The No Homework Binder: How to Document the Excuses!

Ahhhh  homework… the dreaded word that makes kids groan… not to mention teachers when we have to deal with the million excuses as to why the homework didn’t get done the next day.  Read my post on why I think homework is necessary… but evil… here…

After 5 years of teaching and having to deal with the homework issue, I have found a way to document all those times it doesn’t get done…. in one place… and can whip it out in no time during parent teacher conferences.  Yes… this idea has been one of my save-all’s when it comes to conferences.

Behold…. The No Homework Binder.

Simple…. beyond simple…. yet it holds so much power!
 If you like the cover, you can download it from here.
All you need is a 3 ring binder… a 1 inch binder would be fine.
Get some of these dividers.

Give each student one of these sheets.

All they need to do is put their first and last name and their homeroom teacher.

Pick up all your sheets and put all of them behind to correct dividers.

You can find my download sheets also in the tab on the right at the bottom under “Files to Share.”

Within the first week of school, I explain the “No Homework Binder.”  I explain to the kids that
  • For the most part, I will only assign math homework.
  • Homework will only be given on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.  (Wednesday many of my kids have church, so I dont assign on this day.)
  • Homework assignments will not take students longer than 30 minutes to complete.
  • I understand if you once in a blue moon do not do your homework due to an emergency, but when you are consistently not doing it, that is when it becomes a problem.
  • When homework is not done, fill out the table in the no homework binder.
  • I give a Test grade at the end of the 9 weeks grading period.  If you did all assignments, you get a 100.  Each one you did not do is -5 points from that 100.  
  • Parents will be contacted if you miss 3 assignments in a row.

Now when the kids want to give me a million excuses as to why their homework is not done I just tell them I don’t want to hear it and write it in the binder. I will look at it later.  While students do their warm up, I stop by the binder and just do a quick look to see that it was filled out by those who did not do the assignment.  The most popular reasoning under “Because…” is “I forgot.”

And that’s it.  Usually when a parent wants to talk to me about their child’s work, I whip out my binder, and there….. in their child’s own handwriting is the continuous confessions as to why they did not do their homework.

 I love having the students document this.  This binder has been so easy to keep up with, its been amazing and best of all I have the documentation for the whole year in one spot.
Do you hear that?? Its the sigh of relief!

38 thoughts on “The No Homework Binder: How to Document the Excuses!

  1. Thanks so much yall for the kind words!!! This binder has truly been a lifesaver.

    Thanks for thinking of me Donna!!! I soooo appreciate it:)

  2. What an awesome idea! We have a computer program to log all the information into, but this makes the students accountable. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Neat & simple! I tried doing the Pink Slips for no homework as recommended by Harry Wong in the First 100 Days of School, but it didn't work for me. This, on the other hand, can't fail! Thank you so much for sharing. Sometimes we just have to look at others' ideas for inspiration & motivation, so thanks!!!

  4. We use what is called "Pink Slips" They have to fill in the assignment name and why they didn't have it to turn in on time. It is then stapled in their binder and needs a parent signature…then, when they have the completed assignment, they HAVE to have the pink slip or we don't accept the assignment. It is fabulous an the parents LOVE it!!!

  5. I did the yellow slips that I found on another brilliant teacher's blog. However, they were everywhere and hard to keep track of. I love this system so much better because it is so simple! Great work! 🙂

  6. Thanks for sharing this EASY idea. I tried the pink slips and then I would forget to have copies of them or I would forget to take them up the next day. Hmmm….I sound like one of the students! 🙂

    I'm making this TODAY for next year!! This is great because I will be teaching 4 different classes!


  7. Love this idea!! I did something similar to this, but I couldn't make it stick…it was a bit more complicated! I can't wait to implement this, I think it will work perfect in my classroom!

  8. Awesome! I actually have stack of "tickets" that students are to attach to work -yellow for legitimate make up work, pink for late work, and green for work they did not do. They fill out the sheets and it's easier for me to tell how to grade – whether no points off or points per day late. This also helped with documentation for special ed students who have as a modification "extended time." Kinda complicated, but when parents see a stack of pink and green in their kid's folder, it's easier for them to understand what is going on in the classroom.

  9. Wow. What a great idea. I have a child who has a case of the "I forgots" He missed so many assingments last year. This I will be sharing with his teacher so her and I can work together on solving the "I forgots" issue. THANK YOU! She will be excited to see this.

  10. I love this idea and plan on using it. The only change I'm going to make is to somehow incorporate a spot in the notebook where they are allowed to make their homework up. I will give them a set number of days and if it is turned in, they will be able to go over to the notebook and check that they have turned it in. This will give them a sense of accomplishment. I always believe in giving second chances.

  11. Great idea! I agree with GIGI in giving second chances. At our school we have a success lunch program. Students who do not do their homework eat their lunch and work with a certified teacher to get the assignment completed. This allows the students who don't have the support at home, didn't understand the assignment, or just forgot to do it the opportunity to get it completed. This has been a huge success at our school, especially for those who do not have support at home (who are usually our frequent flyers).

  12. Hi! I found this idea and your blog on Pinterest! I love the idea, but I have a couple, quick implementation questions. When do your students log their missing homework? I know you said it's before your warm up. Is it immediately when they walk in the door? Also, is there a back-logged line of kids waiting to fill it out? I often have many students not complete their homework, so I worry that they will be hanging out in line, enjoying the social time as opposed to quickly filling it out. Do you find that this is a problem? I teach 7th grade and use small slips that they can take, fill out at their seat, and turn it in when the student turn in the HW. I would like to put it all on the same page per kid, as opposed to small slips per assignment, but I just need some clarification as to the flow. Thank you for the idea and answering my questions. 🙂

  13. I like this idea, but like Kelly T said, I have some implementation issues. i have done slips in the past (3 to a page), I am going to use the whole page for a single child. When I check homework, I will give each student their page if they don't have their homework. Then I can collect it and file it. Hopefully this will hold students more accountable when they see their page(s) filling up and their friends are blank. I usually make the copies on VERY bright paper, so everyone notices who did not have the homework.

  14. I have been using this since school started. most students have only had to fill out one or two excuses (if any) I only have one who already has a full page (he did the same thing last year;there is no home support of any kind). THis seems to be very effective. Most of te excuses are "I forgot" or "its in my locker"

  15. So HAPPY this idea has brought you all some success and help 🙂 I pray and hope that all your school years are wonderful!!! Thank you so much for reading, pinning, and spreading the idea 🙂

  16. I'm not a teacher, but that is brilliant! I wish teachers had this when I was in school because sometimes it's embarrassing to be the only student that forgot their homework. This seems like it would be better for everyone! great idea!

  17. Great ideas for documenting lack of homework completion. I can already picture pulling out the No Homework Binder during a parent conference and how useful this tool will be. Hopefully it will also motivate students to NOT have to fill it out.

    I plan to share this post with my Middle School Math Treasures newsletter subscribers from tomorrow.

    Thanks for sharing this with all of us!

  18. Have you ever had a child say their parent said that they didn't have to do it? I wonder what would happen in that case! I can imagine the parent conference that would then take place… mighty uncomfortable if that excuse came up again and again!

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