teachers never grade the stuff anyhow and that all they do is walk the rows to see that they had something. Once she finished the social studies she grabbed the algebra and did that as well while the boy copied the social studies in his own handwriting. How meaningful is homework folks? The next day I polled my 120 students about homework practice and found that a good majority of my students had others in their families "help" them do their homework. Since then I have incorporated reinforcement into each class period and have found that to work much better. Families, these days, are not like the ones we grew up in and so that should also be considered. When children go home they usually don't have parents there for one reason or another and so don't get the homework support needed for homework to be meaningful. The first paragraph I had my students write for homework was amazing to me and shocking for them when they got them back because I had comments written all over them! Their belief from past experiences with teachers was that I would never read them and would only look to see that they had done something! I even had one who wrote the same thing over and over again and boy was she mad when she got a F! It just wasn't fair! So, think hard about those assignments you give them and if you do assign homework then you need to check it in class the next day or it just isn't a meaningful and needed assignment. I know I do go on but I guess I just need my coffee! Two more days and break is over!
Homework or No Homework
First, check your districts policy about homework. Then, check out what other teachers suggest. Tips include how much homework to give and when to give it.
I give daily homework because the middle school teachers told me that the biggest problem they have with my students (when they move up to the next level) is not doing homeword. Here's what I do (and now the next level is reporting success)!
I take those paper pcket folders you can buy for each subject....and make a tag "HOMEWORK" and glue it on the front...and laminate them. You need an exacto knife to slit the pockets. I use the same color for each child...so they know to get their green homework folder. I give simple homework each night. Easier for lower grade levels harder for higher grade levels. It's usually some type of reading or math homework that they should be able to do without much or any help from mom and dad. I have a reward system for those who do their homework. We have a marble jar and when you bring back your folder finished you put a marble in the jar. When the jar is full we celebrate with a "JUNK FOOD" party. Each child brings their favorite junk food to share with the class. We watch a video and eat junk food. Now the jar has to be small at the beginning of the year so that they earn a junk food party pretty quickly like the beginning of Oct...and see how much fun it is so they can earn another one... for the next one use a bigger jar so it takes longer to earn it! If the child doesn't do his homework? I take away recess....and I don't ususally have to do that more than once or twice.
I also have a reading contest...and everyone can participate. I buy two cool prizes...so there's a first and second place winner. Last time I used animals stamps and ink pads...big hit! Then I make a reading sheet on the computer. It's pretty simple...has the days of the week and minutes read and a place for parent signature. I do this for each marking period...So you have to buy 8 prized total...The child and parent fill in the number of minutes read each day and at the end of the week send it back to school with the parent signature....not valid without it...the child gets to put a marble in the jar for each 15 minutes read and then I place their sheet in a folder. At the end of the marking period I total up the hours read and declare a 1st and 2nd place winner. the kids love it. I've been thinking that this year I'll make a graph board so the kids can graph their time reading and then it's a nice visual for them to see where they are. It'll teach graphing too.
This program works very well for me but I spend a lot of time at the beginning of the year teaching the expected homework behavior....so the kids who do it I make a really really big deal about and I'm very firm at recess when they don't. They can't talk....can't look around the room,,,,have to put their heads down...I try to make them miserable so they don't want to do it again....also if they forget I double it and they ususally don't forget again....my kids have been pretty honest about coming in and admitting when they didn't do the homework or the recess time and I didn't catch them.
Do you use a notebook to keep it in?
We get planners from our PTO for the children to use to write down their assignments. They also get a "Take Home" folder from the PTO. One side is for worksheets/ etc that needs to be returned to school. The other side is for notes and completed papers to stay at home.
Do the kids write their homework down daily?
The kids write down their homework from what I have listed on the board daily. Assignments are usually the same for spelling each week. (Mon. ABC order, Tues. and Wed. Choice , and Thurs. 3 times each) Math is usually a workbook page that covers concepts learned that day. Reading workbook is given a few nights a week. Reading / Spelling test are always on Friday so they have to study for that. In addition, I have them read for 15 min. Monday through Thursday and turn in a Reading Log on Friday. Health, Science, and Social studies are given occassionally and I try to plan it so there isn't too much work in one night.
