Homework. It is definitely a love-hate relationship that I have with that word. On the one hand, I think the practice time is incredibly valuable for the students. On the other, I know that with after school activities and the fact that the kids spend 6 + hours at school, they need a break. With this in mind, I have formulated a homework plan in my room that is quick, to the point, easy to follow, and, most importantly, useful.
For me, as I am sure is the case with many of you, homework consists of pages that I *would* assign during class if time allowed. It is not busy work. It is useful items that I believe provide consistent and necessary practice of skills that we are learning in class.
So what do I assign?
Nightly, the students have the following.
Read for 20 minutes.
Complete a reading log response for the reading.
Math Review Page
Paragraph of the Week
I know...looks like a lot. But it actually isn't all that much. Let me break it all down for you.
Reading (25 minutes a night)
My students read for 20 minutes each night. They can read anything they wish, as long as it is something they enjoy. Then, they have to fill out a reading log response. This isn't a simple fill in the title and mom sign it log. The kids have to actually respond to their reading. There are 5 different response to choose from each week, asking the kids to use their comprehension skills and strategies to respond in a meaningful way.
I have written about my Spiral Math Homework many, many times. This is a 10 problem, cumulative spiral math review that I have written for my students. They practice a problem or two from the lesson that day, but more importantly, they practice everything else that they have learned over the course of the quarter/year. It is truly something I am passionate about. I believe with the whole of my being that my students outperform others on state tests because of this homework. No matter what grade I teach, it is this homework that carries me through. Math is just better because of this constant review.
Comprehension (10 minutes a night)
I have the students practice the test taking strategies we learn on this page nightly. I pull from many different sources, but lately I am really loving Readworks.org. The passages are free and are based upon skills and strategies that the kids need.
Paragraph of the Week (5 - 10 minutes a night)
I assign one page a night to the students. The pages progress each day of the week to create a clear, cohesive paragraph by Friday. Each day, we go over various strategies that they can use to make their paragraphs better. The sheer repetition of it all has made my kids better writers.
We start a section of this trifold in class each day. The kids then finish it at home. We review the next day. It is an easy, fast way to get the kids thinking about the roots and word structure of vocabulary words.
What is KEY about all of this is that in class EVERY.SINGLE.DAY we review the work. It is worked in to my schedule that we go over the homework. That way, if students don't understand something, we will have a chance to review it. They also then see that homework is an important part of our school day, since I am making it a part of our school day. It isn't just busy work that will never be looked at again. Kids know that it is necessary for our daily routine and class structure.
What does your homework assignment look like? How do you incorporate it into your day?