• Homework

    Alternative approaches to homework:

    • Use a flipped classroom model.
    • Use game-based learning platforms to make homework more interactive and fun. 
    • Assign group projects or collaborative tasks. 
    • Use Project-Based Learning (PBL).
    • Utilize personalized learning pathways to help students master topics. 
    • Implement cross-curricular math connections. 
    • Provide opportunities for peer review and feedback. 

    Strategies to maximize homework benefits:

    • Limit the length but ensure quality.
    • Encourage self-assessment.
    • Utilize online resources and tools. 
    • Review and provide feedback.
    • Involve families.
    • Let students know ahead of time.
    • Clarify the purpose of homework. 
    • Score homework with purpose.

    Read more on how to implement these tips: 

    Use a flipped classroom model. Assign instructional videos or readings for homework, ensuring equitable access for all students. Consider providing alternative formats for those without reliable internet or devices. This approach allows class time to focus on hands-on practice and deeper exploration of concepts, enhancing student engagement and understanding while accommodating diverse learning needs and circumstances. 

    Use game-based learning platforms to make homework more interactive and fun. Websites and apps that turn math practice into games can motivate students to complete their assignments. 

    Assign group projects or collaborative tasks that foster teamwork and accommodate diverse student needs. Ensure equitable access by considering students' availability, skills, and resources for collaborative work outside of school. This approach not only promotes learning from peers but also supports inclusive learning environments where all students can participate meaningfully. 

    Student CollaborationUse Project-Based Learning (PBL). Integrate long-term projects that require students to apply mathematical concepts to real-world problems. PBL can make homework more meaningful and help students develop critical thinking skills. 

    Utilize personalized learning pathways to help students master topics by incorporating adaptive learning software that adjusts the difficulty of problems based on student performance. Before implementing this, check which platforms your district subscribes to or explore resources available through your textbooks. Set aside specific times each week or a few times a month for personalized learning, ensuring students can work at their own level without overwhelming the teacher with tracking individual progress daily. This approach balances personalized learning with manageable classroom expectations and responsibilities. 

    Implement cross-curricular math connections. Design homework that incorporates skills from other subjects, such as writing explanations for math problems or using math in science experiments. Team up with teachers from other subject areas to create interdisciplinary projects. For example, collaborate with your science counterpart to compare notes for concept overlap and ensure consistent language is used to aid student learning. Students can read or do an activity in science, then analyze the data (graphs, statistics, percent change, etc.) in math, highlighting the interconnectedness of knowledge.

    Provide opportunities for peer review and feedback. Implement peer assessment practices where students exchange sample questions and answers to learn from each other. Encourage a friendly pair-share approach rather than formal grading to avoid policy issues related to sharing student work. This practice promotes a deeper understanding of the material and enhances communication skills without the pressures of evaluation. 

    Limit the length but ensure quality. Assign manageable amounts of homework with a focus on quality over quantity to prevent burnout. Set a time limit for assignments and encourage students to skip sections they feel confident in after checking their first answer. This approach helps students complete assignments thoughtfully and efficiently. 

    Encourage self-assessment. Include opportunities for students to reflect on their understanding and identify areas where they need more help. Use self-assessment checklists or reflective questions to guide this process. Additionally, have students set personal goals based on their reflections, fostering a sense of ownership and motivation in their learning journey. 

    Utilize online resources and tools. Incorporate digital platforms for homework assignments that offer instant feedback. Tools like Illuminations Interactives can provide interactive and engaging math practice. 

    Review and provide feedback. Shift from reviewing homework alone to a collaborative approach. Have students review their work in class, either individually or in teams, and bring their questions for discussion. This method allows for timely feedback and ensures class time is used effectively. By involving students in the review process, they gain deeper insights into their strengths and areas for improvement, fostering a more engaging and interactive learning environment. 

    Involve families. Communicate with parents about the importance and goals of homework. Clarify whether the homework is meant to reinforce daily lessons, practice ongoing math skills, or teach responsibility. Provide parents with strategies to support their child's math learning at home and offer family-friendly activities to make math a shared and enjoyable experience.

    Let students know ahead of time when homework will be assigned. Some teachers always assign homework on specific nights—every Tuesday and Thursday, for example. This lets students and parents know when to expect homework. 

    Clarify the purpose of homework. Clearly articulate the goal of each homework assignment and why it is necessary. With some schools moving towards no homework policies due to equity issues and others requiring graded components, it's crucial to ensure every assignment has a clear, purposeful objective that cannot be met during class time. Explain the rationale behind the homework to students and parents, emphasizing how it reinforces classroom learning, practices essential skills, or develops responsibility. This clarity fosters understanding and support for homework policies. 

    Score homework with purpose. Focus on meaningful feedback rather than just correctness. Use a rubric that assesses students' understanding, effort, and problem-solving processes. Provide constructive feedback that highlights strengths and areas for improvement, fostering a growth mindset. Consider incorporating self-assessment and peer review to engage students in the evaluation process. Clearly communicate the criteria for scoring and ensure that homework supports learning goals rather than just contributing to a grade.