Monday, March 23, 2009


So many kids across America (I may be exaggerating--maybe it's just across my district) do their HW, but don't turn it in. I just think that's fascinating. Here is a kid, he just spent a good twenty minutes of his free time completing an assignment, and he doesn't turn it in.

OK, so I think I've solved that problem. At the beginning of class, on my cue, out comes everyone's assignments and they hold the HW in front of their schweet faces. I scan, prompt the faces I can see, and once the forgetful are ready, I pass around what we call The HW Bucket. Kids put their HW in it and pass it to the next kid. The system works, and it takes care of one big problem some have had with HW.

Another problem dealt with is the old "Teacher Lost My HW!" shriek. Here's my solution: kid does HW, puts in bucket. Teacher grades papers, puts them in her tray of graded papers. After papers are passed back, all graded work is placed into folders that stay in the classroom. If a kiddo thinks she turned it in, she is invited to check her folder. Sometimes the paper is there, graded by my fabulous and doctor-worthy handwriting; the kiddo has fallen victim of "sticky paper syndrome", and I joyfully fix the gradebook. If the paper is not there, I invite the kiddo to check her notebook. Often the paper is there, but because said kiddo was absent on turn in day or something, the paper never made it into the bucket.

And sometimes the kiddo looks in both places and finds nothing. After teaching this long, I have acquired, thankfully, a little bit of understanding of human nature. My heart no longer whispers, "Believe the children!" when it comes to homework-adverse adolescents. I just brightly smile and let them know they can redo the assignment. No matter how much they wish they had it as an excuse, the following are not really plausible:
1) There is no HW black hole.
2) We are nowhere near the Bermuda Triangle.
3) I don't use their assignments as kindling as much as I'm tempted: I have a gas fireplace.

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