New Teachers

Assigning Homework

A colleague and I were discussing homework for our students. What have you seen that works best? An assignment each night or a large packet to complete over the course of the week? What subject areas are key to reinforcing at home and where do you draw the line? Reading and math are the most often homework subjects but I think writing, spelling, and science are just as important. Additionally, how do you go about holding students accountable? Do you check it off or actually grade it? What happens it they don't complete it/turn it in? Please share what you have observed or have tried in the classroom!!

Nicole Bristol
Nicole Bristol
585 Activity Points

Homework.. a subject of debate in many forms. If you give one assignment per day, kids may have family or other obligations that interfere with their ability to complete it. (Student lives do not stop when the bell rings, and in high school, they may be working to help feed siblings - not just to buy fancy clothes or a cell phone.) If you give packets, students who struggle with organization may lose them, even if they did complete and understand the work. Visit your lunchroom and see how many students are copying answers without understanding them just to "complete" an assignment before class. Is it a good use of teacher time to grade copied papers that do NOT show understanding, but rather an ability to copy? I think not. A solution? Give out the assignments as it makes sense for your class structure. Have the students keep them in their personal binder which is dedicated to that class. If they are busy one night, they can complete the assignment when they do have time without penalty. Then on a weekly basis, have a "binder quiz" where the students demonstrate understanding of the concepts covered in the homework with the ability to use their binder as a reference. If they did and understand the work, they should succeed on this "quiz", building confidence needed for a more traditional "test"-type cumulative assessment. If they did not do it, or simply copied it in the lunchroom, they will not have time to look up every answer and will get a lower grade on the "quiz" which should indicate they need to do more homework or show up to a tutoring session. This quiz grade will serve as a homework grade if your district requires it, will teach students what they need to do to learn and study, and will save teacher time that could be better used creating dynamic lessons that actually teach and reinforce concepts.

Erin Davis
Erin Davis
170 Activity Points

Hello, So far the teachers I'm around with they send him the big packet and every day teacher tell them what they need to do and sometime they just give them packet for the week and their parents guide them at home and teacher do some work as a warm up in school. You just have to know your students how it will work with them also your other teachers who are same grade teachers as you are.

Shamama Nargis
Shamama Nargis
2845 Activity Points

I've seen the big packet done when I've observed elementary teachers, but there have been problems with it getting lost. However, students should keep their homework in a certain folder just for homework. I personally think an assignment a day is better. You can just tear out worksheets you want them to complete each day and have them do assignments for spelling/vocabulary weekly but with different words.

Adriana Garcia
Adriana Garcia
4685 Activity Points

From my experience completing field work and what my education professors do is have students reflect on what happened in the lesson. They can write about what they learned, what they thought was interesting, and what confused them or they had trouble grasping. This way they can come back and a discussion can be had on the material and they'll be more focused on the learning.

Christopher Rodriguez
Christopher Rodriguez
2320 Activity Points

In my 5th grade class, my students take a packet home each Monday. They are assigned 1-2 pages a day. Each day that week, I have a student walk around check the completion of the homework for the night before. On Friday, I collect the homework and check how the students did as a form of assessment. I determine what I need to reteach based on how they did. My school does not allow homework to be counted as a grade. I believe students show have homework from every subject. The way I do it is by doing one subject per day in their packet ( monday-ela, tuesday-science, etc...). If a student does not do their homework, they have to do laps during recess. If a student does not do their homework again, I call/email the parents to let them know. Hope this helps!

Almira Bhojwani
Almira Bhojwani
460 Activity Points

Hello! I am a student teacher but, when I have been in my classroom and had observations I have notes big packets seem to be harder for this age. In my observations when I have seen this assigned I found a lot of students did not finish the packet or tried to finish it last minute. If you were to do this I would suggest build the students up to it to help with responsibility in the student.