In addition to having the children write down their assignments, I have a "Homework Hotline". I put the assignments and any up coming tests or projects on my school answering machine. The parents and the kids are expected to call if they forget somethng or need clarification of an assignment. It also works well for those children who are absent. Each student is issued an E Book for math that has all the workbook pages and since spelling is the same each week, there is no reason not to have homework done in those subjects. Parents LOVE the homework hotline, in the beginning of the year there are lots of calls so parents can double check the assignments written down in the planner. It only takes a few seconds to do at the end of each day. No one can ever say " I didn't know about it"
Do they turn it in or do you go over it together during class?
Spelling is turned into me. We have individualized spelling lists so their ABC order is handed back out on Friday for their partner to give them their test. Math and reading are corrected whole group and I can see who is having trouble with a concept right away before we start the next lesson. It usually only takes a few minutes and I can keep an eye on kids who are having trouble that day.
Do you record a grade?
I always take Health workbook pages for a grade, otherwise the homework is checked as done/ not done. Once a week I will take a grade on a random assignment so the kids don't get lazy on me :)
Do you have a procedure that you do if students don't complete homework?
If they don't complete their homework, they don't get recess. They also have to take a "homework" sheet listing missing or incomplete assignments home to be signed by the parents and returned the next day with the completed assignment. If the problem is cronic, I will call the parents.
You probably should find out what the school policy is. Some schools do not have policies and others are quite rigid in them. I thought I heard somewhere about 10 minutes per grade level - so 10 minutes for first grade, 20 minutes - 2nd grade - and so on.
I'm not sure of the exact breakdown.
I think homework is important in two ways, one it does prepare students for the "higher" grades including University where you do assignments at home. So giving them homework helps them to develop those skills at an earlier age and also to learn how to manage their time at home. It also gives parents a chance to see what their child is learning and how they are able to do the work.
And it depends on what the definition of "homework" is. I consider home reading and studying for spelling words "homework". So I have weekly homework like the spelling words and then daily homework like the reading. Sometimes I will send home some math work or other work just for extra practice. I teach first grade and I do not believe in overloading them at this age.
I have taught older grades and I know with my third graders I often sent home a few different types of comprehension reading sheets, math sheets, etc., for extra practice. I did find that those students who did do their homework seemed to do better on the tests. But this is also probably because those students who did their homework also seemed to have parents who were more involved in their learning.
I do think 2 hours in any of the elementary grades is overdoing it. Unless it is for a project such as a science fair project where the student might spend 2 hours one evening or on a weekend working on it, but then it wouldn't have been assigned for just that one night. I would hate to think of any child getting home at 3:30 - having a snack, then perhaps enjoying some play time - then having supper let's say at 5:00, then doing homework from 6 to 8 p.m. and then going to bed. What a life!
And in today's world families are busier too. I think we have to keep things in context.
So although homework is important and can help kids learn and practice some of those areas they are having difficulty with, it is also equally important to balance the amount of time required to be spent doing homework.
I'm a 4th grade teacher, and like many of you have found it difficult to decrease the amount of time it takes to check homework. A co-teacher and I put our heads together to try and ease this situation. Our students sit in groups and we both check homework upon the beginning of each subject area in this way ... the easiest yet for the both of us.
Students are asked to take out homework at the beginning of each subject area. A monthly assigned student ("Homework Helper") in each group is then asked to check for complete or incomplete homework in their group. I keep a clipboard with a student checklist upon it. (The checklist is set up weekly with student names on the left and the weekly dates at the top.) After a minute or so, I ask each "Homework Helper" for a report. If anyone has incomplete homework (in math for instance) I place an "M" next to the students name under that particular date. (E=English, R=Reading, Sp=Spelling, Sc=Sciene, SS=Social Studies, H= Health) At random I then pick a group to check myself. I quickly look over the homework for correctness and completion. This keeps the "Homework Helpers" honest as they never know which group I'll choose.
