Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I'm not sure how tech-y this will be, but it's something I've been pondering (with thanks to Sam Shah, who ran a survey earlier this summer). With our new precalc and algebra 2 books this year, I'm thinking about changing up how I "do" homework.

Precalc old way
  • Give 20 - 30 problems a night, some odds, some evens
  • Walk around to check for completion the next day while projecting even answers to check
  • Go over questions as a class
Does it work? Yeah, maybe. But I know there's copying that goes on and the time that they're supposed to be checking their answers is usually "catch up with my neighbor" time.

Precalc new way (?)
  • Give 10 problems a night, all odds
  • Have 3 options for checking the next day: walk around & check for work/completion, collect and grade work on 3 - 5 problems, or no points assigned
  • Go over questions as a class
  • Give 4-question quiz (which would be graded and I could include some review problems, too, which I really like)... or I could pass this out as they walk in the door and they complete it then. Can't decide.
I think this would de-emphasize the importance of doing the homework just to get the points (or copying the homework!).

I don't know if this would work for my Algebra 2 classes. The Precalc is an honors-level class and the kids typically care more and want to learn. The Algebra 2 is college prep and you've got a wide range of dedication and abilities. I definitely like the idea of the 3-choice homework option (should I make a spinner? should I find one online and use it? there's one here and in my smart notebook too) but giving only odds could be somewhat iffy, especially when there's not much work involved.

Any thoughts?


  1. As I have been so negligent and restful that I haven't given a thorough study to the survey responses yet, I applaud you forging ahead. But I started working on the Alg 2 curriculum today so I soon will have a new system for homework/grading also.

    But I do like the idea of lessening the number of homework problems, and actually assessing whether some of the problems were done right.

    Once I hammer something out, I'll post it and see what you (and others) think.


  2. Thanks, Sam. I'll be looking forward to see what you come up with!


  3. Kristen-
    Purpose of homework is to practice and build specific skills/abilities, right?

    What about if a student already knows how to do a particular problem and has demonstrated it?

    I like your idea of doing less homework problems. The emphasis needs to be on gaining the skills, not completing the homework. It is the skill..not the homework we want to assess.

    What about making homework optional? Put up a number of problems and include instructions for how to complete representative problems. You could use onenote or journal on your tablet or you could do a screen recorder with your smartboard software.

    Then test/quiz the students to see what skills have been acquired.

    Mark from our Web 2.0 class

  4. I posted a comment on my blog page - you can check it out.