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Posts Tagged ‘Homework’

The Ultimate Homework Task

July 11, 2018

 

Thank you Dr. Jessica Smock for being the inspiration behind my most daring and interesting homework idea yet.

I have never been a big fan of homework. If my school didn’t have a homework policy and I could be convinced that my students would use the extra time at home doing something more constructive than playing video games and binge watching Netflix series, I would be quite comfortable to excuse my students from having to submit weekly homework tasks.

But then I read an article that would allow me to give an anti-homework form of homework. The article written by Dr. Smock, entitled, “31 Things Your Kids Should be Doing Instead of Homework“, charts a series of activities from playing an instrument to hanging out with a grandparent that our kids could be doing in the place of homework. It also explains why these alternate activities are better for the child’s health and development. It’s a wonderful article.

After reading it, I immediately came up with a plan. What if I give 2 weeks for my students to complete and document all 31 tasks. For the tricky ones like learning to knit or volunteering at an animal shelter they could use their imagination and come up with alternatives which are true to the spirit of the ones listed.

My students loved the idea. I have never seen them so enthusiastic about homework. Every day for 2 weeks we had informal discussions about how many items each child had managed to document and how they cleverly negotiated some of the activities which were difficult for them to perform.

I can’t recommend this idea more highly.

 

Click on the link to read Stop Giving Kids Useless Homework

Click on the link to read Cats vs Homework. What Could Help Children More?

Click on the link to read New Graph Revealing How Much Time is Spent on Homework Around the World

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Stop Giving Kids Useless Homework

October 22, 2015

useless-homework

Put questions over the merits of homework to a side for a moment and focus on a much more important question: What is the benefit of giving homework that doesn’t reflect a skill or skills currently taught in the class?

Too often teachers photocopy a random comprehension exercise or mental maths worksheet and call it homework. That isn’t homework – it’s time wasting!

Homework should reflect the concepts and skills covered in class during that week. If it doesn’t, it shouldn’t be prescribed:

 

A WILLIAMSTOWN family is in a stand-off with the local primary school over homework for their nine-year-old daughter that they believe is of “little to no value”.

Mother Lara Wood told the principal of Williamstown North Primary school, Jim Cahill, that she and her husband had decided they would not force year 3 daughter Leia to complete out of school work unless they felt it was more valuable than free time.

Ms Wood said she was “very surprised” to receive an email from Mr Cahill saying compulsory homework is school policy and if Leia did not complete it her grades may be marked down and she may be kept in at recess or lunchtime.

“I was really taken aback (that) he was saying I really don’t have a choice, if she doesn’t do the homework she’ll be kept in, which really upset me that she would be feeling punished,” said Ms Wood.

 

Whilst I don’t condone Ms. Wood’s protestations – she does have a point.

 

Click on the link to read Cats vs Homework. What Could Help Children More?

Click on the link to read New Graph Revealing How Much Time is Spent on Homework Around the World

Click on the link to read What is Your Position on the Homework Debate?

Click on the link to read The Adult Version of the Dog that Ate my Homework

Cats vs Homework. What Could Help Children More?

March 16, 2015

cate-homework

Teacher and writer, David MacLean, is of the belief that a cat is more beneficial for children than homework:

 

I hate homework. Or rather, I hate the emphasis placed on the academic tasks set by schools and teachers to be done at home. I don’t have a problem with true “home work”, however.

I have two students – siblings – who are the product of the “tiger mother” mentality. They ask for homework. Their school gives them homework and their tutors give them homework. They insist on being given homework, as if it will somehow make them better students and better academics. It won’t.

Research indicates that homework of the academic kind has minimal benefits – if any at all. Studies have indicated there is no correlation between homework and improved academic achievement. Indeed, some of the poorest academic results come from countries with high homework expectations. In France, President Francois Hollande has introduced educational reforms to ban homework. There are inequities when it comes to those who have parental support at home or access to technology and even tutors who will help them with that homework.

The “home work” of which I approve is a different variety. I was astonished when those two students of mine were awed by a cat leaping on to the top of a fence. They were amazed at the feline dexterity with which it made its way along a beam and found its way into a tree, generating squawks of fear from the resident birds. In my conversation with them, I discovered that these two charges of mine did not really know much about cats. Their parents did not let them keep one and they were too busy going from tutor to tutor to have time to look after a cat. There was a whole world of wonder that was being denied them for the sake of academic efficiency. There was no time to pause and wonder.

