Mr. W's Plain and Simple Homework Excuse Form! Just add irony!
Tired of students creating unique and completely ridiculous excuses for not completing their homework assignments? Frustrated with parents who never quite believe that their adorable child truly told you that he had been abducted by aliens for bizarre experiments the night before his weekly vocabulary homework was due? Don't hang your head in despair. Let your students who can't seem to complete their homework assignments hang themselves instead! Look no further for the absolute best documentation form I ever used in the classroom - Mr. W's Plain and Simple Homework Excuse Form. When you collect homework assignments, simply hand blank forms to students who have neglected to complete their work for class. Encourage them to write a detailed reason why they were unprepared. (As an incentive, I occasionally offered a few "recovery points" to students who completed the form in lieu of the actual homework grade.) Accept any excuse, no matter how bizarre, ridiculous, blatantly untrue, or crass. Ensure that the students have SIGNED THE FORMS. (This is key.) File the form in a safe place. (I kept manila folders for each student over the course of the year and filed important documents, exceptional assignments, parent emails, etc. for different purposes.) Finally, await that glorious day when you can share them with your lovely little hellions' parents, preferably during parent-teacher-guidance conferences. Parents who review a detailed explanation written and signed by their children claiming that they could not complete simple homework assignments because "The Voice" season finale, the Banana Republic big-box sale, or the marathon Halo 4 session on XBOX LIVE ran longer than they had anticipated often became my best allies in their children's education. And, in all honesty, sharing the completed and signed homework excuse forms appealed to that small, petty side of my teacher's soul that had had enough lame excuses from students and felt that a nice taste of reality might teach them more than the ten-minute homework assignment they had neglected to do.
From a more serious standpoint, the forms serve as early warning indicators - and documentation - for students who might face challenges at home that hinder their success at school. I've used the homework excuse forms as part of my documentation for child study referrals for special education services, guidance referrals for tutoring/remediation services, and even home study referrals for school social workers.