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Your homework is due tonight…via text.

favicon I’ve started a (very small) movement. It’s called, “Your Homework Is Due Tonight.”

Homework is no longer due at the beginning of the next class. After all, if students don’t complete their homework, then it’s too late for me to make changes to my lesson. We’re not all on the same page. Mini-chaos ensues.

This year, homework has been due at 11 p.m. on the night I assign it.

The results have been excellent:

1. The turn-in rate has been high — as high as, or higher than, the turn-in rate before I introduced the new policy.

2. If a student doesn’t turn in her homework, there’s still plenty of time for me to intervene and for the student to catch up.

I’m happy to announce a new idea that I’m trying this unit with Kate Chopin’s The Awakening: the nightly text.

Each night, students have reading homework. In addition to reading and annotating the text, students will respond to a question I send to them via text, which they’ll get in the afternoon. They’ll have until 11 p.m. to text me back.

Some teachers may ask, Why go through all that trouble? Why don’t you just have them write their answers down on paper? Why not give them the question in class?

My response is this: In order to motivate students to do homework consistently, there has to be something dynamic about it. There’s nothing engaging about reading a teacher-assigned book at home alone. But the reading has to be done.

Therefore, time outside of school — when students often tune out and forget their academic selves — needs to be interrupted. As the teacher, I have to enter that space. And using technology is the best way to do that.

I’ll let you know how this experiment works. If it goes well, I might switch the nightly text assignment over to a Google form, so that it’s easier to collect my students’ responses. That way, we can look at them in class on iseroma.com, our class blog, to spark a discussion.

What do you think? Please let me know your ideas. favicon


  1. Trisha

    This is a fascinating idea. I like it on many levels, especially since some of our students leave their academic selves at the school door.

  2. Justin Ballou

    This is a great idea, and have been using something similar in my classes in order to gauge understanding of concepts. The idea of using texts for students breaks the mold, and sparks that motivation we are all looking for in the classroom environment!

    • Mark Isero

      Thank you, Justin. The biggest success is that it promotes homework completion at home, well before the next class period. There are opportunities for me to intervene and for the student to get caught up. I’d love to hear what you’re doing, too.

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