Are you overwhelmed from assigning and grading homework? Keep reading to learn 5 simple homework strategies that have helped me manage homework so the process is stress-free.
1. Keep Homework Simple
Homework is a hot topic for several elementary teachers. Some love it and some hate it. I believe it can be valuable but needs to be efficient and to the point. A third-grader shouldn’t spend hours completing problems or be in tears arguing with their parents about the strategy they can’t remember from school that day.
I suggest 4 or 5 questions a night. A Monday through Thursday weekly sheet is my favorite. You can see an example of my Weekly Fraction Review here A simple and consistent layout makes it easier for teachers and students.
Checking homework on Fridays can also be simple. Don’t waste tons of instructional time reviewing it. Project the answer key on the overhead and tell students to correct their work with a crayon or highlighter. Make it fun. Give them time to ask questions if they don’t understand. Sometimes no one will ask a question and that’s okay. If they do ask, then celebrate it.
2. Plan Ahead of Time
Another homework strategy is to plan ahead of time. That probably seems pretty obvious but if you are anything like me you have scrambled the morning of copy day to find something of quality for the next week. I suggest mapping out your homework and making copies of your recourses every planning day. Use that time to make the coming 9 weeks easier.
3. Reviews Previous Lessons
Save yourself the headache of messages from parents at 7 or 8 asking questions about the homework. During previous school years, I assigned nightly homework based on the lesson from that day. It seemed like a great idea but often students were practicing a concept they didn’t understand yet without support. Parents felt frustrated and students lost confidence.
I typically use units of spiral review after a concept has been taught and students have learned all parts of the standard. That way students are practicing problems they know how to complete.
4. Don’t Grade Homework
Don’t grade homework for accuracy. It’s not a true representation of their understanding. Homework is practice completed at home and often with the support of families. Over the last few years, I have checked for completion only and that has helped relieve the stress for lots of families.
When students enter the classroom on Friday mornings, they grab their breakfast and take out their homework. A responsible student helper gets to skip morning work, grab the homework clipboard, and checks if students have their homework, and puts a circle next to their name if they don’t have it. No excuses needed. I follow up with the students that have circles by their names. I save the recording sheets in my parent communication binder to pull out for conferences or MRT meetings.
5. Reward Students for Completing
Now to the best part. Rewards. My students love rewards. It motivates them. Here is a list of the rewards I have used in the past.
- Lunch Bunch in the classroom
- Class Dojo points
- Classroom money reward used to buy prizes
- Raffle tickets for students that complete homework
- 5 minute learning games on the computer pass
Try out weekly math homework in your classroom with my FREE 3rd grade sample HERE.
Grab the FREE 5th grade sample by completing the form below.
Do you already use any of these homework strategies in your classroom?
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