Make sure your students are on-track with these homework tips. We’re elbow deep in the first semester, and it didn’t take long for the excuses to start rolling in. Need an action plan when it comes to after-hours work? Here’s the how-to on getting a handle on homework.Break it downOne of the bestSep 23, 2015
Make sure your students are on-track with these homework tips.
We’re elbow deep in the first semester, and it didn’t take long for the excuses to start rolling in. Need an action plan when it comes to after-hours work? Here’s the how-to on getting a handle on homework.
Break it down
One of the best life skills we can foster in our kids is the ability to break large projects into manageable chunks. Good teachers separate lengthy assignments into palatable bites by providing check-in dates and scheduling intermediate due dates. Great teachers let students help plan those divisions and timelines. Model this study skill by giving students the opportunity to weigh in.
Encourage parent support …
Students of all ages and abilities do better when parents are invested in their schoolwork. Educate your parents on how to help their learners at home by encouraging them to set up a homework-friendly area for their student, a regular study time and modeling organization skills. Have a large ELL population? Be sure to connect with your admin so you can support your students and communicate with their families.
… but don’t count on it
Many students come from families where education isn’t a priority or there is little time for parents to have a direct role in homework. Be mindful of this when considering homework length and skill level. Students should be able to do the assigned work on their own.
Watch for signs of frustration
It’s science: Our brains don’t learn well under duress. Watch and listen for signs of homework turmoil. When nightly assignments are too long or too difficult, the end results are anger, stress and low confidence — and ultimately resignation. Promote productivity by challenging, not straining, your students.
Don’t use homework as a punishment
Handing out additional work in response to poor behavior is advocating that schoolwork is a chore. It’s hard to convince students that your assignment’s a worthwhile endeavor when that’s the message.
Do use homework as a chance to make content relatable
Instead of assigning a worksheet on fractions, ask students to help cook a meal and then explain their interaction with fractions while cutting or measuring ingredients. In lieu of arbitrary vocabulary practice, have students use their assigned vocab to give you feedback on how you presented that day’s lesson. In other words, make homework a medium for applying knowledge to real life.
Get creative with your resources
Students today have more helpful resources available to them then ever. Many schools offer homework hotlines, library study groups and peer tutoring. Endorse these opportunities by advertising them on your bulletin boards, newsletters and website. And speaking of your website, use it to provide a calendar of assignments and due dates as well as downloadable files, links to helpful websites and office hours. But don’t stop there. Connect with students and parents by sending updates and reminders through nvarchar(max) message services like Remind.com.
Once the bell rings, your class may be a faint echo in the face of soccer practice, video games or in-home chaos. But with the right approach, you can make the most of your homework and avoid a few pitfalls while you’re at it.
Need your own homework help? We share our favorite tips to help you balance taking classes with teaching classes here.
Heather Sparks is a writer, educator, and mom of two. An Arizona native, she holds a bachelor's degree in secondary education and a master's degree in gifted education from Arizona State University.