Do you hate checking math homework?
In the words of Jack Prelutsky-
Homework! Oh, Homework! I hate you! You stink!
I wish I could wash you away in the sink,
if only a bomb would explode you to bits.
Homework! Oh, homework! You’re giving me fits.
I’d rather take baths with a man-eating shark,
or wrestle a lion alone in the dark,
eat spinach and liver, pet ten porcupines,
than tackle the homework, my teacher assigns.
Homework! Oh, homework! You’re last on my list,
I simply can’t see why you even exist,
if you just disappeared it would tickle me pink.
Homework! Oh, homework! I hate you! You stink!
Checking and reviewing math homework used to be the bane of my existence. OK, so maybe it wasn’t that bad. However, it was definitely a headache. I didn’t want to assign practice without giving my kids feedback, but I also didn’t have time in class to review every single homework question.
Have you found yourself in a similar situation? Read on to learn more about a homework routine that works!
My Classroom Homework Routine
On Monday, each student gets a hole-punched copy of the math homework for the week. I ask that they keep the homework in their notebooks/binders. They are expected to show their work on the actual homework paper or a separate sheet if there’s not room.
As a bell ringer, I like to display the answer key on my interactive whiteboard and have students self-correct. Whenever I am working on administrative tasks (attendance, messages, etc.), I have a student-helper check homework completion for me so that I can hold students accountable for actually doing the work and not just copying answers. This helper walks around the classroom and awards points on Class Dojo for homework. Since implementing this routine, it just so happens that I’ve had very few students who miss out on earning points for homework. In addition, I have very few off-task students when using this classroom management hack.
we discuss the problems students want to review in whole-group, especially those that may have been challenging. I have a timer running during this whole process to make sure we stay on schedule. Sometimes we are good and don’t have a lot of questions, and sometimes the timer beeps before we are done. I encourage the kids to bring their questions with them to math flex groups if we didn’t talk about it during whole-group time.
Math Homework Accountability
On Friday morning, after discussing the previous night’s homework, students are set to take the weekly quiz. It has been paper/pencil in the past, but I’ve been transitioning over to Google Forms. (I have used Google Forms for other assessments over the past couple of years, and have absolutely loved it!)
I do not take a grade on the weekly homework… It’s checked for completion. The real accountability piece that I grade is the quiz. It is directly aligned to the skills practiced on the homework. The quiz grade goes in the grade book.
It took a couple of years to get this routine in place, and the the one thing that helped the most was having a consistent format for my homework. I had tried using the workbook from my math series, but it lacked rigor. I had to find something that would provide additional reinforcement of challenging math concepts at an appropriate level of rigor.
Alignment of Math Homework
This is definitely a labor of love! Much like you, I wanted my 4th graders prepared for their End of Year Assessment. Many states have some form of assessment aligned with the Common Core State Standards. In our case, it’s the Georgia Milestones (GMAS).
I found that the rigor of my homework assignments derived from my school system’s adopted Envision Math curriculum didn’t quite match up with the rigor of this high-stakes assessment my students are mandated to take. What could I do? I searched and searched and never found the perfect resource to meet my specific needs… So I set to work making one!
I poured hours and hours and hours of researching higher-order questioning for my math standards. I looked over the assessment guidance documents from my state. After planning for the content I was teaching in my classroom for the current week, I spent my evenings working several weeks ahead in pacing to write the homework curriculum my class would use. It was one of the most mentally challenging tasks I’ve ever done. Thinking about one math skill or concept for today and tomorrow, and writing rigorous questions for standards we would address weeks from now. My brain physically hurt from the task! 🧠😵
Math Homework Set Up
Each week includes 4 nights of homework, Monday – Thursday. The homework can be printed front/back, so you only need 1 sheet of paper per student! (SAVE on COPIES!) Parents will love the consistency of the assignments. Dealing with work and family commitments often leaves little time for homework help. That’s why I wanted my homework to be concise, but meaningful.
I KNOW how important spiraling is, especially with math, where it’s easy to “forget” content that we once knew. Spiral Reviews are included throughout the homework Sequence.
An assessment is included for Friday that assesses the skills and problem types addressed in that week’s homework. This assessment will also help you determine content mastery and will motivate students to complete nightly homework. The assessment is also only 1 page (front only). A digital Google Forms version of the assessment is also included.
Special Info about Google Forms Quizzes -
The digital versions of the weekly assessments is very similar to the paper-pencil versions of the weekly assessments. I love using Google Forms and Flubaroo to help me with grading. It’s a win-win-win when the teacher, students, and parents all have immediate feedback on assessments! However, in order for auto-grading to do its job, there can’t be any extended constructed responses. What I’ve done is rewritten these item types into either multiple-choice or short answer on the Google Forms version.
*Edited to add- You can now simply change the form into a quiz in the settings of the form. When you do this, make sure to enter the answer key and point values for each question.
What you’ll actually get is a link to a page that allows you to make a copy of my original Google Form. Each week will have a different link, so you’ll make a copy of each weekly form. This prevents any data sharing on our either of our parts. You won’t have access to my student’s responses. Likewise, I won’t have access to yours. It’s a clean copy of the quiz for anyone who purchases the pack.