National No Homework Week

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by LastPlaceJason, Nov 24, 2010.

  1. LastPlaceJason

    LastPlaceJason Rookie

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    Nov 24, 2010

    "I propose we designate the week of February 7th to the 11th of 2011 as National No Homework Week. During this week, teachers will voluntarily suspend the giving of homework. There shall be one exception- teachers may require ONE 15 minute session during the week where students will be required to have a conversation with a family member."

    No links to the original blog post... I can't post URLs yet. Also, it seemed a little spammy.

    Thoughts and/or opinions on the idea?
     
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  3. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Nov 24, 2010

    There would be NO way my AP classes would be able to have an entire week of no homework - just couldn't happen. Especially in February as we begin to get towards crunch time.

    I guess I am in the minority in not understanding what the big deal about homework and that probably does show my age. But last night at our high school basketball game, several of my old students who are in college were attending the game. Here's the jist of all the conversations - students who had me and other teachers for AP loved college, felt right on track with their studies and felt in control and everyone single one of them contributed their success to AP meaning lots of homework, learning how to organize and prioritze their time and work and taking LOTS of notes. Those students feeling not so successful mentioned how much work they had, how overwhelmed they felt by the amount of work that had to be done between classes and how unorganized they felt. Homework is important.

    My regular World History kids have probably one to two assignments a week that required them to finish as assignment we started in class. They also have one project a nine weeks to finish completely outside of class. They are given the assignment at the beginning of the nine weeks, must work on the project on their own time and turn the project in on time. Once again, the project does enhance what we are learning in the class which is why I assign the project but even better the project teaches my students how to plan, priortize, follow through, work on their own and follow through on a deadline. Those skills are pretty important to the success of a student.
     
  4. teachin4ever

    teachin4ever Cohort

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    Nov 24, 2010

    I don't know that I could do this with my math classes.

    I don't give a ton of homework, but it is assigned daily as a way of reinforcing the concepts that were taught. A lot of my students see me do a problem on the board and think they know how to do it, until they actually try it on their own. I assign homework so they can practice on their own and come back the next day with anything they struggled with and we go over it.

    If I didn't give homework, I'm not sure how well my students would do on the homework checks or test.

    Also, at my school, the parents would be furious if their child didn't have homework. I had a few parents during conferences complain that I didn't give their child enough homework.
     
  5. midwestteacher

    midwestteacher Cohort

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    Nov 24, 2010

    I am just not for random people who have access on the internet to dictate what goes on in my classroom or my kids' classrooms. No thanks.
     
  6. Soccer Dad

    Soccer Dad Cohort

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    Nov 24, 2010

    The only week I don't assign homework is over Winter Break. Sorry, but my kids will be completing 30 minutes of homework almost everyday that week!

    I agree with INteacher--I don't see what's bad about homework when it's assigned to reinforce or introduce a topic. Obviously, if one is assigning 100 math problems on the same topic for one night, it's not effective. But I assign readings that are key to building critical thinking skills as well as opening the door to discussions in class the next day.
     
  7. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    Nov 24, 2010

    My first thought is February is the wrong time of year. That is the most urgent time of the year--before kids have state testing and when you want to catch up after a lot of holiday interruptions.

    My second thought is, homework is not a bad thing. It would send the message that it is.

    My third thought is there are two initiatives here--talking to a family member and eliminating a week of homework. It doesnt really go well together.

    I like when people try to initiate a movement or positive event which I'm sure is your intent, but I wouldn't be interested in this one.
     
  8. beccmo

    beccmo Comrade

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    Nov 24, 2010

    I am in total agreement with INTeacher on the importance of homework, learning time management, planning, prioritizing, etc. This is one reason my Physics classes are expected to read and take notes on material before we discuss it in class. Those students are also given the chapter homework assignment at the beginning of a chapter, with due dates on test day. This is on top of daily journal expectations, in class assignments, and their laboratory notebooks. Yes, most students complain throughout the year about how overwhelmed they are, and ask for extensions on certain due dates. I have hardened my stance, since many due dates are posted 7-10 days. Students have to learn that procrastination is the enemy.

    Freshman: They are another story. I cannot tell you how many do not bother to do any homework, and then try to turn in part of an assignment. I will not accept any incomplete work, students know it and still try to get away with it. Not asking for much, just 15-30 minutes at home to finish what we started in class.
     
  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Nov 24, 2010

    My thoughts exactly.
     
