I'm started my annual pondering on how to treat homework in class.
A few years ago I changed my policy of giving 25 - 30 problems a night to 10 - 12. Kids were happy and I didn't feel like I was wasting their time doing a bunch of the same type of problem. All was good in the world. I'm still happy with the amount of homework I give a night.
But I've run into my regular dissatisfaction with what to do with those assignments in class. Here's where I am:
1. If I don't count it for something it doesn't get done (generally).
2. I feel like shouldn't have to count it (I get so tired of the grade grubbers) as it's an opportunity for the kids to practice what I expect them to know how to do. But then I get a little frustrated at home with the time my son spends on assignments that don't translate into a grade for him. (I wonder if there are kids in his class that don't do their homework and if there's any "penalty" for it. It's so tempting to skip on those nights when we have soccer/baseball/whatever practice!)
3. I typically wander around the room checking for completion. I'm pretty good (I think) at catching the kids who write random stuff, show me the wrong assignment (oops! they say) or just write down the answers from the back (in precalc I only assign odds).
4. I like collecting to check randomly to see where they're at in understanding. But with over 90 kids in precalc this year (plus my other two classes) that didn't happen often.
My big issue is at right now the copying that I know is happening. One boy (who I know has copied all year but it never happened in class) stopped in my room after school to turn in some assignments that he hadn't gotten in because of some days he'd missed. I told him point blank that I knew he'd copied a lot of assignments throughout the year. He started off by trying to deny it, but I kept at him. Said I couldn't prove anything but I was pretty sure he hadn't done a lot of his own work. I told him that it would catch up with him and I hoped it would burn him enough to teach him a lesson before it really hurt him. Did he deny after that? Nope. On his way out of my room he threw out a "No comment". I'll take that as an affirmative.
So who has a system that they like? That they feel like keeps the kids accountable for the assignments, takes away the gift points for copying? And doesn't mean that I have to collect and grade every single assignment?
Rock my world.