Friday, September 28, 2012

Homework Incentives

As always, we started this afternoon's meeting with Peer-To-Peer Problem-Solving. Tonight we discussed answers to a great question from a middle school teacher:

How do you get kids to turn in their homework?

We discussed several ideas that might help, at many grade levels:
* Popcorn parties are a quick, easy, and relatively inexpensive way to encourage kids to turn in homework. If kids turn in all their homework during a given time period, you break out the popcorn at the end of the time. Instruction doesn't have to stop during the party - kids can eat popcorn while they're working on the assignment, reading the assigned passage, etc.
* Stickers: Kids LOVE stickers! Our group shared that kids from pre-school through high school will do just about anything for stickers from their teacher. When I was teaching middle school, kids would peel stickers off of their recorded homework assignments after they were handed back and stick them onto their book covers like fighter pilots chalking up kills. Stamps work, too, as do handwritten words of encouragement from their teacher.
*Free Time! Every moment of a kid's school day is structured and controlled - at least from the kid's point-of-view, anyway. So, why not offer the incentive of having some less-structured time to talk about... whatever it is that kids talk about?
*Movies - Is there an curriculum-relevant and age-appropriate video clip that would support your instruction? In a perfect world, kids would watch intently and gather knowledge, thanking us teachers for enriching their minds. Okay, now back to reality - Maybe kids can earn a movie-day once a month or once a quarter, etc.? It would be great if the movie was relevant to your curriculum, but you know what they say about beggars and choosers...

Larry Ferlazzo has written a number of posts and even a book about student motivation - and how teachers can promote self-motivation in their students. I would highly encourage new teachers follow Larry Ferlazzo's blog for lots of tips and resources as you develop your career.

Do you have an idea to share about incentives? Feel free to add it by submitting a comment at the bottom of this post!

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