IDK – I Don’t Know. (Title for this post blatantly borrowed from Mr. K over at Math Stories.)
Yesterday while talking with a student and her parent I had a brainwave! As a math teacher, when I check homework, it is mostly just to check that it’s been done. I know that there is a lot of copying going on, I know that there are arguments for and against homework. I’ve certainly toned down the amount of homework that I give over the past few years, particularly as I have been teaching more and more middle school classes. What drives me absolutely batty, though, is when I look at a blank piece of paper and the student gives me the “I didn’t know how to do anything and I looked at each problem and didn’t know what to do for any of them” spiel. That could very well be true. That could also very well be untrue. How am I to know? (Some say I’m pessimistic.)
So here’s the solution that I thought of right in the middle of my conversation: if you find yourself in this situation, instead of leaving it blank, write down the questions that you have about the problem!
Simple, elegant, and everybody is happy. Why did it take me years, YEARS, to come up with that?
What are you solutions to IDK on homework?