So I have been working through and implementing an idea I had to do away with nightly homework but to increase student practice. It comes from a change in my philosophy that homework truly is practice of material not a true assessment of knowledge. (Maybe there is a longer blog post about this idea coming someday)… Back to my point. I did away with homework three weeks ago in my Geometry class. Read about it here
Well here is the update:
It is going awesome! I remember after the third section feeling like students were practicing, instant feedback was happening, and they were actually asking great questions. There have been some draw backs. 1. I grade more than I did and have to do it quickly so they get the feedback. 2. I still have a group that isn’t doing anything (I don’t think it is me). And 3. I am spending more time creating stuff. But at what cost… Students are learning!
Here is what has transpired: I teach a lesson and then pass out a half sheet with examples for students to try. I walk around helping, checking and giving feedback. On the back of the practice problems is a list of odd problems from the book linked to each of the practice problems (if they missed one or struggled). If needed I clarify any huge mistakes happening before they leave for the day. The next class, students walk in to two problems on the board (bell ringer style). They have 4 minutes to try to solve and ask questions. I then pass out what we are calling the “Prove it” sheet. It contains 3-4 problems that I normally would have graded in the previous homework days. But, now I have gone from 50% homework participation to 90% of my students working on the 5-6 practice problems, asking questions and attempting the 2 bell ringers and then completing the 3-4 prove it problems. I think that is where I see the success. Before they would not really attempt problems until the quiz! I even have a group of students that have asked for extra worksheets instead of always using their textbook.
Success has been felt in the questions that I have been answering and seen in the actual grades. Homework, quiz and even the test grades are higher. That is compared to last chapter and compared to the same chapter from last year.
I do throw in some investigations and activities here and there to mix things up. Some lessons go into two days so as a class we take a vote on when they would like to try and prove their knowledge level.
I grade on a “SBG” style rubric so each problem is worth five points and I just take the average as their grade.
It is going so well with my Geometry kids that I have started it with my honors Algebra 2 class. They are resisting it but I think it is because they really do need the extra practice more than they will admit or attempt!