I was looking for a way to build on the idea that I want my students to self monitor their own learning. While I wanted them to do homework, I didn’t want to have to chase them to return it, or listen to multiple excuses about not having time to complete it.
I also didn’t want it only to be about students who didn’t complete classwork as I found it was always the same students that would be getting hours and hours of homework. These students were often students with Special Education needs, where homework created a negative environment of parents and children arguing over getting it all done. So I asked myself “do I just scrap homework altogether?”
My answer to that was no. I feel that homework is important to practice skills in alternate settings, and it should build the necessary skills and attitudes that homework helps you to practice the concepts taught in class and consolidate learning. I also feel that it should be students that are self-motivated to complete homework not parents forcing this to be completed.
In my travels through the internet, I stumbled upon Stephanie’s post from 3rd Grade Thoughts. I love her blog and use it frequently as a go-to resource for many teaching ideas. She created STAR homework based on Universal Homework Design from Whole Brain Teaching and from Allison at A Whole Brain Teacher.
After our meet the teacher night I had a few parents express that some of their children were opting out of completing star homework. Parents were concerned about this and expressed that not wanting to fight with their children.
Although earning stars is not required, I strongly recommend it. I have students write out a STAR Homework goal sheet. Students counted the number of stars that they earned this week and made a goal for next week. Ideally, for most students, I want them to complete 8 stars a week. Students will be rewarded at the end of the week if they meet their STAR goal.
Students determine what their goal will be. This week (week 3) our class goal is 175. When students meet this goal they will earn a reward. They have picked that they get to sit at any desk for lunch. Simple reward but very motivating. At this point to get them to buy in I allow them to earn this once they achieve this goal. Eventually, I will move to stars per week to be achieved.