Homework...the eternal question...

Homework - I feel like math students need homework - they need to practice things I have taught them.  They need to try it on their own without watching me do it.  How many of us have had students say - I totally get it when you do it, but I am really stuck on my own.

But, for most students, in order for them to do it, I need to grade it - at least somehow.  I suppose that's fair enough - they put in the effort, I should reinforce their effort by recognizing it.  But, they hate doing it...they copy...they do just enough to get by.  How do I get kids to recognize that practice is important and give it their all like this...

and not like this...

And the truth is...I hate going over homework.  I don't mind explaining things that kids that really tried didn't get, but I hate reading all the answers and then doing problems for people that didn't try anyway.'s a struggle.

What I usually do is walk around the room and give students 5 points for having an attempt at every problem in front of them.  If they don't do their homework at all, I give them 0 out of 5 points.  They can earn somewhere between 0 and 5 points by having some of their homework.  I like this method because it rewards kids for doing it without me having to collect a whole bunch of papers that I don't really have a lot of time to deal with every single day.  However, it also doesn't separate out the kids that copied and the kids that actually did everything.  I have always figured that the kids that actually do  the homework will do better on test day and it will all get separated out in the end.

So, I put the question to you blog me get the year started right.  How do you encourage and deal with homework in your middle or high school math classroom?

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