Tag Archives: homework

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!

The Potential of Your “DUMB Board”

Now that you have a SMARTBoard what do you do with the “dumb board” that remains?

Most of us in our building have had our SMARTBoards placed directly on top of the previously installed white board.

I love my white board still and I buy several packs of low-odor markers throughout the year. In order to make it a functional space I took an idea from my boyfriend who is also a middle school teacher. (As a side note, he and I talked a lot on our 11 hour drive to the beach and he’s going to let me post some of his great ideas as well!)

All you need is multicolored electrical tape, scissors, and a level – unless you don’t care about it being absolutely perfect. (Please note: 8th grade boys will tell you if it’s not.)


As you can see in the picture, my board is sectioned off into various sections:

  • The grading scale
  • The daily bell schedule
  • A list of journal topics for their Social Studies folder
  • Homework section for each of the teachers on our team
  • (And you can see I had an “End of the Year Countdown”)

This tape has been up since August 2009 and has held up well. I did have some yellow tape which I replaced, as it got a little messy when you got marker on it.

I like this because it is organized, neat, visually pleasing and helps students focus on the information. They know exactly where to look for their homework assignments.

I did keep the other side of my dry erase board clear in case the SMARTBoard is having a bad day or so my daughter can doodle before and after school while I work in my classroom. I wish I had some pics of her creations, but sadly, I do not. So here is one of her pics she doodled on the iPad instead.


Symmetry artwork on the iPad by then 11-year-old, TweedleDee

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