Homework?

September 9, 2010 at 6:13 AM 1 comment

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.

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Entry filed under: Assessment and grading, Class Management, Starting the School Year. Tags: , .

Growing minds with a re-do policy? Do-It-Yourself first! Projects, labs, assignments..

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Karen Snelson  |  September 12, 2010 at 8:36 PM

    I used to think that working at home after school was the time that students could reflect on what we did during class and connect it to the big concepts in life science or apply it to the real world. Then I had my own kids go through the school.

    Now, I like to have them collect data out of school and bring it into class to share, or do a field study, or survey their family. These are things we can’t do in class but need for the next days activity or analysis. I agree that if we assign it, we need to use it.

    Sometimes HW is to complete what we started in class and I try to keep it to 20 minutes or less. Most of my students do finish in class but some need the time at home.

    I also don’t expect home work time to be the time for higher order thinking. I find that is best done where they can share and discuss their thinking with teammates and get feedback from me. I get a much better response than what kids can come up with alone at the end of the day. I also know that this is their work not that of the parents.

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