Question: HW over Christmas break

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by ninabway, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. ninabway

    ninabway New Member

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    Jan 4, 2013

    I'm a second year teacher at a tiny private school. I don't have other teachers in my grade to collaborate with, so I would love some of your input! I teach a combo 5-6-7-8 class. We had 3 weeks off for winter break. Because it was 3 weeks, I thought it was reasonable that the students read a book ("Hatchet") and answer a packet that totaled about 25 questions. One of my students did not do it. She received 1 out of 25 points. I sent the packet home with her yesterday and told her to get it signed by a parent. When I asked for it today, she said she didn't show it to them, and requested that I speak to her mom about it. I approached her mom after school, showed her the packet, and explained what happened. This student is in 6th grade. Her mom asked me why homework was assigned over the break. I was caught a little off guard. I thought it was pretty normal to assign middle schoolers work over the break, but am I wrong? (I flubbed some answer for the mom about trying to teach the students to become responsible now so that they're prepared for high school, etc.)

    Basically, next year, should I not be assigning work over a 3 week break?
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 4, 2013

    You should be asking your school what their policy is regarding HW over such lengthy breaks.
     
  4. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Jan 4, 2013

    I teach sophomores and seniors and don't assign work over break, even for AP. They take exams before they leave so we've wrapped up all first semester material. I don't do work over break and I feel they should have the same privilege.

    I agree with Cza though, check with your admin.
     
  5. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

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    Jan 4, 2013

    I was under the impression that assigning break homework was the teachers choice. I don't think there's anything wrong with it, and your assignment sounds reasonable.
     
  6. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    I personally don't agree with homework over breaks but was required to send something home per our school rules. Our state testing is in February so they didn't want the kids to have two weeks off without doing anything. I sent home a reading log with a few activities. I didn't do any work over break (made sure I was planned for the next week before I left) so why would I expect the kids to? I'm guessing by the mom's reaction that the other teachers before you did not assign HW. Even if you don't have other teachers at your grade level, I'd still ask other teachers at the school to find out what the norm is for the school.
     
  7. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    About a month before break I gave all the students a print out showing all missing assignments. They had until the day before break began to finish everything. Some students waited until the last day and didn't turn anything in. Their consequence...take a 0 or do the work over break.
     
  8. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    We took exams before the break, so I didn't send anything home.
     
  9. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I definitely think it's up to the discretion of the teacher. If you think students would benefit from keeping the knowledge fresh in their minds by having work over break, then by all means, that's a perfectly reasonable reason to give homework over the break.

    I personally don't give work over the break because I figure I will review it once we get back, and I don't like doing work I don't have to during the holidays so I'm probably not going to give them anything to do. Besides most of my students would probably just not do it, and then I'd have to be after them to do it or deal with late work trickling in and parents complaining.

    Like I said, it's your discretion. I would just rather not deal with it.
     
  10. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jan 4, 2013

    I think this is something that admin should be directing teachers about. Some schools and districts expect teachers to assign work over breaks, while others leave it to the discretion of the teachers.

    Personally I don't think it's a good idea to assign work over break. Students, even in high school, are still kids, and they need to time relax, recharge, and have a break from school. They also need to spend time with their families and often have family commitments. In my own family we often traveled to visit family members, and I would not have been allowed to seclude myself away working on homework--I was expected to interact with family. If family or friends came to the house for the holidays, I would need to pitch in and help clean up--and also to be social. Family time is important. We want our kids to come from strong families, but we take away a lot of the time they should be spending developing those strong family bonds by asking them to do work just because it's a long break. I don't think that's fair. Then again, if my principal told me to assign homework, I'd have to find something...but I'd make it a small, inconsequential assignment.
     
  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I had eleven days off. I did NO schoolwork until the night of day 11...
     
  12. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    Before I had my own children, I do remember assigning HW over the break. Once I had kids, I realized the value of a "brain break" for the kids and I wouldn't dream of assigning that much work.
    I do believe it's up to the teacher at most schools. I just my opinion that vacation is family time and shouldn't be filled with the anxiety of HW completion.
     
  13. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I have had 2 weeks of and pulled out the school work this afternoon... I definitely didn't expect my kiddos to do any. I hope their parents read to them a few times, though!
     
  14. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I never thought students should be assigned homework over break. It is break.

