I will be completely honest with you my dear friends (who I have missed talking to SO much during this whirlwind of a year!)…
I used to loathe assigning homework.
Trying to find the perfect assignments to support the learning that had taken place during the day. Collecting it each morning after. Unfinished assignments spilling into the next night. Worrying that I was assigning too much for my active students (who sometimes have busier schedules than I do!). Scrambling at the last second when I hadn’t pulled homework for the day and was busy at a meeting. The list goes on and on.
I knew I needed a change for this school year.
So I thought and thought about what to do over the summer. I asked blogging friends for advice. I chatted about it with readers on my Facebook
page (thank you for all of your help!!). I thought long and hard about my goals. What did I want the homework to achieve, aside from building upon/reviewing our learning?
Then it hit me.
Above all, more than anything, I really wanted my students to learn the important skill of balancing their lives. I wanted to get them ready for middle school and beyond. I wanted them to a have some power in managing their assignments.
So this year, we are using a Weekly Planner to schedule a mix of daily and
weekly assignments…and it has worked like a charm!
I introduced the planners during the first week of school by sharing how I balance my work schedule around my home life. I shared how some nights were busier, so I had less time for work and accordingly scheduled my work on other nights. Then we tackled the planning sheet.
Here’s the setup:
Each Monday, during Morning Meeting, we start with a blank sheet that is set up for the month. We highlight the current week…
and label the dates:
Then we fill out the Daily Assignments:
I use Stephanie’s (from the incredible Teaching in Room 6
) Spiral Math Homework
for our daily assignments. Students must complete a page each weeknight and bring it back the next morning, as we correct it during Math each day (it is such a wonderful resource and the students respond so well to the consistency and spiral).
After recording our Spiral Math assignments, we write our weekly assignments:
Then we get to the planning! Students fill in any known times for sports, activities, or times with friends…
…and start planning out which assignments they will complete on certain days of the week:
There is also an area for reflection, for the students to jot down their thoughts on how they balanced their schedule that week (just to get them really cognizant of their scheduling choices):
I can’t begin to tell you how much I love this system…and so do my students! I love having all of my weekly assignments prepped and ready to go…no more scrambling to get homework ready each night. And, more importantly, I am already seeing my students act so responsibly in balancing their schedules for the week.
I know each class is so different when it comes to homework, but if you are interested in these planning sheets, you can download them by clicking on the image below (they are all set up for the 2013/2014 school year):
How do you set up homework in your classroom?
Thanks so much for stopping by!