On the following Monday of each week, I then reward any group that has completed ALL homework from the week before. (Usually a certificate to take home to parents. This can be any reward you choose of course.) A simple bar graph could be created also as a group contest each week or month in your class.
You might be interested to know that the reason I mark the subject area of incomplete homework is because I send a "Last Week's Progress Report" home to parents every Monday. On this report is a checklist in which I mark off the number of homework assignments missed and in which subject area. Parents must sign and have their child return this report to me which I keep in my records. This record keeping (the checklist of incomplete homework) is also very resourceful when parent conferences take place.
By the way ... on that same checklist I record other codes for things (classwork completion, behavior, having proper materials, etc.)I check throughout the week. This clipboard is my companion throughout the day ... and the students know it records everything their parents would want to know about their student performance.
Hope this idea helps.
Welcome to 3rd! :)
1. I give my students a homework sheet every week - it's on the back of their weekly newsletter. I write the homework on the board and they write it on their homework sheet. Before I stamp their behavior log (at the bottom of their homework sheet) I check to make sure they've written down the homework.
2. We go over the homework together in class. It's the quickest way to find out if I need to review a concept or go into more detail. It takes just a few minutes when we're starting that subject. What I do is ask who doesn't have their homework - then I write their name in a binder. Then we go over it together (I don't worry about them lying about it - they know I'll walk around and see who has it). When I do graded paper folders (every Fri.) I can glance in the binder to see who didn't do homework that week. I also give out homework passes if they do their homework all month.
3. The ones who didn't do homework miss recess. They do the homework in a recess room (we take turns with that duty).
4. No, I don't normally record a grade for homework. I consider it practice, and I just want them to try. I've had problems in the past with parents doing it for them, so that really wasn't THEIR grade anyway!
5. I don't give a lot of homework - we work really hard throughout the day. I usually give a math sheet and occasionally some spelling (we don't do spelling every week). They also are required to do a reading log every month - but I count that as a project grade since it lasts the whole month.
I don't blame you for asking a lot of questions - I did the same thing!:D
My students have an unfinished work folder they keep at their seats. Any time a student isn't finished with an assignment when it's time to move on to something else they place their work in this folder. They check this folder first if they happen to have any free time later that day. I also require my students to complete unfinshed classwork for homework. Sometimes I make a list of who needs to finish what on a sticky note and sometimes I have the students write their names on the board. The next day they turn in the work with their homework and I can easily mark names off the list to see who didn't turn in the work.
Homework: I have a checklist divided into 4 days across the top-Monday through Thursday. Underneath each day is a column for each subject: Reading, Spelling, English, Math, Science/Social St. Each morning students staple all homework and put in the homework tray. Then I collect the work from the tray. As I quickly look through the homework I will put a check under each subject in which homework was incomplete. I also use a different color pen each day and put a mark beside the students name so I know that they did turn in their work. That way I can see at a glance who didn't turn in any homework. Each student begins the grading period with a homework grade of 100 in each subject. I deduct five points for each check in each subject for their final grade.
Also, I give students a sticker for their sticker chart each time they complete all of their homework. When their sticker chart is full I give them a homework pass. They must tell me before going home if they are using the pass. These students will complete their homework the next morning instead of morning work (if the homework was necessary to complete for a grade.) This whole process takes about 10 minutes each morning. I will usually give a student helper the stickers and let them pass them out while I collect snack money and take attendance.
I hope that I have explained myself clearly. If you have any question please let me know.
