A Plateful of Ideas

We’re excited to welcome Scipi back to the blog today! She’s sharing a really fun homework idea that she likes to call a Plateful of Ideas! We hope it gives you lots of ideas!

Are your students failing to turn in their homework? Do you want to spice up your homework routine? Our guest blogger shares a fun homework alternative that she calls a plateful of ideas! Her suggestions are for primary grades, but the idea can be easily adapted to any grade level. Click through to read more!

When I taught the primary grades in a Title I school, I often found homework was seldom returned. I knew I had to come up with an idea that would be unique: something the parents would recognize as homework and something the kids would want to complete. Thus, a Plateful of Ideas was created.

What this entailed was using paper plates on which the assignment was to be completed. I bought about 300 at the local dollar store. The children wrote their name on the back of the plate, and I would put the assignment on the front. (Since I didn’t want to write it 25 times, I would copy it, and then glue it to the center of the plate). Some sample assignments were:

Are your students failing to turn in their homework? Do you want to spice up your homework routine? Our guest blogger shares a fun homework alternative that she calls a plateful of ideas! Her suggestions are for primary grades, but the idea can be easily adapted to any grade level. Click through to read more!

  1. Find pictures of things that are the color blue and paste them on your plate.
  2. Find words that start with the letter “S” and glue them on your plate.
  3. Find things that come in pairs or twos. Paste the pictures on your plate. You may also draw items that come in twos.
  4. Write as many ways as you can to add and get the answer of ten.
  5. Write at least eight different three-digit numbers on your plate.
  6. Find pictures or draw pictures of at least six vegetables.
  7. Around the rim (circumference – I like to use proper mathematical language with my students) of the paper plate, write the numbers from 1-25.
  8. Around the rim (circumference) of the paper plate, write all the alphabet letters as capitals.
  9. On the plate, draw your family, including your pets.

The next day, those children who brought their plate back with the assignment completed would receive a small reward for doing so, such as a sticker, a small box of raisins, a new eraser, a new pencil, etc. (I love the Oriental Trading Company for this!) I would place the reward on their plate which, of course, would bring a big smile. No plate = no reward! As you can imagine, few plates were left at home, and a few assignments were incomplete. I then displayed the plates in the classroom and used them during the day for sharing or reteaching or for just praising a child. Since the child’s name was on the reverse side, I could hang them up on the hall bulletin board, as well.

I did not do this assignment every day, but at least once a week, the children would have a Plateful of Ideas assignment to complete. Parents liked it because when they saw the paper plate, they knew their child had homework. Children were encouraged by their parents to complete the assignment; so, besides the physical reward, they were given the much needed parental encouragement to do homework. I found it to be a win-win situation for everyone.

So, if your plate isn’t too full right now, I hope you will give this idea a try.

Scipi Signature


I have the unique name of Scipi which was derived from the word “science” (my husband teaches 8th grade science) and “pi” (I teach math). I’ve been teaching since the “earth cooled,” 40+ years. I have experience in about every grade but kindergarten. I currently teach mathphobics at a community college while at the same time developing math and science materials for Teachers Pay Teachers.

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