What to do about Missing Work?

The age old question - what to do about missing work??? Here are a few suggestions from eMINTS teachers . . .

We have used tickets. If they turn in their homework all week, they get a ticket. They one ticket on Friday for reading all week and then one ticket for the other assignments. Then at the end of the month we have store and they can use their tickets to buy things like drinks or snacks. I have even starting baking for the store and they really like that!
Mandy McCutchen, Southwest Accelerated School
  I have a standing policy in my room that requires the student to call their parents when they don't have their homework completed. They have to go to the Principal's office to make their phone call, so that also involves the principal. I send out a letter at the beginning of the year that requires parent/guardian signature. This way I can make sure that everyone involved is aware of what is going to happen. I do allow the student to stay in recess and finish it. If it is not finished and handed in that day they get a zero on the assignment. This is my third year of enforcing this and I do not have a problem getting my homework turned in. I made sure I discussed this with my principal before hand, without administration support it would not work.
Paula Hensley
  The students at our school are required to have an assignment book, which they purchase from the school at the beginning of the year. Every day my students have to write down their assignments. I have student helpers who collect homework the every day. Each student who gets all of their homework turned in on time (first thing in the morning) gets a sticker in their assignment book. When they get ten stickers, they get a no homework coupon that is good for one assignment. When they get 100 stickers they get a coupon good for one day with no homework. This has worked very well for my class. You will always have one or two students that nothing seems to work. I usually have them miss recess to get caught up.
Linda Yarnell, Crocker R-II Schools
  The class get marbles in a jar if all work is turned in. When the jar is full we have some sort of reward in class (popcorn party, art hour, etc.)
Sammy Rensch
  A couple of years ago, I let the students put their name on a piece of paper everytime they turned in a homework assignment. I would draw names for prizes, lunch, etc. out of this group. I like the reward system instead of the punishment system. I also like the idea of making the students more responsible for their own homework.

A few years ago one of our teachers discovered a program called Zeros Aren't Permitted (Z.A.P. for short). As stated in the brocure we send to the parents, Z.A.P. is not to be mistcontrued as a form of discipline, but that failure is not acceptable that students should strive to do their best. The following is a general description of how the program works: If a student fails to turn in a completed assignment on the day that it is due, the teacher sends a note (known as a ZAP slip) to the principal. The student completes the form and the teacher signs it and forwards it to the principal. Even on the first occasion, a consequence must be assigned. (Our students usually serve lunch detention to complete the assignment.) The principal will then contact the parents. (Usually the ZAP is mailed to the parents.) Obviously, this is not a cure all, but it has elimated some of the problem. It helps maintain good contact between the student, teacher, principal, and parent. Students usually don't want to get a ZAP because they know their parents will know they are not doing their homework. Students who don't get ZAPPED are also rewarded.

  Our school has a ZAP policy for grades 5-12. This is an excellent program for reducing the number of missing assignments. As a 6th grade teacher, I like this program. ZAP stands for Zeros Aren't Permitted. If students fail to turn in an assignment, the student completes a ZAP form and gives it to the principal. The student remains in the prinicpal's office during recess time and completes the assignment. The student is required to write a letter home to the parent about the ZAP. The student, principal, and parent must sign the note. After the assignment is turned in, the student can not get better than 70%. If the student fails to turn in the assignment, then a 9th hour occurs. There is more to this policy. We reward those students not receiving ZAPs. The principal gives them 20-30 minutes of recess time and food treats at the end of the quarter. This program is working and it helps to keep the students aware of completing homework assignments.

I had this problem until this year. I stumbled across a game board called homeworkoply. It looks like a monopoly board and I printed it out. I taped it to an unused part of my chalkboard and made magnetic markers for each kid in my class. Each day that the kids do their homework, they get to roll the dice and move around the board. Some of the spaces have prizes attateched to them like community lunchbox they get a piece of candy or chance, they draw a chance card and so on. My kids love playing Homeworkoply, even though they don't get a prize every day, they do their homework to have the chance. If they don't do their homework I have them do it at recess time. The game board and complete directions are at this site: http://www.teachnet.com/homeworkopoly/ Hope this helps.
Tina Monks, 3rd grade Indian Creek Elementary

I use a late homework notice listing the missing work. The student takes it home and the parent has to sign. After three of these in one month the student has to go to ALC (alternative learning center similar to ISS) to complete all missing work. It starts over every month. However I have not had to use that this year because I also do assignment sheets everyday. I pass them out on Monday morning and they copy their assignments down throughout the day at the end of the day I go around and initial each child's assignment sheet and review what homework they may or may not have. This works really well because its at the end of the day and some students (believe it or not) have forgotten what we have done at the beginning of the day. I highlight all HOMEWORK and then they get it ready. On Thursdays the have to take the assignment sheet home and have parents sign and bring it back on Friday. If they don't it's one recess if they don't bring it back on Monday it's both and then it's over. I do not drag it out forever. This has really helped this year so much I haven't had the missing work like I did last year and I know this is part of the reason. I hope this has helped.
Jamiann Turner