Lengthy, sorry! My homework policy is clearly explained at parent info nite in Sept. Beginning in November I assign homework each Monday, which is due back, signed by an adult, on Thursday. This allows flexibility for individual family schedules. The homework goes home stapled as a packet, in a laminated pocket folder. On the cover sheet (a standard form I created) I merely check off what's inside (Math, Spelling, etc) and I add any specific directions to this sheet (seldom any). Also stapled inside the folder is a "homework tracker". I merely date and number that the homework was returned, and signed by an adult. After 5 in a row, students get a "get out of homework free" pass, to take one assignment off. This still counts as a complete. (so the tracker goes 1-5, then back to 1...if they miss one, it's a 0, then goes back to 1...certificates are only given for 5 consecutive). If they don't use them, they save them to be turned in for prizes at the end of the year. (I track these in my mark book as well, so if they lose them, or if there's confusion, I know). I DO believe parents should be held accountable for their 6-7 year old!!! This being said...we ALL get "those families"...so if the child consistently brings homework back, but unsigned, I DO give them credit, I remind them quietly it should be signed, but say..."look what you did all on your own!" (major kudos). Assignments are brief, support inclass learning, but really COULD be done by most children without any help (spelling, math fact practice difficult, but...) At the end of the year, as part of my awards ceremony I recognize those who have 100% with a little gift bag, or summer bucket and shovel set with goodies inside. All others can trade homework passes earned...like 3 for trip to price box, 1 for tootsie pop, whatever! This has really caught on...kids coming to me know it from brothers/sisters/friends...getting costly because I get nearly 100% return (up from my first year of 2)Hope this helps!
I also send home monthly calendars with one or two things to complete each night Monday to Thursday. Usually Tuesday and Thursday are Spelling related once we start Spellings because of the quiz/test the next day. Monday and Wednesday is Math/Science/Soc. St or Health related. Friday I collect Moose Books (communication books) and homework to date stamp and place a sticker if completed. I do mark a few things but not usually at the beginning of the year. Last year I did an internet search (I think on pro teacher) using "homework" and used the examples I found to make up my own calendars using a word processing program (MS Word) for each month. Some items were not very practical for my students so I used what worked and adapted a few things too. I hope to again use some of the ideas and adapt others to suit the needs of my students.
The items are sometimes very simple things that I don't need to check or even know about. For example: Find 3 things that are green.
I might ask at morning message for the children to tell me something they found at home that was green but I don't mark it nor do I know if they actualy did it. Last year I did have one student who drew me pictures in his Homework book of the three things. His mother labelled them for him. I was so impressed I wrote a note home to thank the mother for her support and gave him a special sticker.
Homework is not a high priority for most families in our area but I do think it is important to try. I'd love to try and get my students reading more but many don't have books. If I send books home I don't see them again so it is usually photocopies that I send of emmergent readers so it's no big deal if they come back. However, this is very time consuming. Also Scholastics have a monthly package called Let's Find Out that we used last year that comes with a small booklet and a few posters. The Teacher's Guide comes with class size posters, a homework sheet and a copy of the booklet. The grade one teachers wanted it re-ordered for this year and we even got subscriptions for our whole division (K-2). These are usally monthly themes that anyone can use in the classroom and then send the studnet's copy home once we cover it a few times.
I send a detailed letter home at the beginning of the year explaining my NIGHTLY homework policy and how I figure grades (1/3 each tests, homework, classwork.) Parents sign it, and I keep it. I keep homework very consistant (similar stuff on each night), which helps parents plan for any afterschool activities.
If they don't do any part of nightly homework, they spend their recess making it up. I also send home weekly progress reports where I show how many completed assignments I've received in reading, math and spelling. I also include grades on weekly reading, spelling, and math tests. When Johnny doesn't do his math homework and gets a 62% on the math test, it usually dawns on parents.
I also show the kids how I grade using a pie chart. We divide a circle into 3 parts. I show them how we do long division (they love that!) to divide 100 into 3 pieces. Since it can't be divided evenly, each piece is 33%. I label each piece HW, tests, classwork. We add 33 three times and get 99. We look at the grading scale on the wall and see that a 99 is an A. Then I cross out the homework piece and say to the kids: "If you don't do any homework, what's the BEST grade you can get?" They add 33 twice and see that a 66 equals a D -- not what they want to get.
After that, I just let them get what they get. We do a lot of talking about choices in my class. "You chose not to do homework, so you are choosing to spend your recess doing it." Sometimes, they never know when, I bring in treats for those who did their homework all week. Or I hand out "No reading tonight!" coupons for those who always read. It's not just about homework, it's about teaching life-long responsibility skills.
