I was thinking there might be a few teachers out there with schools that are tight with paper like mine. I originally formatted this weekly homework page format when we were asked to use less paper, but I had no idea how much I’d love it! One page makes my life so much easier!
Each Monday, students are given a single homework page which has been printed on front and back and 3-hole-punched. They pop it into their homework folder (a cheapo card stock folder with 3 brads and 2 pockets) and do 1/4 of the page each evening. Just a heads up, these little pages are packed with info. There isn’t a lot of white space, but my 4th graders have never had a problem with the amount of material on each page. They quickly mastered the familiar weekly format. Mine love routine, and the four standard sections (1. Reading for Information/Paragraph Attack 2. Word Work/Writing 3. Mixed Genre/Paragraph Attack 4. Context Clues/Vocabulary/Spelling) ensure I’m providing additional homework practice equally across my literacy curriculum.
Below is my general template. (The first passage is from an AWESOME site, K12Reader, which has with tons of leveled passages based on content areas–check it out, really, it’s the best I’ve found. The second passage I borrowed from…well, the Internet somewhere a while back. If you recognize it, let me know and I’ll cite the source! The crossword puzzle was made on Tools for Educator’s Puzzle Maker–another a super handy site!)
Download the Weekly Homework Page Format
1 page homework:
1. Get more bang for your buck: Use .25 inch margins. Set your spacing is to single space (not 1.5). It makes a difference!
2. Decide on your weekly sections and label each day’s homework with the day and section title. (Ex. Monday: Reading for Information/Paragraph Attack) Also include easy to follow directions.
3. Have a place for student names at the top of each side of the paper. This way, no matter how it’s laid out on their desk (I do homework checks while they are at specials), you can easily see whose you’re looking at.
4. Tie the homework’s content to your specific curriculum standards each week, and use the same section headings each week. I use a different activity type each day. This helps students get familiar with many different question styles (standardized test prep anyone?). Also, if a student really dislikes a certain type of activity (let’s say Tuesday’s writing activity is a real drag for them), they only see it once that week, and are more likely to just get it done instead of skipping it all together (like they might if I had a whole week of writing activities). Also, I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here, but it has to be said that homework should offer a very specific and tailored practice session outside of the classroom, not be random or busy work. When the students open their homework each night, they should think, “Oh yeah, this is similar to what we did in class today.” Provide hints or reminder sections for material you know could trip up your students. They may not have an adult at home to help them if they get stuck. Give them the tools they’ll need to review or extend what was taught in class.
5. Decide how you will check the homework. I provide a key at the front of the room, and students check their work with a marker when they enter the class each day. During certain times of the year, I may even make a matrix for them to mark their incorrect answers, so I can see at a glance which problems were the most difficult for the class as a whole. (I’ll try to find that matrix and post it here eventually!) However, most times of the year, I do a quick glance over during specials (not to record grades, but to see the problem areas and who did/did not do the homework). Then, I may pull certain students during the day to discuss problem areas.
This homework is specifically for a literacy classroom, so the sections are tied only to literacy. However, if you want to provide homework for all subject areas, just change up your sections (Ex. Monday: Science Read and Respond Passage, Tuesday: Writing about Social Studies, Wednesday: Math Concepts, Thursday: Health Read and Respond Passage).
How do you use and manage meaningful homework in your classroom? I’d love to hear your ideas!