There is much to be gained from “home work” where such reflection over a task is possible. That time to read a book simply because it is fascinating or because you are absorbed in the way it is written is essential. Think about what you could learn from kicking around a footy – the co-ordination, the bad language when you fluff a kick, the need to learn social skills to have someone kick the ball back to you.

Mucking in at dinner time preparing the salad to go with the meal or learning how to avoid cutting yourself when slicing vegetables for the casserole are all skills and part of a larger contextualised learning. These activities give meaning and purpose to what we do in the classroom – or, at least, they should. It is often hard to see how what we do in class has application in the wider world. More often than not, the purpose of school work is assessment.

Most importantly, “home work” should be undertaken with parents as participants rather than supervisors. That conversation you have will build vocabulary. That book you read to your child will create a sense of the importance of literature. The article you discuss from the newspaper will help build a greater perspective of the world and what we should value.

Those students of mine were picked up in an SUV and whisked away to a piano lesson or some other tutorial session. In the back of my mind was the notion of organising an excursion to the RSPCA where cats can be adopted. Unfortunately, that institution would prefer families with time to spare and who would delight in what a cat could teach them. There is a catalogue of wonder in “home work”. The other homework simply makes you catatonic.

 

Click on the link to read New Graph Revealing How Much Time is Spent on Homework Around the World

Click on the link to read What is Your Position on the Homework Debate?

Click on the link to read The Adult Version of the Dog that Ate my Homework

Click on the link to read Fourth Graders Quizzed about Infidelity in Homework Assignment

Click on the link to read Young Child Shows Dissatisfaction with his Homework (Photo)

 

 

New Graph Revealing How Much Time is Spent on Homework Around the World

December 18, 2014

homework

Those who are against homework are probably shaking their heads right now.

 

Click on the link to read What is Your Position on the Homework Debate?

Click on the link to read The Adult Version of the Dog that Ate my Homework

Click on the link to read Fourth Graders Quizzed about Infidelity in Homework Assignment

Click on the link to read Young Child Shows Dissatisfaction with his Homework (Photo)

Click on the link to read Why I Changed My Mind About Homework

The Questions that Great Teachers Ask Every Day

December 11, 2014

question

Courtesy of the wonderful Mark Barnes. I particularly like question 3:

 

1-What if my homework assignments are a waste of time?

Facebook is rife with parent complaints about homework. There are numerous Facebook pages and groups dedicated to abolishing the horrible homework practices that contribute nothing to learning and ignite a hatred of school in many children. Here is one example of traditional homework that a friend recently posted; oh, it’s worth noting that this homework was for a seven-year-old:

Tuesday homework: 1. Math worksheet 2. Read aloud 1 page story, answer 3 comprehension questions and have it signed 3. Put 14 spelling words in ABC order 4. Sort all spelling words by noun, verb, adjective, or “other” 5. Pick a word from each category and write a sentence, underlining the spelling words 6. Read 26 page storybook aloud, have sheet signed 7. “Optional homework” read silently for 20 minutes.

Great teachers recognize that burying a second grader in piles of senseless homework serves no purpose. Spelling homework is one of the biggest wastes of time in the history of bad homework. The only useful part of the above assignment is the optional part–voluntary reading. This homework assignment is a crutch for either an ill-prepared newbie or a tired veteran who lives in a that’s-the-way-I’ve-always-done-it world.

2-What if my students use mobile devices?

A fantastic, fearless teacher understands that learning simply can’t be measured.

Today’s classrooms are filled with iStudents. Kids who come to school with billions of resources in the palms of their hands, only to be told by teachers and school administrators to leave these powerful assets in their lockers or, worse, at home. Great teachers realize that we live in the digital age, and they are not threatened by the idea that students can become amazing independent learners, using mobile learning devices, web tools and social media. The best teachers realize that embracing mobile learning is the future of education.

3-What if my planned class activity is boring?

Far too many teachers rely on ancient textbooks, dusty worksheets, canned lectures, and last year’s multiple choice tests as their go-to teaching tools. “Kids need discipline, and learning doesn’t have to be fun,” they argue. Great teachers, though, say “Learning should always be fun.” Great teachers envision lessons and class activities and say, “If it isn’t going to be engaging and fun,” I’m throwing it out.

4-What if my room is noisy and chaotic?

A teacher walked into my classroom one day and said, “Wow! It’s kind of crazy in here.” When I informed her that we liked it this way, she shrugged, shook her head and quickly disappeared. For a very long time, my classroom was quiet and orderly. Students wouldn’t dream of leaving their seats without permission, and most would consider peeing their pants before asking me for a bathroom break. Fear and control were the order of the day, and learning was at best a rumor. After one amazing summer of change, I rebuilt my attitude and my classroom. Students worked collaboratively, moved about freely, talked openly, laughed, jumped, shouted and, best of all, had fun. Show me a silent room, and I’m betting it’s a place that is bereft of real learning.

