Can I bounce this off of you? (it's long...sorry)

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Andrea L, Jul 18, 2008.

  1. Andrea L

    Andrea L Habitué

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    Jul 18, 2008

    Homework:

    I have decided to go to weekly homework packets this year (my district requires 30 minutes of homework per night). I will hand out the packet on Monday and we will turn it in on Friday and quickly go over it in the morning as bell work (I will check to see who has/hasn't completed the packet). The packet will consist of spelling work, math review, occasional writing prompts, and reading. It will change weekly. For the past few years, homework has been assigned nightly and I checked it off every morning. I'm tired of doing it and that is why I've decided to go to weekly packets. Plus, the parents will know when it is coming home and won't have to worry about their child saying I finished/don't have homework etc.

    In the past, on Friday, if a student had two or less problems (either missed two homework assignments, had two behavior issues, or a combo of both not totaling more than 2) they earned "superweek" which was basically extra recess. My entire team did this, so they would have choices to go outside, play inside, do art activities, etc.

    I don't want to do superweek either this year as it doesn't really encourage students to do their work or behave. I had those that always did their homework, and those that didn't...period. Same with behavior.

    Behavior:
    Our school is particpating in a study by a local university. We are required to use a program called Think Time. Basically, students are given a warning, and if they don't correct their behavior, they are sent to think time where they think about their actions, write about it, and are sent back to class to start over.


    What if I combined homework and behavior using the think time program and made a program similar to homeworkopoly but did behavior and homework. If students turned in their completed homework packet on Friday they could roll the dice once. If they had a perfect week with behavior (no think times) they could roll the dice a second time. I would do this on Friday at the end of the day and that would be all I had to keep track of. I wouldn't have to do group points, class points, etc. Students would be accountable for themselves and that's it.

    Any suggestions, feedback, ideas? :thanks::thanks::thanks:
     
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  3. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Jul 18, 2008

    I think it sounds great. However, I would be concerned about how it may interfere with the study. The kids in your class would be trying to avoid think time because they want the extra roll. The question may come up that it changes their response to the behavior plan. If the other teachers are continuing the Superweek, then I would go for it because it is the same idea (rewarding kids for behavior/homework).
     
  4. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Jul 18, 2008

    My comment is on the homework; many parents will probably like the packet, but taking time on Friday to go over all of it sounds like it would take a lot of class time.

    Not really sure right now what I think about the think time.
     
  5. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Jul 18, 2008

    Missy,

    I have to agree with you. I don't go over my homework packets in class. I collect them on Friday and leaf through them. If I see problems that are individual to a student, I address them directly to that student (Billy, did you think I wouldn't notice that every one of your spelling sentences says "It is ___." Remembe what we said about our sentences being at least 7 words long, and they must describe something?)

    If I see a problem with several students, then I address it through a mini-lesson the next week. (Class, I noticed that a lot of you are still having trouble with subtraction with regrouping when the number ends in double zero. Let's go over this concept again.)

    Other than that, they get a check for completion.

    I wouldn't want to take the time to go over one whole week's worth of homework in a single session.

    I am a total believer in weekly homework packets -- it gives busy families so much flexibility.
     
  6. LionPride

    LionPride Companion

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    Jul 18, 2008

    OK! I thought the purpose of homework was for students to practice at home what was taught in school that day. Do you have a limit on the number of copies you can make?
    That just doesn't seem too practical to me.

    It would take about only about five minutes to check the homeowrk at the beginning of class each day. Collect it and then use that as a guide for the next day. That way you still know about how many got the concept being taught.
     
  7. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    Jul 18, 2008

    I have a "peace corner" in my room that sounds somewhat similar to the think time area...except, I want my kids to go there to cool off and think about what is bothering them. I don't want them to feel like they are being punished for going there. Sometimes they just need to be removed from the situation and cool off.

    I really like your idea, but I wonder if the think time needs to be given such a negative stigma...but then again if it is part of the study, then I guess you have no choice.
     
  8. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Jul 18, 2008

    That might be your purpose, but no that isn't the only purpose. We give the students practice in what they have learned -- but not from that day -- from the previous week. They have to retain the information all year long so they can take the end-of-year tests, and if you don't keep reviewing it and giving them practice on it -- they forget. If they don't pass the end-of-year test, they may not go on to the next grade, so it is very important.

    You don't learn math by doing it once. You learn it by doing it, then expanding the concept, then applying it to new situations, then by making connections to other subjects. Our homework strives to do all of these things.
     
  9. Andrea L

    Andrea L Habitué

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    Jul 18, 2008

    Thank you for your responses! I knew that you would help me think about things I missed...

    To address Think Time:
    I don't have a choice on how it is addressed or used. I have to follow the rules of the study because it is for some persons Ph.D. and it is their research product. My school district has agreed to use the program for the next three years so that this person can write up the results of their study. I do disagree with parts of the program, but want the program to have good results.

