Thursday, October 05, 2006

Getting Kids to do Their Homework

To get students to do their homework, this is never an easy task. I struggled for a semester with class averages in the basement in Pre-Algebra. Everyone told me with Pre-Algebra not to expect a miracle. They said that normally class averages would be in the high 60s, and I would have to accept that and move on. At Christmas last year, I decided to change that. At that time, I had two classes of Pre-Algebra. Both of their averages were in the mid 60s. Everyone kept telling me how good that was for those classes. The problem was that they were not doing their homework. Homework counts about 50% to 60% of my average. So, if you don't do your homework, you will fail. I decided to turn it into a class competition. I wrote both of the class averages at the top of the board. Each day, I updated them. I told them that whoever had the highest average at the end of the nine weeks, I would give them a pizza party. They didn't exactly understand the concept of how to get their averages to go up. So, I told them that I would make a deal with them. I told them that if everyone would do their homework and bring it to class, I would promise them that their class average would go up. If it didn't I would eat my notebook. So, the next day, everyone had their homework. The class average shot up by 2 points. The kids got so excited! Both class averages began to rise. The kids were doing their homework. By May, both class averages were in the mid 70s. This was a huge accomplishment. This year, I started out with the same procedure. As I look at my front board, my Pre-Algebra averages are 78, 77, 76, and 80. So, it is clear that this will work. Turn your homework into a class competition, and they will improve. If you only have one class of a particular subject, then set the bar high. For example, tell them that if they get an 80 class average, then you will give them a reward.


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