It's been a five days since I posted. I have so much to share with you. This was my first week with kids. Thankfully we have a three day weekend. I just woke up from a two hour nap. Does that tell you how it went? I am tired, very tired. On top of school and sports for one of my sons, my husband got sick. My husband doesn't get sick often, but when he does, he does it BIG! He has pneumonia! Let me just say, spouses of teachers are NOT allowed to get sick the first week of school. Heck, the first six weeks of school would be nice actually.
I am tired, just tired. I am pleasantly surprised with how well my week with the students went. I teach six classes, five are identical, one is a math lab which is a lot of work for just one class. But, it is what it is. I don't teach advisory this year, I have leadership team meetings during that time as department head. I also have two mentees and facilitate for my grade level team. Of the six classes, one is going to be really tough. It's a large class and its after lunch. They are hyper. I am working through this. But, I think I am going to like my schedule this year. Things are looking good and this is a 180 turn from last year.
I also gave my first homework assignment and I only had a handful of students (out of 100+) who didn't complete it. Granted, it was a "fun" Math about Me, which I will be posting about very soon. They turned out GREAT!!!!
I know homework is a "hot topic" out in the blog world. So, I added it to our first department meeting agenda and asked them what they did. We don't have a school wide policy. I told my teachers they need a grade level policy. We strive for consistency and I know we get better support from our admin when we are united.
I can't say anyone had a firm answer, but we all agreed in Math, we HAVE to give homework.
One teacher said he checks hw and if a kid doesn't have it, they call their parents that instant (thank goodness for phones in our room) and that normally fixes it. One teacher said she grades every assignment and enters it in grade book. That teacher must not have a life.
Last year, I sucked at homework. If we had it and they turned it in, I never graded it and it ended up in the trash can. I feel guilty about that. I am NOT going to let that happen this year.
I spoke with my department about hw being meaningful for our students. It needs to be a helpful tool and if I see fit to assign it, I better see fit to grade it. They deserve that.
So this year, I have incorporated it into my morning routine. When we have hw, which I think will be about three times a week, it will be due the next day. We will grade it as a class and go over it right after our morning work they complete as they enter the classroom.
I am going to model it after what I saw from Leslie from Jack of All Trades
What I like about this is the student is made responsible when they don't do their hw.
The other thing I have is positive performance coupons in my room. They are just coupons I give students when I "catch them being good". Each period has a bucket and I draw a few names every week and they get to choose from my free prize collection. Click here to read about those, freebies included. If they return their hw, they get an extra coupon in the bucket.
The binder will start this week. I am also curious as to what everyone else is doing, so I reserve the right to change my mind and do something I read about today!