Elizabeth Peterson, the author of this blog post, http://www.theinspiredclassroom.com/2011/10/revising-homework/, got me to thinking about homework.
As a teacher, I gave homework for a couple of reasons. First, and most importantly, because I thought I had to. Then, as I got to be a better teacher and had more to "cover" I gave homework as an extension of the school day. Toward the end of my time in the classroom I used homework as a way to "flip" my instruction. I asked the students to read and take notes on a section of text. The next day we would discuss and do activities about that content. I was on to something, but didn't have much more to use than the textbook or magazines at the time. Now with You Tube, I Pods, email, etc. there are so many options. Not all students have access to the internet or technology at home, so this is still a hurdle, but you have to admit, the resources are out there.
Now as a mother with school age kids new light has been shed on this whole "homework thing". Unless it is purposeful and engaging work, why would students want to or even care about doing it? We could ask ourselves the same question about work that is done inside the school day too. Wink, wink. Students are less likely to retain or comprehend ideas or content that are not meaningful or engaging. So how can we make homework more meaningful and engaging?
Elizabeth Peterson has some great ideas about using tools like Study Island, Study Jams and Spelling City.
-What about assigning You Tube videos to watch on the content you are studying? Better yet have kids create You Tube videos to share in class.
-If you want to keep it simple have students find examples of math, science or reading at home that relate to what your lessons are at school.
-Use Project Based Learning ideas, this gives real purpose to the work. There are many websites out there with sample projects. http://www.bie.org/videos/cat/example_projects
-Quizzing Mom, Dad and siblings about topics or skills from class.
-Help your teacher out by writing the next math test, don't forget to include the answers!
-Read, read, read
-Write, write, write
I know many of you are doing all these things and more. Please share!