Sunday, January 19, 2014

Homework: On-line vs. Paper and Pencil

20 Day Blogging Challenge, Day 12:  Talk about homeowrk. Do you give it?  What types do you give it. How do you balance it with other demands?

My school is a public school that is also a school of choice.  We are a traditional school.  That means we have a dress code, we have strong parent support, and we have mandatory homework three nights a week. A few times each year we do a homework project that is completed over a few weeks.  Our castle project is one of these projects.  Sometimes we use some of our homework time to prepare for book talks.  Most weeks I assign spelling work on Monday, reading or writing on Tuesday, and math on Thursday.  Many nights I offer the choice of completing homework on-line.  Since some of my children do not have internet access at home, I always offer a pencil and paper option as well..

In my last post, I wrote about Spelling City.  On Monday evenings, students may use Spelling City or they may choose one of these Fun Ideas for Spelling Practice.  They need to have a parent sign their planner indicating how they studied.

Tuesday night is often writing or reading.  This month I am having them read, and then we are doing a status of the class the following morning.  I also talked about this in an earlier post.  Some nights I have students write a blog post.  We use Kidblog, and you can see some of our posts here.  We welcome your comments.  Again, I provide a paper and pencil option.  Students may write their post in their writer's notebook and blog from school.

Thursday night is math night.  Sometimes I assign a worksheet, but other nights students may work on XtraMath, which is basic fact practice or they may go to TenMarks.  For TenMarks, the teacher selects the skills that need to be practiced.  If I assign XtraMath or TenMarks, I also make a worksheet available for those without internet.

With all these websites, I have a classroom version, so I can monitor who is on-line, and in some cases, how much time they spent on line.  I have our Kidblog account set so nothing publishes until I okay it.  With TenMarks I can see how they are doing with the various skills.

Most of my kids like to do the on-line assignments.  I expect them to work for 20 to 30 minutes.  I would like to begin using Edmodo  for homework as well.  We currently use it for book discussion and social studies and science research.

Beginning in February, I am going to begin running a before school computer lab so those without internet or computer access can come in to do on-line homework.  It would be on a voluntary basis.  I did this last year, and I had some kids that came in all the time even though they had internet at home.  They just liked using the websites.

If for some reason I do not assign homework, I send a note home explaining why.  Our parents are supportive and many will call to check if there is no homework.  On the flip side, I am flexible.  Sometimes things come up, and kids forget supplies or for some reason cannot complete an assignment.  I do not want homework time to extend beyond a half hour.  Kids need time to just be kids.

I am always looking for new ideas.  Do you assign homework?  If so, what works for your students?


  1. I use mostly on-line homework. For math I use and I give them a week to do any assignment so they can use study halls, before school or after school to access computers if they need to. It works well. I love the instant feedback they get. It also makes it really easy to differentiate assignments.

    1. I need to check those out. I do like the idea of giving them more time. I could assign the weeks assignments on Monday to be due on Friday. Thanks for the great ideas.