So, why am I talking about homework as a school counselor?! You may remember my post about report card conferences and my interventions to support academics this school year. There has been a recurring theme in my talks with students and teachers. Missing homework assignments and lack of effort on homework is significantly impacting students' grades. It seems as if it's time for a pep talk (and yes, I have shown this video to my students!):
Did that make you feel better?! Now, get ready to complete and UNDERSTAND some homework in Groovy Mrs. Poovey's homework club! In previous years, I have always implemented homework clubs for 3 or 4 weeks before I begin my EOG groups (group booklet coming to TPT soon!) so I can get a clear picture of what students are excelling on or struggling with before we work on EOG strategies. This year, I am supporting students in homework club for a longer amount of time. We have already been meeting for three weeks and will probably meet 2 or 3 more times before we start our formal EOG sessions. In addition, I usually only include students in my homework clubs and EOG groups that have missed the passing scale score for the Reading or Math EOG by one or two points. This year, I am allowing teacher referrals for my fifth grade homework club and have 20+ students each week. Only the "bubble" students will continue to the EOG sessions, but everyone will have classroom EOG lessons. So, how am I running homework club?
1. Start with data. Talk to your teachers, go through PowerSchools with them, and identify the kids who truly need homework club support. My third and fourth grade homework clubs are only the 5 or 6 kids who were identified as "on the bubble" with EOG scale scores, and it is manageable. My 20+ kids in fifth grade homework club require more energy so make sure you have the kids who will benefit most. Another unfortunate source of data may be "write-ups". My school's discipline policy states that students with 3+ missed homework assignment will receive a parent notification, and I receive copies of all of those infractions so I am always aware of the students who are struggling to turn in homework.
2. Talk to the students. I gave my fifth grade homework club kids this Google survey (right) during our first
meeting because I think it's important to hear what STUDENTS think is the problem. It was interesting to read what they thought was hardest about homework and what was keeping them from doing homework (distractions, sports, pets, video games).....very enlightening!
3. Use incentives and make it FUN. Doing homework during lunchtime once a week is probably not on the top of my students' favorite things list so I try to make it fun. I started homework club by giving out V.I.P., Very Intelligent Person, passes the first week to set the right tone (see above example). I also pick a Person of the Day who has shown the most focus and determination to complete work. They receive a STAR ticket (our positive reinforcement system), which results in an automatic prize from my office. This week I am going to try some fun background music from my favorite station on Pandora, Eklipse (check it out!). I am also keeping weekly attendance and students who make it for a fourth consecutive time to club this week will receive an extra special Easter treat.
Hit me up via email - firstname.lastname@example.org- if you have additional questions about my homework club structure. I am happy to share any other details I may not have covered in this post.
Enjoy and Happy Counseling!