I ❤ Homework This Year!! (Our Daily/Weekly Planner)

I will be completely honest with you my dear friends (who I have missed talking to SO much during this whirlwind of a year!)...

I used to loathe assigning homework.

Trying to find the perfect assignments to support the learning that had taken place during the day. Collecting it each morning after. Unfinished assignments spilling into the next night. Worrying that I was assigning too much for my active students (who sometimes have busier schedules than I do!). Scrambling at the last second when I hadn't pulled homework for the day and was busy at a meeting. The list goes on and on.

I knew I needed a change for this school year.

So I thought and thought about what to do over the summer. I asked blogging friends for advice. I chatted about it with readers on my Facebook page (thank you for all of your help!!). I thought long and hard about my goals. What did I want the homework to achieve, aside from building upon/reviewing our learning? 

Then it hit me. 

Above all, more than anything, I really wanted my students to learn the important skill of balancing their lives. I wanted to get them ready for middle school and beyond. I wanted them to a have some power in managing their assignments.

So this year, we are using a Weekly Planner to schedule a mix of daily and weekly assignments...and it has worked like a charm!

I introduced the planners during the first week of school by sharing how I balance my work schedule around my home life. I shared how some nights were busier, so I had less time for work and accordingly scheduled my work on other nights. Then we tackled the planning sheet.

Here's the setup:
Each Monday, during Morning Meeting, we start with a blank sheet that is set up for the month. We highlight the current week...
and label the dates:
Then we fill out the Daily Assignments:
I use Stephanie's (from the incredible Teaching in Room 6) Spiral Math Homework for our daily assignments. Students must complete a page each weeknight and bring it back the next morning, as we correct it during Math each day (it is such a wonderful resource and the students respond so well to the consistency and spiral).

After recording our Spiral Math assignments, we write our weekly assignments:
Then we get to the planning! Students fill in any known times for sports, activities, or times with friends...
...and start planning out which assignments they will complete on certain days of the week:
There is also an area for reflection, for the students to jot down their thoughts on how they balanced their schedule that week (just to get them really cognizant of their scheduling choices):
I can't begin to tell you how much I love this system...and so do my students! I love having all of my weekly assignments prepped and ready to go...no more scrambling to get homework ready each night. And, more importantly, I am already seeing my students act so responsibly in balancing their schedules for the week.

I know each class is so different when it comes to homework, but if you are interested in these planning sheets, you can download them by clicking on the image below (they are all set up for the 2013/2014 school year):
How do you set up homework in your classroom?

Thanks so much for stopping by!

22 comments

  1. I love how you have your students write in activities outside of school. I will that I knew what my assignments were going to be for the week! I'm still trying to get a handle on the pacing of our new reading series :(

    Diane
    Fifth in the Middle

    ReplyDelete
  2. I second Diane's comment. Including a calendar for outside activities is awesome. Our kids are SO ridiculously busy, and it is important to remember. Thanks for the freebie!

    Catherine
    The Brown-Bag Teacher

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great idea:) You are always so creative and have wonderful and organized tips:) Love this:) It has been a whirl wind of a year and it's just the beginning....I haven't felt so stressed in a while:/ Not fun and blogging has gone down the toilet and so has everything else...lol. Hope you have a refreshing and relaxing weekend:) If ya have any good tips for ELLs and phonics, shoot them my way:) My babies are struggling:/

    4th Grade Frolics

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks so much for this Kristen! I am going to use this for my daughter who is in Year 6 (in Australia) They do not get ANY homework at her school, the only thing they have to do is to finish off anything they didn't complete during the day....she finishes everything. I am concerned that she won't be able to schedule next year when she goes to high school, I think this is going to help her enormously! Thank you!

    Tania
    Mrs Poultney's Ponderings

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh Sweet Kristen:
    I LOVE how you are always striving to educate the WHOLE child. My students often say, "I couldn't do homework because I had to..." What a great idea to teach them to balance their homework and their outside-school activities.
    I'm still trying to get a handle on the new school year too. I'm not sure why I'm still struggling to catch up, but I am getting through each week, knowing that Thanksgiving break will come sooner or later!
    Sending you giant bloggy hugs...