    My family experience has been years where my own kids had so much homework assigned over break that there was no family time. Sitting at grandma's house doing long assignments that were assigned and due after break was insane. 50 page math packets. Read a novel and complete the 20 page packet. Do a project for history. Better yet were the assignments that required internet access when grandma had none. There were also years where almost nothing was assigned. Unfortunately there was never a year where nothing was assigned.
     
  15. teachinnola

    teachinnola Rookie

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    I think this should be the teacher's discretion. I don't remember ever not having work over breaks as a kid.

    This specific assignment doesn't sound unreasonable, especially since most of the class completed it.
     
  16. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

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    The assignment doesn't sound completely unreasonable, but was it beneficial? What is the point of assigning a whole book? The teacher can't be there to model comprehension strategies, analyze components of the text, guide students to understanding the material...I don't see the purpose of assigning the assignment of reading a whole book outside of class.
     
  17. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Jan 5, 2013

    We have exams after the break. They got a study guide a week before break. If they didn't finish it in class, then they were to work on it over break.

    They also had a report that was due two weeks before break. If it needed major corrections, that was to be done over the break.

    Other than that - I don't send home new work. I imagine a lot of them were traveling or having family in town and were busy with other things.
     
  18. Historyteaching

    Historyteaching Cohort

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    I do for my AP class, but I give it to them the week before we are off for Christmas Break and tell them its due the day we come back. It has to do with watching TV and analyzing characters-they watch TV during their break and its a matter of journaling what they watch and looking for a particular person. Some of mine get it done that week of school and turn it in right before break-others..wait.
     
  19. nyteacher29

    nyteacher29 Comrade

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    our school required that each subject area give homework over break. many parents asked for homework over break as well (this was discussed during parent teacher night)
     
  20. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    We have 3 weeks off, and we took our finals before break. I assigned homework for my AP classes, but not for my regular classes. We'd never get through the whole AP Bio curriculum if I didn't assign work. The other AP and honors teachers also assigned work over break.
     
  21. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    For a three week break, I don't think it's horrible to assign some homework. We had eight school days off so I didn't assign anything.
     
  22. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

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    We only have a week and a half (not 3 weeks), but we're not allowed to assign work over break unless it's just working on a long-term project (which can't be due until the week after we get back).

    I would have been ticked if I had to read a whole book for break in middle school---seems excessive.

    I would consider assigning something only as extra credit or as an optional assignment that could help the student's grades.
     
  23. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    I assign a chapter of reading for my AP history class, but I do so because we have such a tremendous amount of material to cover prior to the AP exam, it's hard to get everything in. I didn't assign any essays and writing with the chapter... just reading and a quiz to follow. But nothing was assigned for any of my regular level courses.
     
  24. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I gave two assignments before the break. One was to start a review packet for our final exam. I told the students that it would make their lives easier if they started answering the questions during the break but at the least I wanted them to just read it so their brains could be mulling over the ideas. Most of the kids read the packet that day (took five minutes) and that was that.

    The second assignment was given early. I told the students they did not have to start it because it wasn't due until two days after we returned. But some students like to go above and beyond and some students get bored during breaks so I gave them the option. About half of the students waited until our first day back. About a third of the students did not submit the project on Friday :(.
     
  25. Silmarienne

    Silmarienne Cohort

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    No way. The kids need a break and so do I. :D
     
  26. DallasLady

    DallasLady Rookie

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    Jan 10, 2013

    Our semester ends at the break, they take final right before. We are not allowed to give homework over the break unless the duet date is beyond the first day back. Personally, I would not assign work over the break anyway. I don't want to do any work over Christmas break, so I wouldn't make the students do any either.
     
  27. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Jan 11, 2013

    In our 4K-12 school, we decided as a faculty to give an optional reading assignments over break. We have done it for 8 or 10 years. It is very well received. Second grade has the option to read a Ready Freddy Christams book. They can read to self or have it read to them. This year I had 13 or my 16 students complete the assignment. My 3rd grade sons read Magic Treehouse Christmas in Camelot and my 5th grader read about 3/4 of Where the Sidewalk Ends. Some levels choose nonfiction.
     
  28. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Jan 11, 2013

    Exactly! We have a policy that no homework can be assigned over Christmas break. Most K-8 schools that I know of have the same policy. Find out what the district or school policy is before proceeding with this parent.

    By the way, since you brought up the book Hatchet, we are reading it now and the students are enjoying it. It is a great book!:)
     

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