  10. LastPlaceJason

    LastPlaceJason Rookie

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    Nov 24, 2010

  11. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Nov 24, 2010

    The solution to the problem is not necessarily to eliminate homework, though.
     
  12. LastPlaceJason

    LastPlaceJason Rookie

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    Nov 24, 2010

    Caesar- agreed. The problem isn't inherently homework per se. There is research (Harris Cooper, I believe) that supports moderate improvement in high school standardized test scores in student populations assigned homework.

    I think the problem is too much homework. A lot of otherwise high-achieving kids are being killed by the academic workload. I think AYP pressures (in the U.S.) have a lot to do with it. As teachers, I think it would be pertinent to at least consider the idea that giving homework has a price we rarely consider (less time interacting with family and burnout).

    I think what is really needed is some comprehensive research on the specifics of homework- what type and amount produces the best outcomes.

    Part of this idea stems from experimentation in my own class (freshman world history). The fewer homework assignments I give, the more my students do homework from other classes. When asked, kids readily tell me they have too much to do. We sometimes forget kids have (or at least should have) life outside school.

    Part of the motivation to try stems from the experience of my colleagues. They routinely lose sleep trying to solve the riddle of getting kids to do homework. Most of the solutions just result in more work for the kids, which nets even worse results. It seems logical to at least consider homework burnout as a cause, doesn't it?
     
  13. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    Nov 24, 2010

    LOL....the students in our school seem to take the initiative to do that pretty much EVERY week from September to June.
     
  14. G00d d00bie

    G00d d00bie Rookie

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    Nov 26, 2010

    I would agree for some classes. Some give a lot of busy work - no real learning involved. I would not support this for all - not for something like math.
     
  15. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    Nov 26, 2010

    I was an otherwise high achieving kid who was up all hours of the night doing assignments, however I now choose to work in underachieving schools and homework completion is a real problem and its not from burnout. Underachieving and Fully achieving schools are like two totally different worlds in a lot of ways.

    I definitely support the notion of homework research. I believe there have been studies already, but do not know the details.
     
  16. G00d d00bie

    G00d d00bie Rookie

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    Nov 26, 2010

    When I was in school back in the 50's and 60's of the twentieth century, I could figure out my grade just by adding up my test scores and dividing. I had to do hw to learn for the tests. The teacher collected hw everyday - went around the room to each student and picked it up, didn't grade it. Every day I tried to get my hw done.
    Now days it seems like teachers are trying to make the principal happy, trying to act creative and just a whole bunch of stuff.
    I think hw should be no more than 10% of the grade. At 5% it can usually raise the score a letter grade. Give a lot for those who benefit from it. Students who learn by doing only a portion aren't going to lose a lot.
    I am from a stupid state where some school administrations have insisted on up to 50% credit for homework to help the students pass since they did so poorly on tests.
     
  17. wrice

    wrice Habitué

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    Nov 26, 2010

    Sure. No brush your teeth week, no exercise week, no eat your vegetables week. Aren't we adults- teachers and parents- such evil people! Appropriate homework is not only necessary, but should be supported and encouraged.
     
  18. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nov 27, 2010

    My standing rules on homework:

    1. Math homework is done after 20 minutes of real, solid concentration. If you haven't finished, then either:
    a) You're one of very few who couldn't get through it, and need extra help.
    or
    b) I gave too much, or didn't explain as fully as I thought I had. I need to ditch today's lesson plan and re-teach what I did yesterday.

    2) My kids are allowed to miss, then make up for full credit, up to 3 assignments per marking period. Because I agree: sometimes life DOES get in the way of homework.

    That said, I think that homework is necessary. Homework gives my kids the chance to determine, several hours after class has ended, whether or not the material still makes sense to them. If I didn't give homework, far too many would realize they were confused only when they saw the quiz or test questions. Homework gives them a penalty-free opportunity to realize that they need extra help.

    I didn't give homework over Thanksgiving. I won't do so for Christmas, February break, or Easter either.

    But, as a rule, my kids get homework every other night.
     
  19. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Nov 27, 2010

    In college students will have to complete homework, lots of it. For most college courses students will have close to 200 pages of reading per week for History Courses. My honors and AP courses are taught with the expectation that the students will be going to college and will be taking history courses there. If I didn't assign reading and other homework students would not be prepared when they're professors assign a 50 page chapter due in 2 days.

    With that being said, the most my AP students ever have to read per week is 60 pages with accompanying reading assignments. My honors students have about 20 pages a week and regular students is not even 10 pages. On top of the reading I have assignments that go along with the reading and other activities.
     

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