    Kim
    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

    ReplyDelete
  6. You are always coming up with the best organizational tools :) I especially love the self-reflection portion, too. I also love how your students include their outside activities, too. It's a great way for them to begin to learn how to balance everything. Smart :)
    Elizabeth
    Fun in Room 4B

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is so helpful for students. It says a lot about you as a teacher as well, that you take time out of your day to teach them how to be organized. I think a lot of us just expect kids to know how to be organized, myself included. This was a great reminder that some life skills need may need to be included in curriculum planning!

    -Maria
    Everyone deServes to Learn

    ReplyDelete
  8. Dearest Kristen,

    What would we as teachers do without you! Thank you for sharing your insights and knowledge in regards to homework. What is the morning meeting and how does it work? I've heard teachers on different blogs mention it before, but don't really know what it is. You can email me at askforlisa@yahoo.ca if that's easier for you.

    On another note, some other ways that I have given homework, depending on the subject varies. For example, for reflection, I may be more specific in my questioning in future weeks and ask students questions like, what will make this weeks scheduling successful, what made last weeks successful, what adjustments could be made to help you achieve your goals this week.....

    After a few weeks of being successfully implementing this system, I may ask students to display their own schedules on their desks and complete a gallery walk. While doing the gallery walk, each student could take note on an idea they liked, something they learned ("I didn't know Suzie practised gymnastics 3 times a week),...to help build rapport as well as to improve class dynamics. Hope this helps.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Kristen--I love the idea of having them include their afternoon activities in their plans as well. Such a great time-management tool. My own 6th grader is working on this right now, since many of his assignments are long-term. Thanks for this!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hey Kristen!
    This looks great! I like it much better than the agenda that we have to give the kids (which is difficult and doesn't make a lot of sense). You are so good with all of your organizational ideas. I imagine your students come out of your class being super organized and loving everything in it's place, just like you!!

    Love it!!!
    Amanda
    Collaboration Cuties

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Super cute new blog layout!! I saw you post it on FB so of course I had to check it out! I don't know how you do it but it's adorable and all clean lines!! I hope you are having a great year!!

      Amanda
      Collaboration Cuties

      Delete
  11. Kristen,

    You always have the best ideas!! I love your weekly planner and how the kids write down their out-of-school activities and plan around them!! We have planners that our whole school uses, but I definitely want to try to get my kiddos thinking about scheduling their homework around their extracurricular activities! Hope you are having a great school year!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi,
    Thank you so much for this resource! I cannot seem to get the file to open though so I can save it. I am super excited to start using it. Any thoughts? I click on the picture and nothing happens.

    ReplyDelete
  13. What a great tool for teaching your students to manage their time doing school work as well as their outside obligations. Thanks for posting such a helpful freebie....SO many students will benefit from your work! (I know my sixth graders could really use this.) This is my first visit to your blog and I'm so impressed with your creativity and dedication. :)

    -Kate

    Kate's Classroom Cafe

    ReplyDelete
  14. I give a homework log similar to this as well. It works so well. I love the look of your weekly planners. Thank you so much for sharing your ideas!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I am finally catching up on some blog reading PFEW! I love this! I went out last year and bought my students planners from the Dollar Store for this same reason! They actually loved them, and loved the idea of being so grown up! I'm not sure why I got away from it this year! I also agree that homework can often be more for learning about responsibility and balancing your life. Thanks for sharing! :)

    Young Teacher Love Blog

    ReplyDelete
  16. Love love love this! What a perfect idea for kids to "see" how much time they have to get their homework done.

    Megan
    I Teach. What's Your Super Power?

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi, I am a high school French teacher and I like your homework log. I am trying to figure out how to change it so I can put the calendar in French and turn the orientation, but i will probably end up starting from scratch.
    This is a great document

    ReplyDelete
  18. I am wondering if you were going to make these for the 2014/2015 school year... I love them!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I was wondering the same thing! I would love to see these for the 2014/2015 school year!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I was wondering if we could get them for 2014/2015 as well. What a wonderful idea!!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I love this! Any chance you can do it for the 2014/2015 school year?

    ReplyDelete

Back to Top