I teach 7th and 8th grade. Here is how I handle homework/organzing
I have a different tray for each class (the ones that you can stack on top of each other) When I get their homework/papers of any kind, they get paperclipped and put here. for grading homework, I have a chart for each class that stays in my grade book. It kinda looks like a grade book, I have each studentss' name on one side and then empty columns and spaces (like a grade book) to enter the homework grade.
I enter the date and a brief desciption of the assignment on the top of the chart (like gradebook) that way if a parent comes in I can say, well she missed this homework, etc. They get 1 point for each question that is assigned. that way if they tried but didn't finish they still get some points. At the bottom of the page, I have a place for possible points. At the end of the marking period, I add up the students' points and the possible points divide the two and have their average. Ex. Student points 219 Possible 250 Grade: 88/B
It is a little time consuming but worth it. I also DO not grade for accuracy on every homework assignment. I check to see if it is done, stamp it (I use the Crayola Stampers Markers) and hand it back. Then we go over it. I glance to make sure it isn't a nonsense answer, but that's it. On occassion I really grade it. I never tell them when I will do that. If I grade it, it becomes a 'test' grade not just a homework grade.
I hope this isn't confusing. If you need more clarification, email me!
I have a worksheet with each day and each subject for homework listed. Such as Monday (Math,Spelling,Reading,Science,SS,other). Every day I post on the homework board the homework of the day and go over it with the students as I write it...
We have 10 words (5 spelling and 5 vocabulary) weekly. On Monday, they have to write a sentence with the first 5 words. On Tuesday, they have to write a sentence with the last 5 words. On Wednesday, they have to write a paragraph (fiction/non-fiction) using all ten words.. On Thursday, they have to study for our spelling test on Friday. This doesn't usually change. For math homework, I usually give them a worksheet for review purposes. For reading homework, we do a story a week. So each night I give a worksheet with questions (approx.5-8) that I've generated regarding the story.
I ususally do not give science/ss for homework unless it is a worksheet for review or an assignment that we've not completed in class. It is my belief that homework is for review especially in the lower grades. It should not consume their life at home but give them the foundation for future use(high school/college). Also, I never grade homework nor do I rely on it for measuring a child's work. I feel that at times, the homework is done by a parent or with a parent and is not a true measurement of the child's performance (could have been done while music going or while watching tv, etc.). It should be strictly used for review and definitely not for punishment or the child resents it and will not do their best.
I guess it depends on what grade you teach. I teach 2nd grade and use homework as an extension of the things we do in class and as a responsibility thing. I don't take it for a grade. I have a homework basket and when the students come in they put it in the basket. I glance at a few problems say in Math and if they have the concept I put a star on the paper and file it in their mailbox. When I taught 4th grade I gave them a homework packet every Monday that had all of their homework in it for the week. They had to turn it in on Friday morning and I didn't accept late work. I had a parent who came in on Friday mornings and checked it for me. They would turn in their homework with the cover sheet that I had given them on Monday stapled on the front. She went through and checked that everything was turned in and complete. Anything missing or incomplete was highlited on the cover sheet. Then at the end of the day, I handed them out with a small sticker for the complete ones. The stickers were put on our homework chart. When a student got 4 in a row (a month's worth of homework) turned in, they earned a treat. If they missed a week, they had to start over. The parents loved this system because it gave them flexibility to do homework around baseball, piano and scouts. I didn't care if they did all their homework on Monday night or waited until Thursday night as long as it all came back completed on Friday.
I have found the following plan to be a middle ground for homework: I give an average of 45-60 minutes of homework a night (Mon-Thurs). They must read 20 min. a night (If they have a Content area reading assignment, they can count it towards their reading homework log). They have a Spelling Contract to complete every week. It breaks down to one Spelling assignment per night. They have some math every night (I usually give around 10 problems). They have a science experiment or book activity for which they have one week to complete (due on Wednesdays). And, they have a social studies activity (i.e. Time For Kids or News Article summary)for which they have 1 week to complete. We usually have a long-term project of some sort to complete in which case I help them break it up into shorter goals.
