6 Tips for Assigning Homework Packets in Algebra 2

Are you still trying to decide on a homework method that works in your classroom? Assigning homework can be a bit polarizing, but weekly homework packets struck a balance in my classroom that helped balance my mixed feelings about assigning homework.

It took a few years to fine-tune my procedures, but here are my tips for smooth implementation of weekly homework packets in algebra.

Tip 1: Assign Wednesday to Wednesday

I’ve tried Wednesday-Wednesday and Thursday-Thursday but I’m a big fan of Wednesdays because I found that more students were at school on Wednesdays! This way, the assignment isn’t due early in the week, but you still have time to grade absent work before the week’s end.

Scheduling Monday through Friday sounds good on paper but then you have Monday holidays or Friday pep rallies so just pick a good day in the middle of the week and stick with it.

I always treated short weeks as full weeks because students always had a week’s notice about their homework packet due date!

Tip 2: Have a Default Format

Have a template for your homework packet. In Geometry and Algebra 2, my team would assign two spiral reviews as homework for the week for students enrolled in at-level courses.

In my advanced classes, I liked to create my homework packets using two spiral reviews and one or two old-ish practice pages. I aimed for about four days’ worth of homework even though the students had seven days to complete it.

Check out a sample homework packet in the Math Beach Freebie Library!

Tip 3: Provide Access Online

If you use a learning management system or a password-protected class website that only students and/or parents have access to, post your homework packet there!
This way students that panic and realize they forgot their homework still have a way to access it. I even had students write out the answers on notebook paper if they didn’t have a way to print it out and I absolutely accepted that because they took the initiative to solve a problem themselves.

Tip 4: Send Due Date Reminder

Sending an email reminder to parents and students through your learning management system or gradebook management system is a fantastic way to increase student responsibility and decrease parent discontent.

Since my homework packets were always due Wednesday to Wednesday, I wrote my parent emails in our gradebook management system a month ahead of time and scheduled them to be sent out the morning before the homework packet was due. I had more than one parent emailed me to say they were so grateful for the homework reminder emails.

Parents definitely want to know what’s happening in their 15 and 16-year-old students lives and would much rather be warned about homework deadlines ahead of time rather than find out about their students’ missing homework when they see a zero in the gradebook.

Need some help writing common parent emails? Download a free template for homework reminder emails here!

Tip 5: Have Students Self-Grade

There’s a lot of great reasons to have students grade their own homework. I am a huge fan because it gives students immediate feedback, it saves teachers time, and it increases student accountability.

Worried about cheating while grading? Check out these tips on how to implement a no-cheat homework grading system!

Tip 6: Grade for Completion and Accuracy

I know grading policies vary widely, so adapt to fit school policy as needed.

Grade using a completion/accuracy hybrid if possible!

If a student completed every problem on my homework packet they could get a 50 even if every single one is wrong. Here’s the catch - the answers must be reasonable or include reasonable work. I would spot check the homework when recording grades and adjust as needed.

I chose to give half credit for problems that students tried but missed, full credit for correct answers, and no credit for questions that students totally skipped.

Don't forget to download a sample Algebra 2 homework packet from the Math Beach Freebie Library!

Are you team homework packet? Check out 4 Reasons to Try Homework Packets in Algebra 2 to help decide!