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How Much Math Homework??

I am very curious about math homework in middle school, from a teacher perspective:
    How much math homework do you give?
    What kind of homework do you give?
    How do you go over it in class?

Let me explain why I ask these questions. I have taught 6th grade math for eight years, and every year, my goal is to "perfect" the homework issue. My basic issue is that I feel that I spend too much time going over it (not necessarily every day, but often). In the past, we have reviewed homework in the following ways:
   1. going over answers as a class
   2. self-checking answers that are on the board and sharing any questions
   3. partner-checking and then verifying
   4. choosing only a few problems to check

When I taught elementary school (for 12 years), I never seemed to have this problem....we had 60 minutes for class and I never struggled to fit everything in. But at middle school, we have 44 minutes (minus time to switch for classes), and I just haven't found the perfect solution...or even the best one! I want more work time for the students, but reviewing homework takes some of that time...

I've considered giving no homework, but I'm not sure if that's the best option.
I did read in Minds-On Mathematics, (I haven't been involved in any book studies, but have been reading it) about a middle school math teacher who gives homework that is arithmetic, and totally independent. This got me thinking that perhaps that idea is a good would give math practice, but wouldn't require much (if any) class discussion...

So, I hope to learn from some middle school math teachers out there - how do you handle homework (especially if you have a shorter math period like me)?


  1. Ellie, I always struggle with homework as well. More often then not it is just a fight to get the kids to do it. Math hw is online for me this year through the program we use. I am assigning about 10 problems on Friday and they are due on Wednesday. Since the computer grades them there won't be much in class to worry about, but I have a similar problem in science. Best of luck with it.

    Also, I just nominated you for a Liebster Award! Head over to my blog to check it out!

    1. Are all students able to do the online homework at home, or do they have an opportunity to do it from school if they don't have access at home? Sounds interesting.

      Thanks for the nomination! I really like your blog design...I'm trying to figure out how to redo mine:)

  2. I struggle with this too. In the past I have given review/4th-5th grade packets for the week. I gave them credit for completion, an opportunity to ask for help on any of the problems, and then pulling one or two problems from each night to use on a Friday quiz.

    This year, I am going to give them only what they need to work on - addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division ackets - according to an initial assessment. If they failed the addition portion, they work on addition until they can pass that portion with 90% or higher. If they are good with the basics, then problem solving and challenges. That is the plan for the 1st semester anyway:).

    1. Your plan sounds good...I was thinking about something along these lines as well. I think my classes will be even more heterogeneous than usual this year, so I'll need to have a plan to be sure the homework is differentiated.

  3. I don't think I'll be any help to you at all. I teach 6th grade in an elementary school and we have close to 2 hours for math. We go over the homework first thing, all together, and answer any questions. I find that helpful because it guides what I spend the bulk of my time on in that day's lesson. However, my biggest problem is that many of my students don't do the homework I assign, which has me questioning the whole thing. I teach in a high poverty school and many parents can't/won't/aren't able to help with homework and by the time my students are in 6th grade most of them are left to their own devices after school. I think homework is important because it keeps the brain actively engaged in the concept hours after it's been taught but I also think it's a tricky subject. I'm interested to see what others say.

    1. Two hours - wow! That would be great:) Most of my students do their homework, but it's usually the ones who have the most difficulty with concepts that don't...or they just write random answers...maybe they need more basic homework so that they can be successful at completing it...

  4. My middle school got a subscription to IXLfor math. Many teachers have assigned the excercises that relate to our learning outcomes and asked students to work on it until they achieved a minimum of 85% proficiency or better. One benefit of this is that IXL keeps track of the students progress and send email summaries to the teacher. The re is no need to spend time going over things students are already able to do , you can identify who had difficulties, and who didn't do it at all.

    1. That sounds long has your school been using IXL? Are all students able to do this from home?

  5. Hi Ellie! I found your blog through Cassie's Liebster nomination (I nominated her lol) and I'm so glad I did! I teach 5th and 6th math and have the same homework struggles as you! I usually assign a few problems for homework from their workbooks and check that they did them the next day while they are working on a do-now. Then I'll ask if anyone had any questions or if there were any problems they would like to go over. I feel like there are much better ways than that! I might have to look into online homework...

    Floating Through Fifth

  6. This will be my third year teaching 6th grade Math. The first year we were very laxed on homework, but then complained about our students not practicing more.
    So, the second year I implemented homework, three times a week. I started from the beginning so the expectations were set right away.
    My homework would consist of 5-10 problems on a subject that we just taught or a review subject. We went over it the next day. But, I wouldn't go over every problem. I selected them based on need.
    Students were given one grade for the whole six weeks based on their homework participation. I use what I call a "No Homework Binder". Students sign when they don't bring their homework. It is -5 for a missing assignment, -2 for late homework.
    I teach over 100 students. I had some chronic no homework doers, but overall, it was a successful situation for me.

    I truly believe you have to do what works for you and your class. I liked all your ideas for how to grade and go over hw. I think the key is routine, but also mixing up how to check and get kids more practice.
    Good luck!

    Hodges Herald


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