Tag Archives: accountability

No Excuses!

How do you manage missing or incomplete homework?

I have a simple system for my Resource Room that puts the accountability on the students.

When students come in and don’t have their work, they immediately fill out a “No Excuses” slip. HW No Excuses

I put these simple papers in a small box next to the homework tray. I then hang onto these slips until they turn their homework in.

For documentation, I write a comment in Progress Book. I quote their exact words. “I couldn’t do it because I had to clean my room.” “I had a concert.” “I forgot.” This communicates the issue to the parents and serves as a record I can pull up any time to show a student.

Very rarely do I need to say, “Go fill out a slip.” They just know.

I also don’t usually have to go looking for the homework the next day. The accountability is there.

Just a brief side note on how I grade homework.  There is always a lot of debate about how to grade homework.  Our building has yet to come to a consensus on the issue.

Each nine weeks, I keep track of all the homework assignments; a simple check mark or missing circle system on a printed roster works for me.

At the end of the 9 weeks, I figure out how many assignments were assigned and completed I give a grade out of 10 points based on their percentage. (For example, 11 out of 12 assignments completed would be a 9.2)

I label this grade as a “Speaking and Listening” grade.  Look at some of these “I Can” statements for SL.7.1 of the CC:

I can effectively participate in one-on-one, group, and teacher-led discussions. [SL.7.1]

I can discuss my own ideas clearly in a discussion. [SL.7.1]

I can build on the ideas of others in a discussion. [SL.7.1]

I can refer to evidence discussion. [SL.7.1]

I can prepare for discussions by reading and researching class materials beforehand.[SL.7.1]

I can follow established guidelines for class discussions. [SL.7.1]

I can participate in conversations by posing and responding to questions and making relevant comments that keep the discussion on topic. [SL.7.1]

I can acknowledge new ideas introduced in a discussion or collaborative activity. [SL.7.1]

I can modify my views if presented with a new perspective. [SL.7.1]

I feel like this 10 point grade at the end of the nine weeks is justified in terms of grading completed homework. Students must be prepared for class discussion, and that means homework should be completed.


What procedures do your students follow for turning in homework (late or not?)

What is your philosophy about grading homework?

Does my grading philosophy make sense? 

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Breaking and Making Habits

You’ve probably heard it takes 21 (28 or 66) days to make something a habit. The numbers seem to vary depending on what you read. Regardless, habits don’t form over night and it’s not very easy to break a habit in one day either.

54 days ago I decided I needed/wanted to adjust some of my habits. Some of the habits involved this blog, Facebook, exercising, losing my patience with the kids, staying up too late, and “being present.” I have a total of 11 habits I’m working on. Some are going better than others. The rest…I will just keep working on.

Just like a New Year’s Resolution, it’s easy to say you are going to do something, but we all know how that goes. I needed something that would hold me accountable. So, I found an app, Wonderful Day, that has helped me not only establish some good  habits, but break some bad ones.

The app is free and easy to use; you enter in the things you want to improve on and each day you receive a notification to remind you to report your progress. You simply mark it with a green check or a red X and then a chain of red and green dots is formed. The green represent the “hits” and red are “misses.” It’s a good way to be accountable and it is satisfying to see a chain of green dots. In recent weeks I have often found myself doing (or not doing) certain things just so I can get that green dot.

It doesn’t take long to feel the pressure to have more hits than misses. You can customize each habit so that it fits your schedule. For example, one thing I try to do every Tuesday, in an effort to eliminate clutter, is pitch some junk from my house. I have hits for 5 of the last 7 trash nights.

As this post sat in my draft folder for a while, I decided it would be neat to use this idea with the kids at school. I decided to create something with a similar look for them to keep in their journal. One of the biggest bad habits my students have is not using capital letters and punctuation, so we’ll probably start there. (PDF)


“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” – Jim Rohn

“First we make our habits, then our habits make us.” – Charles C. Noble

“Good habits, once established are just as hard to break as are bad habits” – Robert Puller

“Quality is not an act, it is a habit.” – Aristotle

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