So I’ve hashed out my thoughts about homework (here and here), now on to the plan….I give homework 5 days a week. This is non-negotiable, both from my personal views and our school’s policy. In order to stay focused on my homework goal of having students actively think and reflect about math I’ve crafted five assignment categories that we will rotate through weekly. The rotation will have an added benefit of creating a routine that my students will get used to and that they will then make me stick to. This is vital for me because it’s really tough to stick with something new for a full year even if I do feel strongly about it.
The general layout: On Monday, I will give three assignments. I expect one assignment to be completed a night for these three days, but they can choose the order. These assignments will provide guided opportunities to reflect on their learning, make sense of their notes, introduce new content, and explore ideas that interest them. My hope is that the flexibility and choices will increase student engagement and promote personal control for their learning. For the Thursday and Friday assignments they will practice skills that they are ready to tackle independently.
Assignment A: Watch an assigned video about this week’s topic. There will be a written component to this assignment depending on the video. I’m not sure what exactly, but it will have an open-ended question and something factual (e.g., writing the examples).
Assignment B: ISN Reflection 1 – Students will choose from a list of thinking routines to make sense of the notes/examples that week. (I plan on creating an ISN page with a list of routines and strategies from which they can choose. Coming soon…)
Assignment C: ISN Reflection 2 – Students will choose from a different list of thinking or writing routines to make sense of the notes that week.
Throwback Thursday: On this assignment they will practice skills learned earlier in the year. My intention is to build their retention of the previous skills. I plan to include the relevant ISN page number to encourage them to use this resource if they get stuck. I want to include a self-assessment element to accompany each skill that will help us both see how they are feeling about that skill. In the first term I cover skills necessary for the state test in May, so I hope to build their confidence in these areas through repetition and increase the rigor as the year goes on. I will methodically choose these problems to ensure that I am rotating back through all the skills. I will collect and grade these assignments, record their progress and re-teach as necessary.
Fundamental Friday: This will be a set of problems from this week of work. I will deliberately choose problems that I have witnessed students complete accurately in class, but with which they need more practice. I will give a small weekly quiz on Wednesday, which will help me determine appropriate practice problems. My hope is that they will feel comfortable solving these independently at home and that I can move away from some of the major homework issues from before (read more here). My goal is to have the correct answers listed either on that handout or online, so they can monitor their progress and not repeat errors.
ISN Logistics – Assignments A,B,C and Fundamental Friday will all end up in their ISN. A,B & C will be on a tri-fold paper (see draft below). They will turn this in as they walk into the classroom and I will read/stamp/return during the Do Now activity. I will collect these on Thursday to record their scores and give feedback. On Friday, they will glue these into the next page open page of their notebook. They will complete their Fundamental Friday practice problems on the facing page and on the next page if needed. These pages will not be labeled with a page number, but rather as “HW”. This will keep all of our page numbers the same and allow flexibility for students that need more space. Throwback Thursday will be the only homework assignment that will not go into their notebook. They will have a folder that stays in the classroom that will house their assessments and Throwback Thursday assignments. I will allot time every Monday to answer questions for Thursday and Friday’s assignments.
All of this is a work in progress – I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!