I have gotten positive feedback on my homework plan. No one has ever complained. One thing that parents really like about my plan is that I write all the homework on the board on Monday and the kids write it down. I give them assignments ahead of time - if possible - so that they can prioritize their homework and get it done according to their weekly schedule (we have a community that is big in sports). I even give them their reading logs on Friday evening and if they know they will have a hard time finding time to read on a day the following week, they can do their 20 minutes over the weekend. I have had many children take advantage of this option. Of course, I never give out homework ahead of time if it is directly related to a lesson I am going to teach.
I'm looking forward to seeing other teachers' plans. What a great idea to share!
For the homework, I use a gradebook program that lets me weight grades. Usually, I assign homework that is not for grades -- but for practice or study for a test. However, if you weight the homework category so that it is worth only 10% or 20% of their total score, you and the parent should get a more realistic representation of the child's capabilities. Make sure the parents know that.
As for the parent "hanging" out before and after class. I would be friendly and greet them, but then get quickly to business. Send out a parent letter stating your times and methods of receiving calls -- we specify before and after school. Don't set the precident of calling them at home at night -- especially from your own house (caller ID -- they can start calling you). Call after school -- up to one hour. If they have questions -- be adamant about scheduling a meeting.
I know several parents who are that involved with their children, probably more so if there have been chronic or severe illnesses in the child's life. If you have never had a child that had severe allergic reactions and had to stay in the hospital, it is hard to understand the amount of worry that a parent has. So her concern may be genuine.
As for the illnesses, what were they besides allergies? Does the child require an Epi pen? What other problems has he had? What about his attendance record last year? Any way, sometimes medication can cause hyperactivity, drowsiness, and other things that can effect classroom performance they dont' show up on cognition tests.
I am sure you know that (duh). Maybe the child is afraid to do anything on their own. (If parents do the homework, they may feel inadequate on their own in class.)
Finally, if you suspect some sort of problem with the mother -- (like that Munch Housens (?) by proxy thing on movies of the week) -- just start documenting. Some people do dwell on their children and seem to live their whole lives again through them. Having a sick child can get someone extra attention and sympathy that they wouldn't normally recieve for their own merits.
Good luck and keep us updated!
I have two types of kids in my class usually. There are the ones who do their homework consistently and have parents who encourage them to do well in school and are my partners in teaching their child. Then there are the students who never turn in homework, and who have parents who are struggling with two or more jobs, other kids, babies, etc. Therefore the homework I assign is above and beyond what I expect the kids to be learning in school. It is more of an enrichment kind of thing, because I know that not everybody's going to do it, and I don't want to worry that if Johnny doesn't do the homework, he's not going to learn what he needs to.
Another option you have for kids who don't do homework is to have classroom volunteers help them with the homework at school.
I would not assign unfinished work as homework. They have a chance every Friday to finish it during choice time. Once all of their work is finished they get to choose activities to do (organized free time).
I send homework once a week and have the kids read every night. I give them a form to fill out for reading, but again, if some kids don't do this, I don't worry because I know that I'm helping them at school to learn as much as they can.
I hope this helps...
My school district/administration does not regulate the amount of homework that we give. Each teacher decides if and how much is given per night/per week. Our principal supports each of us and the decisions we make.
In my class, I assign homework on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. I never assign homework over a weekend or holiday break, because I feel that that time should be used for family time and for just being a kid. I also don't send home homework on Mondays because it is the start of the week and I let them get back into their groove (and me too).
The only issue I have with homework is the amount of help or lack of help students receive at home. The homework I send is generally review (math), spelling words, and the reading story of the week. You never are quite sure what you will get back. A few don't return it, a few obviously don't have a parent check their work, and occasionally you get a few who have parents do it for them. I generally expect perfect to nearly perfect papers when assigned as homework. I feel that the student should do the work and a parent should check it and have them correct it.
I also send home a homework assignment sheet every Monday and post assignments on my class website the Friday before so parents are always aware and know what to expect.
Just my thoughts! Hope this helps a little. By the way I teach 3rd Grade.
One problem with trying to figure out homework is that each child completes it at a different rate. My 5th graders are supposed to have about 1 hr. (no more than 1 and 1/2 hour) per night. (4 nights a week.)
