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Monday, November 13, 2017

Grading Smarter Not Harder Series: Homework

Have you been searching for a way to motivate even the most resistant students to complete their work?  How about ways to lessen your grading load and make the process quicker?  If so, this is the series of blog posts for you!

This is the second post of the series based on the book Grading Smarter Not Harder by Myron Dueck. 

If you missed the first post, which highlights the main ideas and possible solutions in the book, please read it by clicking here.

Grading Smarter Not Harder Series: Motivating students to complete homework and lessening the grading load for the teacher

There are so many great suggestions in this book.  In this second post, I wanted to focus on motivating students to complete homework and how to lessen the grading workload for teachers.

First, I'd like to share my own hard-learned lessons about students' homework completion:  

Don’t take it personally if students don’t complete their homework on time.
It often comes down to home life, ability, and yes, motivation. If home life and ability prevent homework completion, then we must provide the motivation at school. 

Don’t assume a zero is “teaching the student a lesson”.
The goal is to get the student to complete it and be enriched by the experience. A zero in the grade book isn’t achieving either of those things. 

Most students want to make their teachers happy, even if they don’t complete their homework. So giving punishments or shaming them for not completing it only stresses both parties out. 

Now, here are the great ideas for homework motivation from Grading Smarter Not Harder:

1.  Offer homework-completion time before or after school. 

2.  Cross-Age Mentoring:  
This support is done within the school. It pairs older students with younger/struggling ones to help with assignment completion. 

3.  Grade level teacher group support:  
This can be a "lunch bunch" during which the teacher(s) manage a homework-completion group one day a week. Make a simple rotation schedule so students know which subject is available on which day of the week. I.e., math with Ms. Myers on Monday. 

4.  In-school suspension to get help from teachers. 
This can include an established homework-completion room during lunch. 

5.  Free tutoring from students needing community hours.  
In my area, the Key Club high school students tutor at the library each week. 

Be sure to come back next week to read my post on closing the achievement gap with retesting!

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