Saturday, January 15, 2011

If we had known....

This has been a dilemma with my kiddos for quite a while, but I cannot seem to figure out how to change it. The problem is that my kids get math homework every night and they are to read for at least 2 minutes and fill out their reading log. About 98% of my students do their Math homework every night, but each morning, I have maybe 4 out 15 kids turn in their Reading log. 14 out 15 of my students are a year below grade level in Reading, so I really push for students to read at home. We have had many a conversation about the fact that reading at home is not optional, just the same as Math homework. I have contacted parents, conferenced with the repeat offenders, but nothing seems to do the trick. I know that the students who do not turn in their Reading Log are generally not reading at home.

This week, I decided to use an incentive to entice the other kiddos to do their Reading homework. On Friday, I looked over my homework check-in list and the students who turned in their homework (both Math and Reading) all week got 2 "No Homework" passes to be used any time within the third quarter. I had only ONE student who was eligible to receive the prize. Might I add that the students were outraged b/c "If we knew we would get a homework pass, we would have done our homeowrk"!! The nerve!!!

Are there any other ideas that you have used with your students to motivate them to do their homework??


  1. Yes, stop giving it! Have you discussed with the students why they do not do their homework? It seems pointless to continue punishing them if you know they will not do it. So instead, offer them time to read at school, by not using reading logs, reading can become fun again. offering incentives only opens up a whole other can of worms because soon you will have students that only do things to get something. Read Alfie Kohn to see what rewards and homework does to students, or read my blog to see what other teachers say about homework as well. I was there with you and it drove me. It's, now all of my students are in a better learning place because I stopped giving it and made sure we met our requirements at school.

  2. Mrs. Ripp has it right!! Couldn't agree more!

  3. Have you tried homeworkopoly or other incentives like that? I don't use it but a 2nd grade colleague does and says it has helped.

    One thing I did to help motivate them with reading is institute a "Read Around the World" idea that I stole from my daughter's teacher. Basically the kids get 20 miles for every minute read and travel the world as they read. It's just kind of fun and even my 5th graders like seeing how far they travel each week when I post the new amounts. I've had kids go all the way around the world once already and it's only January! The only thing I did was promise them that those who made it all the way around by the end of the year would get an ice cream party. Sure I have some who haven't turned in any logs but as they see how far some of the other kids are, I've noticed more and more of them turning them in.

  4. I agree with Mrs. Ripp. I let my students read independently for 15 minutes. I give the students a choice as to where they want to read; at my guided reading table or on the floor against the wall. The students really enjoy this. Afterwards I hold them accountable by writing about their reading in a reader's response journal.
    Teachers' Lounge Talk

  5. Hey! New Follower. I'm a graduate in Elem Ed as of right before Christmas. Can't wait til I have my own classroom one day! :) Would love the follow back at

  6. While I agree with Mrs. Ripp, I also see how homework has a vital place in education. With all of the different requirements and things that have to get done in a day, its often really hard to get everything in!

  7. Wow, I did not expect to get so much feedback on this post, but I absolutely appreciate it! I know many of you suggested getting rid of the reading as homework and I respectfully decline that as an option. I think that it is incredibly important that students read at home. I am a 2nd bilingual teacher and this is the first semester that my students have received reading instruction in English EVER, so I think it is crucial that they are reading during and outside of school. I follow the Daily Five so much students have independent reading time during our literacy block.

    One of the things I am brainstorming right now is modifying the reading homework from reading books and completing a reading log to having a weekly fluency piece that students take home each night, practice reading three times and get it signed each night. This is a more appealing option especially in lieu of the recent AIMSweb data that shows our second grade kiddos need to improve leaps and bounds in the area of fluency.

    As an educator learning and growing each day, I am grateful for the open dialogue and sharing of ideas that you all help foster. Thanks for the input!

  8. **I AM SUPER PUMPED!** I just stumbled across your blog- I am also a 2nd grade bilingual teacher in good ole ILLINOIS! (I love how I am so excited about this...)

    I also have so many issues with reading logs. I get the math homework. I get the spelling homework. But those darn reading logs...
    I have tried a lot of different things: sticker incentive charts, sending home book bags with a log inside... This year students can only go to the treasure box on Fridays if they have brought their reading logs. I still only get 11-14 out of 25. I have looked into Homeworkopoly... I don't know what the answer is!

    :) Katie
    [2nd grade blog]

  9. Katie,

    I am glad that you are excited about my blog!!! I am most certainly following your blog now. I am curious as to what your bilingaul program is like at your school. We have a transitional program, so at second grade, 70% of the instructional day is still taught in Spanish (which makes everything really sticky since next year, my kiddos will be expected to take ISAT in English!).

    In regards to the reading logs: do you have any thoughts as to why the kiddos are so reluctant to complete them???

  10. I started a Homework Club this year and every 6 weeks, I eat lunch with/bring homemade dessert for the kiddos who turn in all of their homework. It started with 5 kids, then 7 kids, then 11 kids! Sadly, my principal said I can't do it anymore because of the nutrition guidelines. Sucks, huh? I've never had so much turned in homework!