Collecting Homework in the Classroom

Tips and Ideas for Collecting Homework

Teacher collecting homework.
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The purpose of homework is to help reinforce what was taught in class or to have students gather extra information beyond what was demonstrated in class.

Homework is one part of daily classroom management that can cause many teachers problems. Homework must be assigned, collected, reviewed and assessed. That amount of work means homework must be designed to serve an academic purpose, otherwise, the results may be a great waste of student and instructor time.

Here are a few tips and ideas that can help you create an effective method for collecting homework every day.

Physical Homework

New teachers find out very quickly that day-to-day instruction is made much more effective when there are organized daily housekeeping routines. In developing these routines, if there is homework to collect, the best time to collect it for use in instruction is at the beginning of the period.

Methods you can use to accomplish this include:

  1. Station yourself at the door as students walk into your room. Students are required to hand you their homework. This greatly reduces the time it takes to complete this task because it is mostly finished before the bell even rings.
  2. Have a designated homework box. Explain to students how they are to turn in their homework each day. To keep track, you might remove the homework box after the bell rings and class begins. Anyone who does not get it in the box will have their homework be marked late. Many teachers find it a good idea to give students a three to a five-minute window after the bell rings to avoid possible confrontations and to keep things fair.

Digital Homework

If the technology is available, in school and at home, teachers may prefer to give a digital homework assignment. They may use a course platform like Google Classroom, Moodle, Schoology, or Edmodo.

Students may be asked to complete homework individually or collaboratively. In this cases, the homework will be time-stamped or a digital student is associated with the work. You may use that time stamp to show the homework has been completed on time.

Digital homework may include programs that provide immediate feedback, which will make assessing much easier. On some of these platforms, there may be an opportunity for a student to repeat an assignment. Digital platforms allow teachers to keep an assignment inventory or student portfolios to note student academic growth.

You may choose to use a “flipped classroom” model. In this model, the instruction is assigned as the homework in advance of class, while the hands-on practice takes place in the classroom. The central idea with this kind of digital homework is similar. In a flipped classroom, the homework serving as the teaching tool. There may be videos or interactive lessons to provide the instruction that happens in class. A flipped learning model allows students to work through problems, suggest solutions, and engage in collaborative learning.

Homework tips

  • When it comes to daily housekeeping chores like collecting homework and taking roll, creating a daily routine is the most effective tool. If students know the system and you follow it every day, then it will take up less of your valuable teaching time and give students less time to misbehave while you are otherwise occupied.
  • Come up with a quick system to mark an assignment as late. You might have a brightly colored highlighter which you use to make a mark on the top of the paper. You could also mark it with the number of points that you will be taking off the paper. Whatever your method, you will want to make it something you can do quickly and efficiently. See How to Deal with Late Work and Makeup Work
  • Return homework within 24 hours for optimum effect.
  • The flipped homework in class as part of instruction. The homework is not assessed, but the students are.

Ultimately, it is not the assigning or collecting of homework that is important. What is important is understanding the purpose of homework, and that purpose can help you determine the kind of homework, be it physical or digital, that works best for your students.