Homework Twists - Part One

Homework?!  Why does it have to be such a hassle?  Who knew that assigning, grading, and managing homework would be so time consuming?  In fact, I’ve found that one of the most tedious tasks is tracking down students with missing assignments and managing makeup work.  

This homework chase got me thinking...

Then, I remembered that there are two assignments that 100% of my students complete every year.  Yes, ALL of my students, even the ones who never complete homework, hand in these assignments.  One assignment is when they bring in song lyrics and the other is when they write a poem and then completely dirty it up.  I love those days.  My students are practically giddy coming into the classroom and begging to share their work.  Now...the other 180 days of the year...I was lucky to get 3/4 of the class to hand in their work.  I knew I needed to switch things up in the homework department, so I started infusing some homework twists into regular homework assignments.  Here are 3 homework twists that have worked for me...and the results...well, there’s nothing like a room full of students proud and excited about HOMEWORK!

Homework Motivator #1:  Break all the homework rules and tell students that instead of perfect, neat assignments, you want them to bring in the dirtiest and messiest homework ever.  Tell students that they can run over their work with their bikes, soak it in ketchup, or tear it into bits.  They just have to bring it in sealed in a plastic bag.  Also, have them create a clean version that you can actually grade.  Yes, that means that they do their homework twice (very tricky), but they don’t care. They all try to outdo each other in dirtiness.  It’s so fun!

Homework Motivator #2:  Tell your students that they don’t have to do their homework.  All they have to do is find someone else to do it for them.  It could be their parent, sibling, friend or neighbor.  Then, all they have to do is grade the homework (which means that they actually have to do the work to get the correct answers - sneaky, right?).  The next day they should hand in the homework already graded.  Super motivating!

Homework Motivator #3:  Have students answer their homework in a secret code.  The secret code can be something you create - like assigning numbers to letters or pig-Latin or you can have students create their own code and provide a code-cracking key.  You could even have students write all their answers backwards. This is a super fun and engaging way to get students motivated about doing their homework.
Each of these ideas have truly helped increase the homework completion in my classroom. It's amazing what a little novelty can do. They even inspired this resource!  It's filled with 25 Homework Task Cards that you just staple to any ordinary assignment.  

So easy!  So fun!


  1. I love this post!! I'm going to try one of these this week! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Love the "You be the teacher," activities. I can see kids really having fun with that one!


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