Stefanie Thews
Stefanie Thews
445 Activity Points

To assign homework or to not assign homework can be a controversial topic. However, from my experience and observation I believe that it is important for students to be assigned homework. Whether a teacher decides to give his/her students one specific assignment over one particular subject or a large packet to be completed over the course of the week, they are both efficient ways that allow students to show what they have learned. Additionally, the decision of what form of homework that should be given to students should be left to each individual teacher because only he/she knows what's best for their students. Furthermore, aside from using homework as a form to check for students comprehension over lessons, teachers can also use it to make modifications to their future lessons. Overall, I am all in for homework!

Karina Herrera
Karina Herrera
485 Activity Points

I think it would be best to assign one assignment each night. From experience, I've had students lose their packets. It's been easiest to just assign them a worksheet everyday. Though of course, it is based on your class and what you have seen works better for them. Maybe try out the packet idea for one week and see how it goes. Good luck!

Alyssa Perez
Alyssa Perez
1275 Activity Points

Hi Nichol! I am currently student teaching in a second grade class at a Dual Language school. The student in the English class gets about 2-4 pages of homework a day that is over math/reading subjects, except no homework Friday’s. Everyday the teacher begins the day with doing a warm-up then going over all the homework. The students that don’t do their homework (which are usually the same ones), the teacher just gets upset at the moment and that’s it. She doesn’t give grades over homework and at the end of the day she puts the homework in the recycle bin. They also get homework from the Spanish class. I have seen where the students just write whatever on their homework just to turn something in, without taking the time to actually do it or some students students do it in class while they are going over it.

Carolina Olvera
Carolina Olvera
365 Activity Points

Hi Nicole, 

I am a preservice teacher about to begin student teaching. I have completed numerous hours observing many schools that have different policies towards assigning and grading homework. Overall, I have observed many science teachers collecting worksheets as completion grades. If the student does not complete the assignment, the student will have a zero and also cannot complete the assessment at the end of the unit until the student has completed all of their work. Many of my cooperating teachers approve of this method, for it allows the student to make mistakes on their homework and not be graded for right/wrong answers. The homework displays to the teachers how the students are doing with the material (are they getting it or not). 

 

Brooke Klostermann

Wartburg College '19

Brooke Klostermann
Brooke Klostermann
215 Activity Points

I am currently a student teacher, but what I have seen in the classroom is assigned homework for everyday of the week except Friday. The homework is checked for a completion grade, but then I go and grade the homework for the student. I have realized this is done because some parents do the homework for the students, or give them the answers.

Stephanie Jerez
Stephanie Jerez
1165 Activity Points

I'm currently a student teacher and i use homework as if it a part of the lesson its self. I would teach a lesson half way assign homework then use that homework to cover up any misconception. Hopes this helps

John Pacheco
John Pacheco
1215 Activity Points

I like John's suggestion on homework. Some days homework could be given and other days incorporate it into the lesson if time permits.

Lisa Tobias
Lisa Tobias
550 Activity Points

I'm a student teacher, and my lead teacher plans on having homework daily. It will differ from time to time and case to case whether it's for completion or accuracy, but it is certainly expected to be done. He is a really down to earth and intelligent man, and he, most of all, wants the students to get something out of the homework --- he also tries to make it be able to be completed in an half hour.

Luke Evancoe
Luke Evancoe
1135 Activity Points

I definitely believe homework should be given each night. How else are they going to learn? Most of the time they spend in class is zoning out so to review it.... HOMEWORK! Don't overload, but just a couple worksheets isn't going to kill them.

