The Homework Monster

As the semester comes to a close and my, what the students are calling ‘naughty list’ (my list of students with missing work) grows, I’ve been thinking a lot about the work being assigned to our students.  For the most part I don’t chase kids for day-to-day homework assignments; in fact, almost all of what I am after is higher-stakes work such as projects, labs, or missing quizzes.  However, as I scan through the Power School/Grade Book I have begun to notice an overwhelming amount of missing ‘homework’ assignments…which has made me wonder, “Why are kids not completing their homework?”  I think the answer lies in two areas:  First of all, it seems that kids don’t understand the intended function of homework as practice.  Rick Wormeli, a name we’re familiar with at this point, goes so far in his classroom as to call homework “practice” and refers to it as such instead of using the word “homework.”  However, this isn’t just about what you call it; rather it is also about how you use it, is it valuable or is it busy work?  The second reason is, I believe, that our students begin to think that their teachers don’t value the work and therefore why should they?!?!  Check out this blog post…it is from a charter school I used to work for and is written by a friend and former colleague of mine, I think it speaks to this second point very well.  Finally, I’d like to hear your thoughts on these two ideas, especially as we start the second semester…I’m working to develop a plan for a number of our less organized students and your two cents will go a long way!