Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Stop Pulling Your Hair Out About Homework!

Do you want a homework model for your classroom that entices even your most reluctant students to complete their work?  I think I may have found it!  Whole Brain Teaching uses the Universal Homework Model to achieve just that.  So, let me break down this technique into a few easy steps to follow:
1. All homework should have 3 levels (Do not freak out, it isn't extra work!).  The first level is the minimum requirement, whereas the third level is going above and beyond.  For example, this is how I am going to use this model in my classroom.  Each day that we take notes I have my students complete a summary.  A five sentence summary will be worth one star.  A two star assignment would have completed the summary and went through the notes highlighting or underlining key words.  A three star assignment did all of the requirements of a two star, but also wrote in the margins their thoughts, questions, and other information THEY felt was important.
Click here to get my Homework Log Freebie!
2. I am having my students fill out a homework log this year. Each day they will fill in what their assignment is and when it is due.  Once completed, they will fill in how many stars their assignment is worth.  I, also, have a section for a parent signature.  Students cannot get three stars without a parent signature.  This will improve your parent communication!
3. When a homework assignment is due, go through and count how many stars each student completed (A great way to do this is to develop a couple student leaders that can check that students are being honest). Tally up the number of stars each day.  Set a goal of how many stars the students as a class need to achieve to get free time on Friday.  I am going to use a chart to show them how close they are to their goal each day. 
4. On Thursday, let them know how many stars they need to get by Friday. Here's a hint: tell them that it looks like the class will have to have many students complete 3 star homework in order to win their free time. Then, ask for volunteers who will step up and attempt 3 star homework.  You will have some students jumping out of their seats to get recognition.  Write their names on the board and have the class praise them for stepping up!
5. On Friday, if they have earned it, make sure to give them the amount of free time you have allocated (No longer than 5 minutes.). Then, once they have achieved their goal, boost the amount of stars they need to reach. This method encourages class unity and helps students feel accountable to others. 

I'm so excited to use this in my classroom this year.  Let me know if you adopt this into your classroom and how it works for you!  Have a great day!

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