I have a class full of chronic offenders. I check names off first thing in the morning. No homework...whether they did it and forgot it or they are working on it right then ...no recess and they get a homework slip and a reduced grade. A Homework slip is a small slip that has their name, the assignment and they have to explain why they didn't fulfil their fourth grade duties. Two homework slips in one week is an after school detention to be served in my room from 3:30-4:30. Parent must pick them up. Also, any assignment missing for more than two days is a zero in the grade book, but they still have to do it and get it signed by a parent. It is pretty rough for the first month, but since the first month of school I have given very few detentions or zeros. Parents all sign agreements to this the first day of school.
Tricia Anderson, Fourth Grade, Veterans Elementary Hanniabl, MO

I have had a system that seems to work fairly well. When I collect assignments, I use classroom numbers. I can see very easily who hasn't turned an assignment in. If # 5 does not have her assignment in, she must write what I call an "excuse". She must write the date, subject, assignment and the reason for not having the assignment. At the end of the week they transfer all these "excuses" to a shorter form that's on one sheet. This goes home to the parent for a signature on Monday. (I copy the one page shorthened version before sending it home.)

If the student has no missing assignments for the week, they receive a positive note saying all assignments were turned in for the week, and a homework coupon which entitles them to a free pass on one assignment. The ones who took excuses home, must get a signature from the parent. If the paper doesn't come back on Tuesday, the student sits recess. By Wednesday, if I still don't have the signed paper, I mail a copy home. The student sits recess until I get the paper back signed.

I have a tracking sheet with each student's name on a spreadsheet, beside their name for each day is: warning, 1,2,3,4,5. I use this to keep track of their behavior for the week. If they have a missing assignment I circle warning, the next misbehavior or missing assignment for the day will be circled 2, then 3 , etc. I also make note (exc.SS) meaning on that day the Social Studies assignment wasn't turned in. I can then look at the assignment sheet for that week to see what the Social Studies assignment for that day was, and know what is missing. This also covers me with documentation.

With emints this year it seems to be just one more thing to do, but they love getting that homework pass. If they have 30 positive notes at the end of the year, they receive a special treasure. (I usually pick up some small stuffed animals, balls, or other toys from the Dollar store.)


I also use HomeworkOpoly. I started this year and the kids really look forward to playing. You can even personalize your Chance and Community Lunchbox cards! Everytime my kids Pass Go! they get to pick a prize out of a basket (these are little dollar store type items including bounce balls, animal figures, small slinkies). There are still some that rarely play, which I see as a problem. (On a positive note, one student who rarely plays got to play two weeks ago and is working very hard to keep playing, so far, it is two weeks in a row!)
I also have my students fill out an assignment sheet everyday. The assignment sheet is also posted on my webpage, which I update daily so students and parents can see what homework really is.
We have a Morning Work room every morning before school. If a student is missing work (or is absent) I make sure they get the assignment and get to the work room. A teacher is in the room every day to help those who need it. This seems to help some of those chronic offenders, though they are also usually late to school.
Cristina Hulsopple, 3rd Grade Teacher, Adair County R-I Elementary

We had a money system in our classroom. Every Friday students would be paid for attendance, homework & grades, a classroom job, and citizenship. Of course the children had to complete the forms and do the mathematics. They would then write the check. I would verify their mathematics and sign the check. It then would be deposited in the classroom bank. The students wanted to have a nice size check and would work at completing work and doing well on assignments and tests. Once the students understood the forms and the system it would only take about 10-15 minutes of every Friday.

I did the money thing too, only I gave them cash and then they had to figure the tax (I just did 3 cents on the dollar.) Then we had a store where they could buy things, but only if they could figure out what they owed and what their change should be. It took a little while on Friday afternoon but it did work.

I type up a homework assignment sheet each week and send it home in their homework folder. Each day it is signed by the parents and returned with completed homework in the child's folder. I have a student from each group collect the folders in the morning making sure that they receive a folder from each person in their group. While students complete their morning work (or during my plan time) I quickly go through each folder, pull out the homework, then initial the parent's signature (this lets the parents know that I did receive the work). I then list the homework page number or include the worksheet for that day's homework. Anyone who did not complete their homework has to serve detention on Thursday or Friday to complete their work. (This time is during their recess time.) I have had very positive feedback from the parents and I receive almost 100% participation from parents. Parents love to see on Mon. what to expect for homework the rest of the week. I try to keep it very basic. Exact page numbers are not listed on the sheet. I write the page numbers or include the worksheet on the day that homework is to be completed. Students know that they will be held accountable for their homework. If homework is missing I write that down on their homework assignment sheet for the parents. Parents also know that I see these homework assignment sheets each day and therefore write notes or concerns to me on the homework sheet. I always write back to them that day, or if it is real important, I give them a phone call. I do deduct 10% from late work papers. Good luck.
Linda Harmon, 4th Grade teacher

You'll find a lot of tips here... http://www.educationworld.com/a_special/homework.shtml
Sharon Sumner



Center School District
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February 18, 2005

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