Today’s blog entry is from guest blogger Ally at A Fly on the Classroom Wall! Make sure to visit her blog at http://flyontheclassroomwall.blogspot.com/. Enjoy!
Homework agendas are used in schools everywhere. They serve as an excellent means of communication between home and school. They encourage students to become increasingly responsible for their own learning, develop time management skills, and develop of overall organizational skills.
It is important as teachers to take the time to teach our students to use their agendas effectively. Routines and expectations should be set firmly in place at the beginning of the school year and monitored closely. If you were a fly on my classroom wall you would seeing me putting the following into place.
1. Read & Post:
Read & post homework assignments every day.
Do this at the same time every day.
Present it in the same format every day.
Color code subjects.
Give ample time for students to both record the information & ask questions.
2. Rank & Order:
Have students number each assignment in order of “attack”, e.g. what is to be done first, second, third, etc. each night. I usually have students put a #1 beside the one that they think will take them the least amount of time to complete, and so forth … leaving the most difficult/longest task to the very end. In doing “the easiest tasks” first, they gain a sense of accomplishment every night. They gain confidence. They also don’t waste valuable time mulling over more difficult assignments.
Have students estimate how long it will take them to complete each activity. Record the estimated number of minutes beside each entry. This is especially helpful when I have students who really struggle when it comes to completing everything in the time allotted. Together we can figure out why and what to do about it. We can make any necessary accommodation or modifications.
4. Color Coding:
Highlight any tests (e.g. yellow), trips (e.g. blue), projects due dates (e.g. orange), special days (e.g. red), etc … e.g. color code “The Biggies”.
5. Check & Sign:
As the teacher ensure that everything has been recorded neatly/accurately. Monitor for understanding and sign. Ensure that parents sign the agendas every night.
6. Homework Buddies:
I also have students record the names & phone numbers of three Homework Buddies in the front of their agendas. Homework Buddies are just that: Friends to contact if they are unsure about, or are having difficulty with an assignment.