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Missing homework solutions?

Missing homework solutions?

Related Tags: 6-8 Middle School
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For pretty much the entirety of my career, I have been of the opinion that it was important to hold students accountable for missing homework. By that, I mean if they missed an assignment, it was their responsibility to make it up and hand it in. Once I began teaching 8th grade, this mindset was enforced by the idea that we had to prepare them for the responsibilities of high school. We had to keep from holding their hands and doing the work for them. This summer our administration and several staff members attended a Professional Learning Community conference. They returned invigorated. One of the results of their collaborations was that we were no longer going to 'let' our students not do their missing work. We were going to create a lunchtime study hall where they would make up any missing work from the week before until it was finished. I was skeptical, but I have to admit, it works. Leaving it up to the students never really worked, especially for the ones with an unenthusiastic work ethic. Why didn't it? Because there weren't enough tangible, immediate, and measurable consequences for not completing their work. Students in the middle school need that. Telling them that it will affect their grade or their comprehension of the concept doesn't make enough of an impression. Now I see students taking the initiative to get their late work in to me by Friday so that they don't appear on Monday's list of missing work. More than that, I have seen an improvement in their learning. Students are not falling behind to the degree they once were. Some students who frequently didn't do their homework have even begun to get it in on time, over and over again. I was wrong. By giving them some structure and consequences that matter to them, they are improving. More importantly, I believe my students are developing better habits and becoming more responsible. I am very grateful that my administration and my team were willing to do the work necessary to put this plan into action. I am also glad that I have once again been taught the lesson that a fixed mindset is not always the best one. What are your experiences/thoughts?

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Danielle OHaren's picture
Danielle OHaren
7th Grade Math Teacher, Pennsylvania

Nicole,

It was great to read your post,as I am also a math teacher who finds it difficult for students to turn their homework in after it is late. Because I give homework nearly every night, it's also difficult for me to keep up with students who don't complete the homework, whether from absences or simply lack of effort. Our grade level team has a missing work day during our "study hall/activity" period about once a week, but this is definitely not as intensive or effective as the system you described in your school.

The interesting thing with students this age is, like you said, they are more interested in the social aspects of school than the academic. By taking away their time to be social, they are getting the picture, and therefore learning to be more responsible. This is definitely a system that I will keep in mind and try to bring up in discussion with my colleagues and administrators! Thanks for sharing.

theal8r's picture

Does your school allow the students to eat while they are doing the missing work or do they eat first?

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