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Fall Semester Reflection #2: Homework

favicon I do a lot of complaining about my students. They’re not working hard enough. They don’t have study skills. They’re not proofreading closely. They’re not doing enough homework.

In other words, it’s their fault, not mine.

Whenever I start blaming my students, it’s time to do some reflection and figure out next steps — about what I need to do.

Fall Semester Reflection Topic #2: Homework

My experience with homework this semester has been as follows:

  1. My students have trouble breaking up large assignments into parts,
  2. My students begin assignments the day before they’re due,
  3. My students take a long time to do assignments, especially close reading.
  4. I might be assigning too much homework.
  5. I’m successful with writing homework but not with reading homework.

Although my perception is that my students aren’t doing enough homework, I haven’t investigated their homework habits. That’s what I’m going to do tomorrow when I give out the first semester course evaluation. On this assessment, I’m going to ask my students how much time each major piece of homework takes them to complete.

I think expecting six hours of homework per week is fair in an AP class.

From the data I collect, I’m hoping to create a more streamlined daily homework schedule for my students to follow. My recommended homework schedule will include all major parts of the class — reading, writing, and test prep — along with a suggested amount of time for each activity.

Some may argue: How is this going to prepare them for college next year, when nobody will tell them how to complete their assignments?

I get that argument, and I know that what might be best is coaching students — whether individually or as a class — to develop their own homework schedules.

But we don’t have time to teach time management skills and then to figure out whether they work (except for maybe on their Theme Study). I want my time to be focused on teaching close reading and helping to improve their writing.

With this daily homework schedule, my hope is to send the following message to my students: that the key to success over time is through consistent practice and work habits (rather than through spurts of effort followed by days of rest).

One question, however, remains: What’s the best way to make sure my students stay on track? favicon

Please share your brilliant insights!