Yes, I think some homework is fine for middle school kids if carefully thought out and NOT BUSY WORK. Mind you, who’s going to admit to assigning busy work?
So here’s some stuff that usually works for me/my students. Not always, and in a school-oriented population. But still, kids are kids…
1. Students need to be clear on the purpose and expectations for the homework. I have to spend time going over it if I want them to spend time doing it.
2. Hwk for two purposes:
- practice/review of stuff started in class when it helps to have it started in class.
- Extending what they are learning in class to their own world – photo assignments, researching something, bringing in something etc. I have to DO the homework myself first to check it’s do-able and fun(ish) plus I then have a model to show them. (Same for projects, by the way – note to self here!)
3. Grade it in front of them as the class is invovled in individual activities. Give feedback and allow redos so the feedback acts as individual coaching rather than criticism. A nuiciance at first, but it’s really changing the culture and completion rates, specially for my under achievers.
4. Post grades after the redos are due, so there is accountability and transparency.
Hard work for some homework, but if it’s worth them doing, then I guess that’s the trade-off I make.