Thursday, February 11, 2016

New Rules

This week it's my turn at Unicorn Bell. I'm discussing weekly bloghops you may be unfamiliar with. I'd love it if you'd stop by and say hi.

Integrated Math 1. Basically, this class used to be called Algebra 1, but the district has changed some things... Anyway, they had a worksheet, and most of them were doing it.

In the lesson plan, the teacher had designated the assignment as classwork/homework. Which meant that when they asked if it was homework, I hedged. "Get as much done in class as you can." Because, from experience, I knew this was coming...

Halfway through the period, I found a girl with an empty desk. Nothing on it. Not even the assignment. Where was her assignment? In her backpack. Why?

"Because I'm going to do it for homework."

And I lost it.

I didn't go all screaming banshee or anything. This wasn't the first time I'd encountered this. It probably wasn't even the 100th time. But I'm done with this game.

There's always one. Usually more. He or she puts the assignment away because "it's homework", and we get into a debate. It's technically classwork. What is not finished in class may become homework. But that's not the way they see it.

They see it as getting a free period to do nothing. And to get that "free period", they'll give me any sort of crazy excuse. They like homework. They'll be bored at home. Their parents "need" to see them doing work at home. Seriously, they trot these out every time.

And when they have nothing to do in class, they get into all sorts of mischief... (The mischief keeps this blog in stories.)

I'm done with the excuses. The debate. So, my response to the girl was an announcement to the class. I was collecting the work at the end of the period.

She immediately got her worksheet out and got to work.

And I realized I had a winner. The rest of the day, I explained the situation. It was classwork. What they didn't finish in class was homework. But, if any one of them (and it only had to be one) put the assignment away (incomplete--some actually do finish) and told me they'd "do it for homework", I'd collect everyone's assignment at the end of the period.

You know what? Not a one of them gave me the "I'll do it for homework" excuse. Score!

Of course, some of them didn't put any writing on those assignments...


  1. If she at least worked a little, she wouldn't have caused this mess and she still could have taken it easy. But at that age, thinking things through isn't common...

  2. You are headed in the right direction here. I don't know why kids have to always try to have the last say!!

    1. I'm not sure what they gain. A free period? Then the end the the semester hits, and they wonder where all their points went.

  3. You just shouldn't allow them to decide anything, they need strict military discipline from the early age otherwise they just start slacking around

  4. Always have to be on your toes when dealing with teens! I don't know, if given the chance, I would rather get it done in the classroom then have to do homework in the evening.


    1. Me too! Which is why when I first started getting the arguments I tried to explain why doing it in class would be better. What I wasn't thinking about was that these are the kiddos that probably won't do it anyway, so giving them a reasonable explanation isn't going to change their minds.

  5. Aha! Great one and glad you found what works. Not just kids but people will always try to get away with things


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