Last year, my teaching partner & I decided to give all of the homework out on Thursdays, due the next Thursday. This helps the kids plan around their activity schedules. The parents & the students loved it. It helped the kids that needed more time to complete things to plan for it. It helped our brighter kids free up time for more reading or other activities. Parents liked it because even though we aren't "supposed" to assign homework on weekends, they could choose to work on the homework over the weekend if they wanted too. For some families that was the best time to complete homework. All of our incoming parents & students were clamoring for the same system & we are using it again this year.
We require them to read a minimum of 60 minutes per week & complete a written or other simple project for the book they are reading. We have different spelling assignments each week. We assign 3-4 math worksheets that allow them to practice skills that we are working on. We give them science, social studies, & religion (I teach in a Catholic School.) if we have something appropriate for those subjects. If not, we will add a grammar review or other skill reviews. Studying for tests is also considered part of their homework time, so we are careful to space the tests so they don't all fall on the same day.
I have 25 students this year. I manage homework by walking around the room and inspecting it very quickly to see that everybody has completed it. If it isn't completed, then I have the child or children who haven't completed it sign my homework log sheet. They have to write their excuse, what's missing, date it, and provide their signature. I collect it and return it to my log book. At the end of the week, I send it home with their test papers, etc. for parents to sign. The parents can see first-hand what their children are forgetting and why they haven't done it. You get some interesting reasons sometimes, and many of them sound like poor excuses. "I went to a party and got home late. I didn't get to do it." We then check our homework as a class. The students are required to self-check their homework. I explain to them that I'm not going to grade it myself, but I will look over it to see how they did with it.
After we check homework in class, I have the student helpers collect the work and place it into a basket. It goes home on Fridays with their other work in their KEEP side of the take-home folder. I have told the parents that their children will grade their own work. I am sending it home so that they can see what their children do each day.
By the way, I collect everything the kids do so that they don't get trashy.
This is my 3rd year teaching first grade in NYC.
Start with a letter to parents explaining that homework should be done every night & that it is a reinforcement of the day's lessons. Also, remind parents that they are to assist but not do the homework for the child. You would preper to see errors other than perfection. (Be understanding if once in a while homework is skipped).
Math is assigned every day. If your math curriculum has workbooks, great. I have to make up much of the homework.
Every Mon. students are given 5 spelling words which they write. On Tues. they choose 2-3 words & write in a sentence. On Friday they are assessed. I prefer assessment that includes writing a sentence or 2 with words.
For reading, I send home "A Book In A Bag" with a sheet for recording title, when read, etc.
For writing I have to get creative. Use skills that students are learning (Cap., spacing, ending punctuation, holidays, etc.) Again, depending on your curriculum, some of this is provided.
On Fri., students take their writing journal home & must write about anything they want. If they are not writers, word strings & illustrations are acceptable. On Mon. we share our stories.
I plan the week before & my homework sheet includes the week's homework + any attachements and are given to students on Mondays.
Good luck & don't forget to work with other 1st grade teachers in your school.
I have taught fourth grade for seven years. My policy for homework is:
Daily math assignment - practice from the day's lesson with one word problem. I give struggling students only five math problems; the rest get about 8 to 10 problems depending on the complexity.
Independent reading for 20 to 30 minutes every day. Students usually have a strategy to practice and use sticky notes to prove reading. This gets checked during independent reading time in the during class. It takes less time when the students are working in book clubs - they tell on each other.
Science and Social Studies: One project a month for one or the other.
I check Math homework during Math by asking if anyone had a problem with the homework. All students must have the homework out. This way I know who did or did not do homework. They give up recess time to do the assignment.
I usually don't have a problem with homework. The parents and students understand the need for Independent Reading and to Practice Math.
This year we are beginning a new spelling program, so I will have to work in spelling practice. However, experience has taught me to first directly teach the students how to study spelling to cut down on cramming before a test and promote long term memory skills. They should only practice about 3 or 4 words they do not know nightly. So, this should only take about five minutes or so.