Rachael Drab
Rachael Drab
280 Activity Points

I am currently student teaching and I have observed and implemented many different strategies for homework to determine the best way to asses my students understanding. Overall I have found that each class can be different in the way that they handle homework assignments. For one of my classes I assign homework every night (mon-thur) and they come in the next morning and get into their groups and exchange homework. If a student has not completed the assignment I quickly make copies of another students completed homework (I do not give them a blank homework assignment otherwise they will be able to do it in class and hand it in, but I give them the completed assignment to grade so that they are not left out of the activity and disruptive). I give the students anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes to discuss the answers they got (not to change them, they can however write notes to themselves about what they discussed with their classmates). NOTE* it is important that the students use pens when doing the discussion in class. We then go over the answers as a class and they peer correct. I then collect the assignments, bring them home to check that they were graded correctly (most of the time they correct it properly, but I always say I am taking it home so the students know a) they are being graded fairly and b) the students do not cheat) and I return them to the students on Thursday. This way they have study material to complete the quick quiz on Friday morning. I find that by having them discuss the answers together first allows for another level of learning that does not involve me. I often find they have a more genuine learning experience when they are taught by their classmates and teaching is the highest level of understanding so I know when my students get the concepts. The students explain why they got the answer they did which practices demonstration. Hope this helps!

Leanne Tirabassi
Leanne Tirabassi
320 Activity Points

As a future teacher I think about how I will handle homework assignments a lot! I've decided that I will never grade homework assignments based on whether they are correct or not. My future students will get a completion grade as long as it looks like they tried. Homework is meant to assess whether students can do something on their own, it's practice! Regarding your question about packets or individual worksheets, I think it is more valuable to give them one sheet of homework more often than one packet of homework less often (as long as both are of the same quality). I believe a packet may overwhelm the children. Hope this helps!

Rachel Sheidler
Rachel Sheidler
1125 Activity Points

I am a parent and a future teacher (student teaching next semester). I think homework should be given as minimally as possible. I think kids are overwhelmed already, and so are the parents!!! Kids need more time to play, relax, read for pleasure; and time to do what they need to do with their family. Life is short.

Anja Woolverton
Anja Woolverton
450 Activity Points

As a future teacher, (student teaching next semester) I think that homework should be given. I think that it shouldn't be a lot but I do think that have students do a worksheet a week or some sort of assignment is a good idea. I am not in a classroom currently, however I do think that having homework (some) is a necessary evil. I believe that it is just another way teachers and parents can teach students responsibility and hold them accountable.

Becky Kenton
Becky Kenton
920 Activity Points

I have mixed feeling about homework like everyone else. Our 4th grade team gives minimal homework with the hopes that family time will be happening instead of hours of painful homework. Our math teachers give home homework on Monday and Wednesday (due on Wednesday and Friday respectively). The homework consist of some practice problems or a math puzzle. Reafing just has 30 minutes of reading and I think they have a choice board the students use. I teach Science (yay!), so I don't give roo much homework. Most of my homework is completed online through a LSM called Canvas. I generally have the students watch a video (no more than 5 minutes) and eith ask them questions from the video or have them do a 3-2-1. I also post discussion questions for them to respond to as well. I have had a pretty food success rate on students completing the assignments. I also allow them to complete in the morning as well as I know not all my students have internet or device access.

Destiny Huggins
Destiny Huggins
10010 Activity Points

I am in early childhood which can be very different from 4th and 5th. However, I personally view homework to be extremely important in all areas. The most effective methods that I have seen homework done is in large packets for the week and baggy books with comprehension questions each night. In the large packets I have seen a teacher do all reading and math or a couple pieces of the packet to be reading, a couple math and some for writing, science or social studies. I have heard of some elementary schools doing away with homework all together. However, I personally feel that homework is important to help support the involvement of the parents in their child's education and if you do away with homework that is not giving the parents the opportunity to see what their child is doing and learning.

Victoria Wilt
Victoria Wilt
1015 Activity Points

I definitely do not have all the answers as I am a student teacher, but I do my cooperating teacher sends home one packet of homework to be turned in at the end of the week and that has seemed to work for the kids and the parents! We haven't had any complaints so far when it comes to homework! I hope that helps! Thanks for the other comments for your insight on this dreaded topic!