5-What if I don’t grade this?

The thought of a class without traditional grades makes many teachers shudder and scoff. A fantastic, fearless teacher understands that learning simply can’t be measured. It’s impossible to effectively assess with numbers, percentages and letters. The best teachers give their students objective feedback. They observe and ask questions; they provide alternatives. Most important, they encourage students to revisit prior learning and rework activities in an effort to achieve mastery. The best teachers help kids understand that failure is necessary and should never be punished with a low mark.

6-What if the Common Core is just another bad idea concocted by bureaucrats?

Even if they think the Common Core might be a good thing (there’s no evidence right now that it is), the best teachers question Common Core State Standards and high stakes testing every day of their lives. Great teachers may see how the Common Core can be successfully integrated into some classes, but they always wonder if their own standards and learning outcomes that their students want are the best standards for our children. The best teachers know how to teach. They don’t need a prescription dreamed up by nonprofits to tell them what is right for their students.

 

Click on the link to read Learning as an Experience

Click on the link to read I Love it When Teachers are Excited to Come to Work

Click on the link to read Every Science Teacher’s Worst Nightmare (Video)

What is Your Position on the Homework Debate?

September 28, 2014

hwork

I used to be very much against homework, but have softened my stance insomuch as I believe that homework is preferable to hours watching television or playing on a game console. It is interesting that experts are still divided on this matter:

 

DESPERATE parents are hiring private tutors to turbo-charge their children’s education because they are unhappy with the amount and quality of homework set by schools.

Education experts are so divided about the merits of homework that growing numbers of families are signing up their children for outside coaching to supplement classwork.

Education insiders have told The Saturday Telegraph that homework policies vary enormously between schools and often between teachers at the same school.

The homework row has been fuelled by a parliamentary inquiry in Victoria that found it had almost no academic benefits for primary school students.

And in France a plan by President Francois Hollande to abolish homework in French schools reignited a long-running debate.

The Australian Tutoring Association said many parents enrolled their children in private coaching to ensure they received “structured support” outside of school.

Chief executive Mohan Dhall said homework was often given to primary school children without explaining why it was set and without an obvious reason and purpose.

“There does not seem to be a sense of order or purpose about school homework — just an ad-hoc program that does not always meet the needs of kids,” Mr Dhall said. “A lot of parents think it is unstructured — additional work for children needs to be meaningful and engage them in higher-order thinking.”

Teachers argue there is no one-size-fits-all policy for homework.

Some experts claim children should spend their time after school playing and letting their brains wind down so they can get a good night’s sleep to absorb the day’s learning.

Newly released data reveals Australian children have the fifth greatest homework load globally, with 15-year-olds receiving about six hours’ a week compared to the OECD average of 4.9 hours.

The research shows private school students do about two hours of homework more than their peers in public schools.

Schools are also facing a groundswell of opposition to homework as doctors advise it is bad for children’s sleep and educators and academics claim it is of little benefit.

 

Click on the link to read The Adult Version of the Dog that Ate my Homework

Click on the link to read Fourth Graders Quizzed about Infidelity in Homework Assignment

Click on the link to read Young Child Shows Dissatisfaction with his Homework (Photo)

Click on the link to read Why I Changed My Mind About Homework

Click on the link to read Leave Parents Alone When it Comes to Homework

Forget About Homework

July 7, 2014

 

You want to set your children up for life?

Well, forget about fighting over homework, investing in tutors and purchasing standardised testing practice manuals.

Sing with your children. Play with them on the mat. Open up the Lego box. Talk about life. Celebrate their skills.

Work is important as is a formal education and all that comes with it.

But is there anything better than quality time?

And don’t tell me maths homework is quality time.

 

Click on the link to read Why the Call to Fine Parents for Not Reading to Their Children is Utter Stupidity

Click on the link to read Children are Precious!

Click on the link to read Is it Ever OK to Lie to Your Kids?

Click on the link to read 9 Characteristics of a Great Teacher According to Parents

Click on the link to read 9 Secrets for Raising Happy Children

Click on the link to read Brilliant Prank Photos Show Parenting at its Worst

 

 

An Example of Teacher Sanctioned Torture at its Worst

January 6, 2014

 

eye

When the price of a completed piece of homework is worth more than the dignity and welfare of a student you get a true indication that the teacher responsible doesn’t belong in the classroom.

