Being Intentional With Homework

It’s been a great two days of PD in our district.  The first day for middle and high school was meeting in content areas.  The second day was run “edcamp” style, and it was definitely a refreshing change to be able to choose what we wanted to learn.  (Although I didn’t get to learn anything as I was presenting during both 2 hour sessions–but I’m hoping my colleagues will help me out by sharing what they learned! *hint hint*)

So…there really was just one thing that resonated with me out of the two days (besides the fact that teaching adults makes me VERY nervous–I was up at 3 a.m. yesterday with a ball of nerves in my stomach putting the finishing touches on my lesson):  homework.  Two other middle school math teachers (including @karayoung216) and I had a great discussion after the day was over on Thursday about homework and how each of us handles grading it.  We all agreed it’s difficult when you have 45-55 minute class periods, and that the ways we have each approached it in the past have taken more time than we intended.

What I took away from the conversation was that I need to be more intentional, not only with WHAT I assign as homework, but with what and how we check in class.  Homework should be INDEPENDENT.  My students can’t do most of the current work independently, so I may reach back in the standards and assign review work that spirals into what I’m currently doing.  As far as checking their work goes, I find homework to be a powerful formative assessment tool. Therefore discussing it in class is important.  I refuse to go back to the days of students turning in their work to me and me grading it before handing it back to them.  Talk about a nightmare!  However, to cut down on the amount of time it takes for us to review homework in class I will be more intentional with choosing the problems we check.  There’s no need to check EVERY.  SINGLE.  PROBLEM.  But I can choose the problems that I feel will reveal the most about their learning.

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