Meagan Schrull
Meagan Schrull
750 Activity Points

I am currently a student teacher in a 3rd grade class and the whole grade level gives homework every day of the week. Every room has the exact same homework to avoid some students having too much or too little homework. They all hold the students accountable by checking the homework every day and checking it was completed. If it was not then they lose recess and have to complete their homework during this time. Also, they give the students homework for every topic throughout the week. Reading, math, and spelling is homework that is given everyday where are social studies, science, and writing are given at least once a week. I think the homework system that they have is good and the fact that every teacher is on board and participating in it is even better. It definitely helps the students to see that it is important and taken seriously.

Ayari San Luis
Ayari San Luis
1425 Activity Points

My class is given a homework menu to complete over the course of a month. Students are able to choose from a list of activities to complete.

Alexia Perry
Alexia Perry
755 Activity Points

I have never heard of this way of assigning homework. I would love to know the logistics of it or how effective it is compared to a more traditional approach.

Matthew Thomas
Matthew Thomas
190 Activity Points

I teach chemistry...and with chemistry, I find that it really depends on the topic. Some topics I give homework every night...some times I give one or two assignments a week. There are many things where the best way to learn is repetition. Naming compounds/writing formulas, balancing equations, etc. My homework is generally short...should take them 10-15 minutes at most. Just the idea is to get them to think about it at home, and not just in the class. Because lord knows if they don't have "homework" they won't think about it.

Chris Leverington
Chris Leverington
3900 Activity Points

From my experience in my field placements, I am realizing that parents often do help the children complete their homework quite a bit. Or students do not complete their homework at all and then are punished for not completing it. As a student, I dislike having homework that my teachers do not take for a grade. Throughout my placements, teachers do not give any points for homework, they just clip down. I do not believe that motivates students to complete homework. My personal opinion is that we should not give students packets of homework to students to complete at home. They do a lot of work throughout the day, the last thing they need is to go home and spend hours on homework.

Danielle Hardin
Danielle Hardin
1035 Activity Points

I loved reading about all the ideas and feelings expressed over assigning homework. That is definitely a great topic to have and I found all the comments very insightful.

Brenda Del Valle
Brenda Del Valle
1215 Activity Points

I think homework is a good thing but sometimes I think they should do activities in class that count as there homework. Homework should be given but if they have homework every night I feel like they will get overwhelmed. I find this topic very interesting. A great topic to discuss. Comments are very helpful!

Brittney Hunke
Brittney Hunke
4870 Activity Points

I think that having students do an assignment a night is something that will really help teachers assess where each child is at and what more you might need to do for that child if they are struggling still.

Amanda Huybrechts
Amanda Huybrechts
215 Activity Points

Homework packets for the week would be an effective way to issue homework to the younger students. Everything would be directly there for them and they do not have to scatter through folders and notebooks to complete 4 different sheets of homework. I would personally include all the subjects we as a class studied and then attach a activity or puzzle to the end. Packets would also be easy for the teacher to grade and would probably benefit from having more students turn it in and not lose the homework.

Isaacah Bell
isaacah bell
1900 Activity Points

Hello! Something I observed in my placements as a student teacher was 'Choice Homework'. The students were given a packet at the beginning of the week, and they were allowed to choose one homework assignment that they liked best out of the packet. What I liked about this homework was that the teacher had included engaging and fun activities or experiments, as well as the option to write a short 1 page paper over a particular topic given by the teacher. Some other choices the teacher had provided the students with included making videos showing and explaining any scientific experiment they decided to do at home. Another interesting one that the students loved included the students rapping a teacher provided educational rap (the teacher found various educational raps on youtube that pertained to the concepts they were learning). The choice was up to the students and they were to turn in their one assignment every Friday. The students absolutely LOVED this "homework". It was fun and they looked forward to it. Ive never seen a class ever get so excited to do and share their homework. In my opinion, this was a brilliant idea because it was so highly effective and can be modified for younger grades if need be. The students still had homework but were actually excited to do it, and most importantly, they were still learning! :)

Aleena Naqvi
Aleena Naqvi
370 Activity Points

Wow! Aleena, thank you for sharing! I love homework menus and I believe homework should be meaningful if it is given. I often ask my students to look on their way home and around their home for examples of ways we use -whatever we are learning about in class- in the real world. Videos are so much fun!

