HOMEWORK / MISSED WORK FAQ's
On our team, the homework policy is simple: Do your best! Homework is part of school and the learning process, and in our classes, homework will be meaningful and important. Most often, our homework is an assignment that helps students prepare for the next day so that they can take part in a learning activity or discussion. It may also be a long-range project that demonstrates knowledge and understanding. We will do everything we can to help students learn to be organized, accountable, and responsible.
Homework is assigned in our classes almost every day, Monday through Thursday. In addition, long-range assignments may extend into the next week, but work is never assigned to be done on the weekend. All assignments include written directions which we will go over with the students in class. Students often have an opportunity to begin assignments in class. Questions are encouraged at this time. Sometimes students may be able to finish the assignment in school. However, some work will need to be done at home. Middle school guidelines suggest that students spend a TOTAL of between one hour and one and a half hours on homework. If your child never seems to have any homework, or if homework takes hours and hours, please contact us.
On the day that the assignment is due, we will spot check to be sure that every student has completed the work on time according to directions. We will note in our grade books which students are prepared and which are not. Students are expected to use a “checking pen” to note corrections, changes, and additions to the work. This step is extremely important. Each piece of work in the students' iPad/binder becomes a resource that can later be used to study for tests and quizzes.
We will not collect every homework assignment. Often, students will have their iPad/binder evaluated for organization. Binder/iPad files are to be organized, neat, and show evidence of effort including the checking technique explained above. Over the years, we have observed that the quality of organization directly correlates with the performance on the final assessment whether it is a test, composition or project. Parents can easily see what’s going on in class just by asking to see your child’s binder/iPad files. If you are concerned about homework or how your child is doing in class, a quick review of the binder/iPad can speak volumes.
GUIDELINES TO FOLLOW:
• Have it available on time. - If done on the iPad, the work should be submitted by 7:30am of the due date. If done on paper, the student should still submit a picture of the work into Canvas by 7:30am of the due date. The work must be available when asked for. Leaving the room to look for work in the locker or shuffling through a binder is disruptive to the class and wastes everyone’s time. If the binder is being maintained correctly, it should be easy to locate the assignment.
• Complete all items. - Students are expected to at least TRY to complete each item or come up with the required amount of information. Effort is a big part of our grading system. Questions can be addressed when the assignment is given or BEFORE the start of the school day. It is not appropriate to simply show up with blank spaces. TRY! TRY! TRY!
• Make it neat. - We all have different styles of writing just as we dress differently for different occasions. The appearance of homework should say, “I care.” Students may use cursive writing or printing, but papers that are messy or carelessly done may have to be redone. Word processing is encouraged. In addition, neatness is a component of the binder evaluation.
• Follow directions. - All assignments have written directions. We will review the directions in class, ask for questions, and allow time to start the assignment. Students should ask for clarification before the end of the day. Directions such as “full sentences,” “your best wording,” and / or “bullets” are all important guidelines for completing assignments.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT HOMEWORK:
• What if I have a band lesson or a meeting? - YOU are expected to get the assignment and all materials before you go or when you return. If we have checked and / or collected something when you were out of the room, YOU are responsible for following up, checking the work, and / or turning it in.
• What if I’m absent? - As mentioned above, YOU are responsible for knowing what went on during your absence. If you are out for just one day, you can check your Canvas calendar, email the teacher about what was missed or check in with a friend. If you are going to be out for more than one day, call a friend and ask them to get extra materials for you. If you have a friend on a different team, your parents can call the office and they will make arrangements to have your materials sent home with them. Furthermore, since we often write long-term assignments in our binder reminders long before they’re due, you will have a basic idea of what’s going on while you’re away. You cannot use the excuse “I was absent” for being unprepared for these types of assignments.
• What if “I don’t get it?” - As explained earlier, we will always go over the directions when the assignment is first given, and you will often have time to begin the work in class. If you come across a question that is challenging, it’s probably supposed to be! In other words, not all answers are going to come easily to you, and you may indeed be required to sit and think. Just as it takes you a while to work through a math problem, answering comprehension questions is a process that requires effort. Parents and / or older siblings can often help you interpret a question or suggest how you might go about answering it, so use them as resources. And you may certainly “phone a friend.”
HOMEWORK, BINDERS, TESTS, and FINAL GRADES:
One thing that hasn’t changed in school is student anxiety over grades and tests. Of course, in middle school, we try very hard to ease that nervousness. However, students can help themselves in this matter by following the guidelines set forth in this policy regarding homework completion. By spending a few extra minutes a day on producing neat, thoughtful work, by paying attention and using a checking pen when work is reviewed, and by organizing the binder daily, students will discover that they feel more confident about their understanding of the material, whatever the subject.
This “total picture” will help when tests or final projects are scheduled since a complete binder is an excellent resource. Ultimately, the quality of the binder will be evaluated as well. All of these considerations will enter in to the final grade.
PARENTS AS PARTNERS:
One of the most powerful motivators for students of this age is their desire to please significant adults - particularly their parents. So we will do our best to reward the students for consistent homework completion and to send those messages home. Conversely, if we notice a pattern of work habits that may be interfering with your child’s success, we will inform you as well. If you ever have any questions or concerns, please contact us right away.
We are looking forward to a great year! Thank you for your support!
Energy Team Teachers