Thursday, June 6, 2013

Tricks of the Trade: Homework

Homework! Oh, Homework!
I hate you! You stink!
I wish I could wash you away in the sink,
if only a bomb
would explode you to bits.
Homework! Oh, homework!
You're giving me fits.
I'd rather take baths
with a man-eating shark,
or wrestle a lion
alone in the dark,
eat spinach and liver,
pet ten porcupines,
than tackle the homework,
my teacher assigns.
Homework! Oh, homework!
you're last on my list,
I simply can't see
why you even exist,
if you just disappeared
it would tickle me pink.
Homework! Oh, homework!
I hate you! You stink!
Jack Prelutsky
I love that poem by Jack Prelutsky! I'm sharing Two Tricks of the Trade about homework for Jessica & Becky's linky party! :O)
Trick 1: For about 12 years I've assigned a packet for homework on Monday instead of giving them an assignment each night. I started this the year I looped because I knew how busy my students were during the week with practices, sports, and church. I thought the packet would help with their busy schedules and allow them to get ahead on a night they didn't have anything on their schedule. They still have to complete and turn a page in each day. They can always get ahead, but can't turn in the entire packet at the end of the week. My packet contains work that should be able to be completed independently and is only one page (front (spelling/language arts) and back (math) and to read each evening. I don't want my homework to be a burden on my parents either, so another benefit of  the packet is they can ask questions during the week if necessary. It also saves me time to only pass it out once a week!
Trick 2: We can't count homework for a grade, but I think it's important because it teaches them responsibility and reinforces skills taught in class. I don't "grade" the homework as I check it in, but I do select 2-3 problems to spot check. I might check #4, #7, and #15, and if those are correct, all odds are the rest are correct too. If they miss all three, I will check it more closely. If there are several errors because they don't understand the concept, I will reteach that student. If they wrote any answer hoping I wouldn't check it, I give them a new page to redo. Even though I can't take homework for a grade, it holds them accountable. It's a quick check for busy teachers!
Do you assign homework? Any tips/tricks you want to share? Head on over to the Tricks of the Trade linky party!


  1. I love the idea of spot checking. :) Thanks for sharing.
    Brandee @ Creating Lifelong Learners

  2. I just don't like homework at all. :) That's my trick. However, I'll be teaching 6th grade all subjects next year and plan on asking them to read each night and probably math practice. Just don't want them to be bogged down each night! :)

    LOVE Jack's poem!!


  3. Hi Joanne,

    Love the idea of spot-checking. I have considered the weekly packet idea. Thanks for sharing what you do. It helps me to figure out new ideas.

    Compassionate Teacher


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