In the beginning . . . Homework MUSTs for a successful classroom

So what path does a homework assignment take from creation to evaluation?

If the learning we assign students is important, what processes should be in place?

These are some of the question we have been wrestling with during our professional development this semester. What has emerged is a “discovery”, if you will, of the layers of homework. There are five layers, from creation to completion, that MUST be in place in order for all freshmen to be successful in our classrooms. The removal of any layer will reduce the learning and jeopardize the success of at least a segment of freshmen.

There appears to be five layers of homework that are necessary for successful learning for all freshmen:

Layer One: Creation

  1. Clear academic purpose

  2. Can be done independently

  3. Students understand how it will be evaluated

  4. Visual presentation is of high quality

Layer Two: Destination

In order for assignments to be received, returned, reviewed, and reflected upon, there must be a system that students use to manage the paper of school. Some students have it. Others must be taught.

Layer Three: Evaluation

  1. Evaluation must be timely (within three days for daily work)

  2. Class time is allotted for discussion of what was learned and to reteach.

Layer Four: Recuperation

A clear and daily ritual must be in place to get assignments and information to students who were absent.

Layer Five: Valuation

When an assignment is missing, what are our practices for recovering, reteaching, reminding or requiring?