To help keep the parents apprised of the assignments their children are not completing in class, I first stamp the papers with a rubber stamp.
Then, I circle the appropriate comments and send the assignments home to be completed. (See note below.)
It works great, and the parents appreciate the "heads-up" they receive.
However, before I can take advantage of the comments that read "Does Not Understand Concept" and "Needs More Help," I have to know the level of support being offered by the parents at home. Otherwise, someone is going to complain that I'm not doing my job as the teacher.
This is why, at the beginning of the school year, I send home a copy of the survey shown to the left. The information I gather about each family from the returned surveys will show me which students can get help at home and which ones can't. Thus, I'll know if it's okay to circle "Does Not Understand Concept" or "Needs More Help."
This feedback, which I record on a grade sheet for easy access, really helps to lighten my load. Knowing which students will be getting extra help at home enables me to spend more of my before-school and after-school tutoring time with the students who won't be receiving the same degree of support.
Note: See the New Management Handbook, Lesson 9: The First Aid Kit, for more information about how to effectively deal with unfinished assignments.