Monday, October 10, 2011

New Homework Plan

Over the past few weeks, I have really been trying to help you (my kids) succeed in school.  I am realizing that many of you have a very hard time completing your homework.  It seems that you just don’t have routines.  I had a routine in high school and want to help inspire you to create routines of your own.  

When I was in high school, I was very busy with sports, ASB, and a social life.  However, I was pretty successful at completing my work.  I used a little paper planner that the school issued to all of the students.  In my planner, I recorded all upcoming events, such as basketball games.  I also used it throughout the day to write down all of my homework assignments.  I carried it in my backpack.  In each class, I would put it on my desk, write down the nightly homework assignment, and make notes about things such as when tests were coming up.  It looked like this:

Monday, October 10, 1997
·         Per 1 – Read Ch. 6-7 of Moby Dick
·         Per 2 – Type Lab Notes
·         Per 4 – Ch. 6 (1-31 odd)
·         Per 5 – Study Verbs for Test
·         Basketball Game at Lutheran (leave 12:35)

As I completed each assignment, I would draw a line through it to mark it off my list.  I would also add notes, like the scores of my games.  Normally, I would complete most of my work after sports practice, and sometimes I worked at my neighbor’s house since we had the same classes.  However, I honestly was a bit of a procrastinator, so I would also complete my work during slow classes, on the sports bus on game days, and even at lunch if necessary.  My friends and I all helped each other.  By the time we were sophomores, we were pretty good at sharing notes and helping each other study between classes for upcoming tests. 

Even though I was fortunate to live with my parents, they really did not bug me about my work because they both worked and were busy tending to my younger siblings. I did my homework because I wanted to earn good grades to go to college and because most of my friends earned good grades.  I wanted to be one of the smart kids.  Yes, I know I am a bit of a nerd---but nerds tend to make it in life. 

This is the way I managed my assignments, but it is not the only way.  I remember that my friends all had their own systems.  For example, one of my guy friends just wrote his assignments on a little index card every day and kept it in his back pocket.  When I begin to think about all of you, my students, I wonder about your routines.  Maybe you just don’t have them yet.

Well, when I was in high school, I also used to swear to myself that I would never forget what it is like to be a teenager when I became an adult.  Unfortunately, time and maturity have made that a little difficult. I have spent a lot of time this weekend thinking of how I can help all of you to complete your homework, but I just can’t think of exactly what taught me to write down, complete, and check off my assignments.  Instead, I began to focus on what I can do to hopefully inspire you.  I do remember that I hated completing homework on the weekends, so I used that to inspire my new plan.  Here’s what I came up with:

If a student completes all four nightly homework assignments on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights before coming to class, I will automatically give him/her a pass for Friday’s homework assignment.  That pass will give the student a score equal to At Grade Level in the gradebook.  All the student will have to do is complete the form to remind Raquel and I that he/she earned the pass. 

So, what do you think? I will test this plan this week and reevaluate to see how it works out.  I am really looking forward to hearing your feedback.