Pamela Dupre
Pamela Dupre
87364 Activity Points

I am currently a second grade student teacher. My mentor takes homework very seriously because she believes that is one of the best ways to practice and learn a subject outside of school. She also believes learning all subjects are highly important, so she creates a monthly homework assignment list that includes reading, writing, spelling, and math. The students take it home in their homework folders and choose an item from the list they want to complete for the night. Homework is assigned every night (except on Fridays), and the students have to fill out their reading logs every week night (including Fridays). As for social studies and science, the students rarely ever have enough time to finish their work in class, so we have them take home whatever they did not finish and complete it at home (which counts as their homework). I grade the homework as completion, but I look over their assignments to make sure they put effort. If their homework is incomplete, or they do not turn it in, then my mentor involves the parents. She has me write the parents a note reminding them that their son or daughter needs to read and complete their homework. The student will then return that note (signed by a parent) into me the next day with the completed homework. I notice this routine is very effective, and I see improvement in the students’ class assignments due to what they read and learned at home from working on their homework.

Jeanette Nguyen
Jeanette Nguyen
120 Activity Points

On the topic of homework, I do agree in assigning it. I feel that it allows for continuous learning once outside of the classroom and to apply the knowledge they have gained from the lesson outside of the lesson as well. Whether it be a packet, a worksheet, or a series of questions is all up to the lesson, grade and classroom arrangement. As a future Special Education teacher, I do not think a packet would work best for my future students because they may or may not be able to handle a large assignment all in one setting. Worksheets or providing pieces of packets over the course of the week may work best.

Vivianna Caballero
Vivianna Caballero
335 Activity Points

Hi, I am a prospective teacher and I do believe that assigning homework is important. For the younger students I would assign a packet so that parents/guardians are able to keep track of their child's school work. I would focus on all subject areas as I believe they are each equally important. As for the higher grade levels, I would assign homework daily and add any necessary assignments I feel need to be worked on as the day progresses. I would definitely thoroughly check and grade homework assignments as that is where I will se where my students need further work and explanation on any given topic.

Karina Redondo
Karina Redondo
730 Activity Points

I appreciate your viewpoint, Karina. What are you basing your homework policies on? I always try to limit homework and especially in relation to younger children. Families with young children need time to be together after school and work that do not involve homework that might cause frustration and discord. As a teacher and a parent I detest homework packets. Homework packets equal "busywork." If the child can't do it on their own, it is being taught by the parent. In this age of technology, there has to be a more creative approach to connecting with school than homework packets.

Pamela Dupre
Pamela Dupre
87364 Activity Points

Everyone, Homework has been a spark of much debate, as of late. From what I have observed in the field is that most teachers do give homework, especially in math and reading. For some, they give homework to appease parents. Parents are of the mindset that if a teacher does not assign some type of homework, what is their child really learning. Also, it keeps parents involved and relieved. There is benefit to it. In terms of there actually being a benefit to homework, I do see benefit for it when it comes to math. To become proficient in math, it requires much practice. I believe assigning math homework that goes over past units/lessons is important to make sure students do not forget what they have covered. Most units/lessons do not go over past units, so it is key that students still practice old things they have learned. When it comes to reading, for me, I believe assigning a reading log so students make sure they read a set amount of time every night and to have parents sign off on it. When it comes to science, assigning projects or having students do something related to what they are going to cover or cover can be assigned. When it comes to social studies, which is been left on the back-burner, I cannot really say. Now, can teachers verify if the student actually completed it on their own or if their parents did it for them? You can never really know. But, over the course of the year, you will get to know your students and what they are truly about. You can tell whether work has been done by them or not. Going over last night's homework for the first 5-10 minutes can be done as a warm-up. In terms of grading homework, I believe a simple check or extra credit can be given. A reward of some type, as well. Homework teaches responsibility and teaches students they are also workers in a kind of way. This is just my take from what I have observed in the field and from teachers I have spoken to.

