It’s due TOMORROW.

I just recently joined Twitter… I’ll admit, I feel a little awkward following people I don’t know (it feels a bit like stalking), but they sure have some great ideas for teaching math.  So I thought I might write a little about my homework policies to share as part of #hsSunFun.  Here we go…

In general, although I accept late projects, I don’t accept late homework, unless the student was absent.  I’ve tried accepting late homework before, and it ends up being a NIGHTMARE to keep track of.  Mostly though, I want the students to be able to participate in our homework discussions the next day AND I want them to have practiced what we learned yesterday because it’s very likely that today’s topic is going to build off of it.  So no late homework.

My Advanced Algebra class is taught to regular level juniors.  I always have some way for students to check their homework answers in class the next day and ask questions.  I tell them to correct their homework answers in pen.  Then when I grade their homework, I either check it for completion (they must have copied the problem and showed work), or collect the homework and pick 2-3 problems to grade.  If I pick a problem to grade that they’ve corrected in pen, then I count it correct, as long as they’ve shown work or explained why they missed it the first time.  If I just check it for completion, I count it as 3 points, and the graded assignment is worth 5 points: 3 for the problems I grade and 2 for completion.  I’ve used this system for several years, and still like it, although I wouldn’t be opposed to something new.

I tried for a few years in AP Statistics to not grade homework.  I had a fellow AP Stats teacher at my school argue that it’s a college level course, so students should just be expected to do their homework.  I think this somehow works for him, but I was SO frustrated. I had so many kids not do their homework that it felt like a joke to discuss it the next day… I’d ask if they had questions, but we all knew they didn’t because they hadn’t done it.  So two years ago, I decided I would check it for completion almost every day and count it as a 2 point assignment.  It really ends up being a very small part of their grade, but SO many more kids do it, and we’re actually able to have good discussions.  Thank goodness!

This will be my first year teaching Precalculus.  The assumption is that all 3 of us teaching it will have the same homework policy.  In this case, homework doesn’t get graded throughout the quarter, but at the end of the quarter, students fill out as investment sheet that describes their homework habits.  That sheet, along with my observations, will be used to give them an “investment grade,” which will count for about 5% of their grade.  We’ll see how I like this!  Has anyone else used a similar system?  Did you like it?

My biggest struggle is knowing what to do with kids who don’t do their homework.  When missed homework starts to become a pattern, I always talk to the student about.  But then I struggle with what to do next… when I taught freshmen, I contacted parents, but since I now teach juniors and seniors, I would much rather they start taking responsibility for their own choices.  So we’ll see if I have any great ideas as the school year unfolds. 🙂

Students come tomorrow, so right now I’m just focusing on calming my nerves!

Hello blogging world!

Hello everyone!  I’m a high school math teacher in the Chicago suburbs.  This will be my eighth year teaching, and I still feel like I have so much to learn!  I’ll be teaching Advanced Algebra, Precalculus, and AP Statistics this year.  I’m looking forward to reflecting on my teaching and sharing ideas with all of you.