Friday, January 24, 2014

My Fourth Grade Homework Routine

One of the most frequent comments/questions I get from my readers is about my homework routine.  

My thoughts and feelings on homework have evolved over the years. During the course of my career, I have done weekly homework, packets, and nightly homework.  There are many sides to the homework debate.  Many agree it isn't effective or beneficial, and some argue that does have merit. 

I fall somewhere in the middle. I believe that homework can promote responsibility and study habits.  I also believe that what if I'm asking my students to work hard at home, what I send home should have merit and should be beneficial. The text that you read below is an update (8/7/19) with my current homework routine. 

My students main responsibility for their homework is studying and preparing for our weekly spelling test.  To promote my students learning study skills/habits, I have my students take a pretest to know which words they will need to spend extra time with.  Our list is a district mandated list from our reading curriculum. 

For the first few weeks of school, I give the pretest in class.  The students then choose spelling activities from our monthly spelling contract to help them study.  You can find the monthly spelling contracts file {here}

Below is our classroom guideline for our spelling contract.

  • 1-2 words missed- Earn five points 
  • 3-5 words missed- Earn fifteen points 
  • 6+ words missed- Complete a five point activity nightly/daily.
We also teach the students to use cover, copy, compare to give their own pretest, in case they aren't able to have someone at home to give him/her a pretest. I also utilize high school helpers for pretests as well. 

You can even implement this pretest idea in your classroom for word work! The number of words missed determines how many points your students will need to earn throughout the week.  The directions are editable, so can come up with a routine that best meets your classroom needs. 

Some weeks, but not all weeks, I may include a reading sheet. Typically these reading sheets practice our weekly skill.  Below is an example of a week that studied theme.  Most students received the "Amusement Park" passage, and my enrichment/gifted students received the "Getting Away With It" passage. 
I mainly include a passage here and there for for students to independently practice written responses, going back into the text for the answer, and to give parents a peek at what we are learning in class. 

Typically, homework goes home on Friday and is due the following Friday.  I also encourage my students to read at home, but do not require a reading log. The title of any books that they have read go on their 40 Book Challenge Log. 

This sums up my CURRENT homework routine, however, I have left the original post from 1/24/14 below, as many pins direct to this post... 
My kiddos are expected to read 60 minutes a week.  Packets originally went home on Monday and were due Friday, so this was twenty minutes a night.  A lot of families wanted the spelling homework/words available so they could start studying over the weekend.  Packets now go home on Friday and are due the following Friday.  Some of my kids also work towards their reading minutes on the weekend too. Most of my kids LOVE reading so it's not uncommon to see reading log minutes in excess of one hundred or two hundred minutes. :) 

The next two pages have to do with their spelling homework.  I'm not in love with our spelling program but it comes with our basal and we are required to use it.  The kiddos earn ten points from my monthly spelling contracts each week and also complete a word sort page with their spelling words. 

The last two pages are response questions for their at home reading that week. 

My students choose four questions each week, they can't repeat questions, to answer on the recording page each week.   It's a great way to get even more practice responding to the texts they read! Currently, I use this file as a reading response activity in class.

I look over the homework on Friday afternoons before I head home.  It's worked out great because we don't loose any additional class checking homework together each day and the additional practice at home with our spelling words and reading have really benefited my students.  

If you are interested in the reading response sheet that I use with my students, I have added it to my Reading Response Questions for Practically any book freebie. 

I just gave the entire file a facelift! I originally blogged about how I use this resource {here}.  To download, just click on the image above or {here}

Happy weekend, friends! I'm off to cuddle with my puppies. It's so cold here in Ohio! 


  1. Thank you for this informational post! Our homework routine is very similar! How do you motivate your students to turn in their homework? I have several students who rarely make an effort to turn it in and their parents do not seem to worry.

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  2. I really like the response questions. We will be using them. Thanks it looks great.
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  3. love this!! Thank you! I am already thinking about how to use this with my kids!

  4. I love this idea! I couldn't stand daily homework either, so I started doing weekly packets. I teach all subjects in my 4th grade class, but this is a good way to incorporate literacy :) Thanks!

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  5. How do families respond to that much homework? I assign homework Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights, but it's optional. I struggle with homework because A) I see the importance of reinforcing concepts at home and the fact that homework will become a required skill in later grades so it is good to ease into it and B) the fact that families have so much going on in the evenings already and do I really want kids spending more time with school work in the evenings, a break is important. So, I guess I'm just curious if it gets done consistently by all families. Thanks!

  6. I think weekly homework is the way to go! Families are so busy.

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  7. I go back and forth between daily vs. weekly homework. As a parent I love the packets, but there are times as a teacher that I don't get to everything and worry about assigning things that I haven't covered. I also have many kids/families that don't put an emphasis on homework so I've started a monthly homework club where students who completed all of their homework during the month stay in at recess with me for a movie and treat. I'm hoping will help.

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