Hussein Pacha
Hussein Pacha
785 Activity Points

Hello Nicole, I am currently a college student at UC Berkeley taking a Cal-Teach course. From what I have seen in my field placement at an elementary school and from personal experience I feel that a homework packet over the course of the week works best since the students can complete it whenever it works best for them. They will also learn how to stay organized since they will have to take care of this packet. Also, I think that homework should be given at its minimal, just as a review of the material taught that week. It should take them about thirty minutes to complete per day because they can get overwhelmed at the point that they just start disliking school since they do not have time for themselves. I think the topics included in the homework daily should be reading, writing, and mathematics. You can have them pick a book and have them do burrito summaries, Mondays to Thursdays, to check that they actually read and from this you can also check their writing. You can also give them 3-5 math problems per day for them to review based on the lessons taught that week. When checking their homework on Fridays, just check for completeness and go over the answers with them if applicable for the homework assignments. If they do not complete it, you can have them stay during break to complete it. Homework should not be given during the weekends if they are in elementary school. This worked really well for me when I was in elementary school, so I hope this works well for your students. Good luck! Best, Miriam

Miriam Oseguera
Miriam Oseguera
20 Activity Points

I have seen many different teachers do many differnet things as well. It just depends on what you are using homework for. Are you just sending it home for practice? Is it being taken for a grade? Are you sending it home as a quick check up to see student understanding? I think homework helps teach responsibility. Also as they get older it is inevitable that they will have homework. It can help prepare them for what the next grades will be like. I know I student taught with someone who sent homework home purely for practice. She would look it over to see how they did, but did not take it for a grade because she knew she was not going to get it back from all of the students. This way it was not an end all be all for not doing homework. She was very aware of the district she was in, the parents, and the students home life. She would also send differentiated homework home. I loved this aspect. Although a lot of work, I really noticed that it helped the students and that the parents appreciated it. Again I think you should gauge your class at the beginnning of the year, the area in which you teach in and base it off of that. 

Allison Collins
Allison Collins
795 Activity Points

I have seen many different teachers do many differnet things as well. It just depends on what you are using homework for. Are you just sending it home for practice? Is it being taken for a grade? Are you sending it home as a quick check up to see student understanding? I think homework helps teach responsibility. Also as they get older it is inevitable that they will have homework. It can help prepare them for what the next grades will be like. I know I student taught with someone who sent homework home purely for practice. She would look it over to see how they did, but did not take it for a grade because she knew she was not going to get it back from all of the students. This way it was not an end all be all for not doing homework. She was very aware of the district she was in, the parents, and the students home life. She would also send differentiated homework home. I loved this aspect. Although a lot of work, I really noticed that it helped the students and that the parents appreciated it. Again I think you should gauge your class at the beginnning of the year, the area in which you teach in and base it off of that. 

Allison Collins
Allison Collins
795 Activity Points

I think that whichever policy is used it needs to get the children to do independent learning and also help them understand what it is they are trying to learn. Some do small assignments every night, others do no assignments or maybe sending a packet home with a few pages over the weekend. Get your cues from your students. They will key you in on what would be the best option for them.

Jacquelyn White
Jacquelyn White
988 Activity Points

The most common thing I've seen with students is packets of homework given out either Friday for the following week or on Monday. While packets are the most convenient way to assignment homework, many students get use to the repition of the assignments and are simply just filling out the worksheets rather than actually learning the material. I believe that homework should be completed in the classroom and sent home with students to review with their parents. This way, students are able to ask questions and teachers can observe if the students are learning and finding the assignments helpful or not. 

If you decide to go with submitting homework, I would suggest the packet method but sent home with students on Friday. This gives students the chance to look at the material they'll be learning the upcoming week and get a head start on their assignments especially if they're involved with after school activites. 

Amanda Luis
Amanda Luis
1380 Activity Points

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