This teacher doesn’t belong out of the classroom, but off the streets altogether:

A CHINESE boy has undergone eye surgery after he was slapped in the face around 40 times by his classmates, under the direction of his teacher.

The 12-year-old from Henan, Dou, was punished by the teacher for not finishing his homework, the Shanghaiist reports. “Whoever’s slapping is loudest will get a prize,” the teacher reportedly told students.

“After being slapped, the teacher then made me do push-ups, and did not allow me to eat lunch. Later that night, I found out that I couldn’t see properly from my left eye,” Dou said.

Dou’s mother Wang contacted the boy’s school principal when learned what had taken place. “The principal told me he would take care of it,” she said. “I didn’t know the damage was so severe. The doctor had told me my child’s eye might not be cured.”

Deng Baozhen, Dou’s teacher who commanded the slapping, claimed that punishing the children helped them to progress in class, according to reports.

“The school has given us 30,000 [yuan] ($5489) as compensation, but after one surgery had to be done, we’ve already spent it all,” Wang said.

The school’s principal said the teacher has been detained by police.

 

 

Click on the link to read What if she were a Man?

Click on the link to read Teacher Allegedly Published the Grades of her Students by Writing on their Foreheads

Click on the link to read You Can’t Foster Tolerance With Racist Teachers

Click on the link to read The Teacher that Defended Hitler and Child Abuse and Advocated Porn

Click on the link to read The Worst Thing a Teacher Can Ever Say to a Student

The Adult Version of the Dog that Ate my Homework

January 5, 2014

tax

It seems that excuses for not submitting homework doesn’t stop at the end of Elementary school. Adults have had a go at the humorous, yet totally ineffective ploy of making excuses for not doing their homework. Although, in their case it’s not maths or a book report, but rather their tax returns!

The following are the top ten excuses for not having submitted a tax return:

1. My pet goldfish died (self-employed builder)

2. I had a run-in with a cow (Midlands farmer)

3. After seeing a volcanic eruption on the news, I couldn’t concentrate on anything else (London woman)

4. My wife won’t give me my mail (self-employed trader)

5. My husband told me the deadline was 31 March, and I believed him (Leicester hairdresser)

6. I’ve been far too busy touring the country with my one-man play (Coventry writer)

7. My bad back means I can’t go upstairs. That’s where my tax return is (a working taxi driver)

8. I’ve been cruising round the world in my yacht, and only picking up post when I’m on dry land (South East man)

9. Our business doesn’t really do anything (Kent financial services firm)

10. I’ve been too busy submitting my clients’ tax returns (London accountant).

Click on the link to read Fourth Graders Quizzed about Infidelity in Homework Assignment

Click on the link to read Young Child Shows Dissatisfaction with his Homework (Photo)

Click on the link to read Why I Changed My Mind About Homework

Click on the link to read Leave Parents Alone When it Comes to Homework

Click on the link to read Parents Urged to do the Job of a Teacher

Fourth Graders Quizzed about Infidelity in Homework Assignment

February 18, 2013

 

gilbert

Apparently one is never too young to delve into the issue of infidelity:

Arizona fourth grader Kyera McCloskey got an accidental lesson in infidelity earlier this week.

According to ABC15, McCloskey and her fellow students at the Playa Del Rey Elementary School in Gilbert, Ariz. were given a very grown-up homework assignment on Monday. The students were prompted to read about various situations, describe what was happening in them and then offer a response or solution. One such “situation” was about a woman finding a hair clip underneath her bed with another woman’s hair in it.

McCloskey suspected the question had to do with cheating, but consulted her mother for clarification.

“I kinda had my mom help me with the answer a little bit because I didn’t want to go too deep into what it was trying to ask me,” she said.

After McCloskey’s mother called the school, the teacher quickly apologized, admitting she had not read the assignment carefully.

“That’s not a subject matter the school needs to bring up to my child,” McCloskey’s mother said.

But this isn’t the first time elementary school students have received an inappropriate homework assignment. In February 2012, parents of a Queens kindergartner were up in arms over a spelling worksheet that included violent images, such as a gun and an armed robber.

 

Click on the link to read Young Child Shows Dissatisfaction with his Homework (Photo)

Click on the link to read Why I Changed My Mind About Homework

Click on the link to read Leave Parents Alone When it Comes to Homework

Click on the link to read Parents Urged to do the Job of a Teacher

Click on the link to read This is What You Get for Doing Your Homework

Click on the link to read Experts Call For Homework to Be Abolished

Click on the link to read The Case in Favour of Homework


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