Saturday, October 12, 2013

Sparking Student Motivation: Homework and a TpT Sale!

I'm linking up with Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching for Sparking Student Motivation!

Ugh.  Homework.  I had no idea how terrible homework could be until my oldest started Kindergarten this year.  I had this adorable image in my head that he would sit at the dining room table doing his homework while I got dinner ready.

Yeah, right.

So now I can better sympathize with the parents of my students when they complain about their kids being difficult when it comes to homework!  Here is what I do in my classroom to try to keep the kids motivated to complete their homework:

I saw this idea on Fourth Grade Frolic's Instagram and then read her blog to find out the idea originally belongs to Lessons with Laughter.  You can check out Fourth Grade Frolic's Homework Club Freebie HERE.

I check homework daily.  I know some teachers have had success spot checking homework, but when I've tried that, I've found the quality of the work has really decreased.  On average, I assign four or five pieces of work each night and I estimate that it would take a focused student no more than 45 minutes to complete their assignments, including the twenty minutes of reading I assign in the beginning of the year.

You can spy the homework club in the background of this image.  This was only the second week of school, so we were just getting into the swing of the things. There were many more club members this week!

Students who complete all of their work in the week (even if the work is late) are in the homework club. On Mondays, I leave the names on their desks so they can put their names in the club themselves.  If they miss an assignment, I have the students remove their own names.  I feel there is a level of accountability in removing your name yourself and that physical act may be a good reminder to the student to be responsible.

Sorry for the instagram picture!  

Being in the homework club earns the student a very small reward (two pieces of candy and an eraser or pencil). Tangible rewards are very rare in my room and it's working for me.  The kids get loads and loads of genuine praise, but not so many trinkets.

So what about the students who do not complete their work?  They fill in a missing homework sheet that I found on Pinterest.  I keep these sheets filed away in a little binder the students can access.  When the student completes the missing assignment, then I add in the date it was returned.  If the homework isn't returned by Friday, then the student completes the missing assignment during art.  I had three students this week who needed to spend about ten minutes working on a missing assignment and then a few minutes talking to me about responsibility before they could work on their art work.

You can download the form there.

Also, did you know TpT is having a site wide sale???  To celebrate reaching 100,000 Facebook fans, they are having a 10% off sale.  I'm joining in and putting my entire store on sale!

I'd love to hear how you manage homework in your classroom.  Do you check daily?  Do you offer free homework passes?  I'm kind of interested in introducing those as a super special reward, but I don't want my kiddos to skip their reading logs or their math homework!


  1. I love how you deal with homework! This year I'm struggling with it! Not sure what it is about this group of kids, but they don't want to do their homework! I may have to use this to motivate them!
    A Tall Drink of Water

  2. I hear you with your parent hat! (which is why I've never assigned a reading log-it ends up being the parent's job to fill out and make sure they sign each night). I love that they put their name up and take it down-definitely gives them ownership! Great idea and very motivating!
    Thanks for sharing and linking up!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  3. Since my school switched to "reading first" homework, I think the kids are really enjoying being able to read for pleasure without having the pressure of all of the other homework to worry about. I carved in more time in my math block for my students to do their math in class where I could give them help and immediate feedback. There was not a decline in student achievement by taking away all the homework, minus the reading. I hope we keep this policy. If not, I will be referring back to your post for ideas regarding taming homework and starting a homework club because I always end up with about 5 that no way, no how get it completed. Thanks for sharing!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'