I was thinking throughout this week how there are so many things in our classrooms that we do on a normal basis that are just routines to us. Then I started thinking how one thing that isn't a big deal to me could really help another teacher. I guess that's one of the biggest points with blogging...sharing ideas to help others.
Anyways, I don't know about you, but with all the other demands of teaching, I find grading papers to be overwhelming at times. When I first started teaching, I graded and checked everything. However, I started to learn that I don't need to grade everything, especially homework. One of my teammates shared this with me at the beginning of last year and it was genius to me. This isn't something brand new and some of you may be doing this. However, I wanted to share this, just in case you weren't.
So we start math right after the announcements. Before the announcements and while my kiddos are unpacking, I remind my kiddos to make sure they have their homework out from the night before on their desk (this has been a daily routine since the beginning of the year). Once the announcements are over, I have my kiddos get with a partner and check over their homework with each other with a pen or pencil, depending on what I want them to do for the day (pen is used to just check their answers and a pencil is used if they are going to redo the answers together). Since I have two different math groups who do different homework, they have to pair up with someone who did the same homework as them. As they check their answers, I walk around and chime into their conversations (some of them need some gentle reminders to stay focused and some others have questions about the problems that they didn't do correctly).
If this is a brand new topic, I have my kiddos just circle the answers they do not have the same answers on. I will go over those problems when I meet with their group. If the topic has been discussed for several days, then I have my kiddos circle the answers they do not have correct and then work the answers out. I make sure to tell them my expectations before checking the homework.
Due to the Common Core, I am trying to implement conversations within all subject areas. I find that it is simple within Reader's and Writer's Workshop. I have them turn and talk frequently. However, math was a bit more challenging for me, until I decided to incorporate these within checking homework (and other math areas as well). Not only do my kiddos have to check their homework, they have to prove to each other the answers if they don't have the same answers. This creates some great conversations amongst my kiddos.
This has saved a lot of time and also gives the kiddos immediate feedback. It also allows interactions among my students and allows kiddos to carry on their math skills that they understand and know.
How do YOU check your kiddos homework? How do you get conversations going within math?
I would love your input. Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a wonderful weekend!