Sunday, January 25, 2015

Homework Club

Let me just start by saying that as a general rule, I do not assign daily homework. Sure there will be an occasional assignment here or there, or a project, but I generally believe that students are at "work" all day, and they need some down time when they get home....time without having to do more work and practice that really in the long run does not increase their ability much and leaves you wondering who really did the assignment in the first place. So every year when I tell my philosophy on homework to my class, I get a cheer. With that said, there are many students who do have homework daily because what is assigned in class doesn't get done, so it becomes homework. 

Students that have a difficult time staying focused in class are also the students who generally seem to have a hard time completing it at home as well. So I felt the need to try something to help my students want to complete their homework. One year I tried homeworkology. It's a form of Monopoly that some teacher created to help the students be encouraged to complete their work. I have tried it before and while it was fun, I found it hard to maintain. I needed something easy.

After searching Pinterest, I ran across the idea of a homework club. It's basically a board with numbers. Each student is assigned a number. Each month, all numbers are placed on the board and students can start fresh. If they turn their assignments in on time, they stay on the board. If not, their number comes down. Students who stay on the board all month are treated to some special activity, food, or gift. Some of the things I've done in the past are: special pens, sunglasses, hotchoclate, cookies that they get to skip an assignment to decorate, and cupcakes.

If a student makes it all year without any late assignments, the prize is bigger. Last year I had only one student and they received the game Blokus as  a grand prize.

I created my own version of the homework club because I wanted it to match my theme for the year. So I printed out two giant jars that say "Homework Club" and I typed numbers on some lightning bug clipart. So I have two jars of lightning bugs for my homework club board. When a student doesn't turn something in, their bug leaves the jar.

I like that the homework club uses numbers so that students do not know who the other numbers belong to.

How do you handle homework in your class? Do you use some type of incentive? Leave a comment below telling me how your handle homework and  include your address if you'd like to get a free copy of my homework club jars and fireflies. Please leave a comment by the end of the month to get your free homework club printable.

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