    To address homework packets...
    Many of my students don't/can't do their homework because their parents can't help them with the content or are working/busy etc. We have difficulty getting parent support with many students and it's normally the students who have difficulty with their studies. I had planned on giving math concepts that the students could do at home without any assistance from parents if needed.

    I like the idea of not grading the papers together in class...but I thought it might hold me more accountable in getting papers back to students. That is one thing that I struggle with!

    Thanks again!
     
  10. Ruby731

    Ruby731 Rookie

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    Jul 19, 2008

    I like packets

    I plan on doing revamped packets this year. To get the reading piece done I'll use the Book Adventure website(they take a quiz when they finish). We will also have handwriting sheets to do at home, and a menu of spelling activities(modeled first). I send packets home because they are activities that don't take much time to teach, it would seem like a waste of time for them to complete them in school, as they are all things that can be done sucessfully at home without much parental involvement. It also keeps everything together. I love that. I teach 4th.
     
  11. Andrea L

    Andrea L Habitué

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    Jul 19, 2008

    Thanks Ruby for the ideas...I'll remember that when doing my homework packets.
     
  12. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Jul 19, 2008

    I would do think time on it's own. I do similar things in my class, and you DON'T want to have to keep track of those times and monitor it for the homeworkopoly. If they make a mistake, have them think about it and come back with a way to fix it. It's a very simple management style.

    On Friday, have the kids turn in their HW first thing in the morning. Check it for COMPLETION. Do Homeworkopoly at the end of the day after you have checked the packets. I would not combine the two things together. I don't think they should have to get 100% on their HW to do the game. Maybe everyone who turns it in all finished, gets a roll. If they get 100% they get an extra roll?
     
  13. Ruby731

    Ruby731 Rookie

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    Jul 24, 2008

    Glad I could help :2up:
     
  14. hawkteacher

    hawkteacher Comrade

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    Jul 25, 2008

    I like the flexibility that a packet gives to families as some nights are better to do homework than others, but I wonder about the relevance and importance of the work they're doing? I understand the importance of review and I also understand the importance of independent practice, but I'm just not sure . . .

    I feel like homework should have a real purpose in order to be assigned as homework and take away from family time. If completion is the only thing that you check, I wonder what kind of message that sends to your students and parents? What is the real value behind the work, other than to fill a district homework requirement?

    I am not going to say that I've never checked homework for completion. Of course I have! We are so busy as teachers, that it's important to prioritize your time. If it truly is review or practice of a skill that we've been doing for quite some time, I may only check a few problems or check to see that it's done. I'm also going to admit that there have been times, when I'm having one of those days, that I've not looked at their papers at all!

    Most of my homework though is assigned to further what has been done in class that day and to prepare for the next day. I like this type of homework because it is a very authentic and informative type of assessment for my students. I think I would really miss this type of homework and the learning that it promotes.

    Maybe it would be possible to do a packet with review/practice sheets and still keep some of the more authentic, classroom-relevant homework during the week? That way you wouldn't have to worry about spending time checking the packets on Friday and could use the time for something else?

    I also have to agree with MissFroggy to keep Think Time and homework separate for rewards. Unless you keep really good records who's had think time (which you actually might since it's part of a study) and remember all of the warnings, I could see it getting tricky.

    Whatever you decide, I hope it works out well for you! In the end, that's all that really matters as long as it works for you and your students.

    :)
     
  15. hawkteacher

    hawkteacher Comrade

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    Jul 25, 2008

    Oh my goodness, that's a long post! Sorry all!
     
  16. Andrea L

    Andrea L Habitué

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    Jul 25, 2008

    Thanks hawkteacher! I understand what you are saying about making homework revelavent to the curriclum that has been taught in class. I also understand that extra curricular activities and family time is important. I really struggle with giving homework for these reasons! I do have a question for everyone (and maybe I just need to stop trying to please everyone), but what about those children that can't do the homework at home because they are still struggling with the current curriculum? What do you say to parents that demand more homework? This past year I had parents that could not help their child complete their homework due to language barriers/etc which resulted in students not doing their work. How do you get around this? I really want to make the homework I send home valuable. I really appreciate everyone's response as I ponder what I will give for homework this year.
     
  17. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Jul 25, 2008

    I totally understand what you are saying. I also think there is a big difference in homework between lower elementary and upper/middle school. I have to give homework -- it is a district requirement. But outside of that, I try very hard to make it valuable. That being said, one of the stated goals of homework (by our district) is to "help teach young children good study habits that will last a life time." So teaching the process of doing homework is one of our stated goals.

    So that is part of the purpose for us -- to teach good study habits while students are young.

    For younger kids, homework is rarely done independently. Some parents help WAY too much. I just don't think those children necessarily did more work than the child who struggled to do it himself because there was nobody home who could help him. I don't think they deserve a better grade. So I only grade for completion. If a paper has lots of mistakes on it, I pull the child aside and help them, or call a parent to give them some pointers on how to help.

    At the middle school level, students are more able to do the work independently -- and I don't think parents helping too much with homework is as much of an issue.

    I have to say that I agree with you -- in upper grades I think homework should be graded.
     

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