Should I worry about giving HW every night?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by BioAngel, Oct 5, 2008.

  1. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Oct 5, 2008

    I know most kids would be like NO DON'T DO IT!!! But I'm struggling to come up with interesting HW assignments.

    I just teach 5th grade science, so one subject. There's no rule that I have to give them science HW every night, but most of the stuff that we do is in class. Right now we're learning how to set up experiments and doing our own using plants. And while I can be very creative, I'm drawing some blanks on what in the world I should give them as HW.

    How often do you give HW in a subject like science? Is it bad of me to maybe only give 1 or 2 assignments a week, as long as we're covering things in class? :confused:
     
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  3. Mr D

    Mr D Comrade

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    Oct 5, 2008

    I generally only give homework in science as a review for a test, to finish class assignments that were not finished during class, or sometimes major projects. This usually works out to a couple of days a week. Although I generally give math and reading homework everyday, I do not think it is necessary to give it in science every day - just when it's needed.
     
  4. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    I think 1-2 times/week is perfect. The goal of homework is to reinforce skills from class. If they simply don't need to do things at hom, you are searching for busy work. The kids will be more willing to complete the homework when you give it to them if they know that you are not just giving them busy work. I do however think that science has an awful lot of subject specific vocabulary that needs to be practiced often to become knowledge, so you may want to think about how they can practice the vocabulary at home regularly.
     
  5. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    For a subject like science, I would only require homework to review/study for tests/quizzes, anything they didn't finish in class that they can do at home, and any major projects like for a science fair.
     
  6. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Ya I'm not trying to give them busy work, just for the sake of telling my supervisor "yes they're getting homework", however I do feel that I need to find some kind of activity to keep them focused on what we're learning about.

    I've been trying to do news articles and have them answer questions about plants, their HW assignment tomorrow night has them watching a Brain Pop movie on leaves changing color and why that happens, with a short quiz. So while it may not be about our Wisconsin Fast Plants, I'm trying to focus them on plants in general.

    The main lesson from this unit is to get them to learn how to set up a good experiment... it's not really about plants, so I'm supplementing plant knowledge not necessarily taught in class with HW assignments.

    I don't dare go near word searches, crossword puzzles, or anything really silly like that. But they do need to work on their skills like with reading, writing, comprehension, using concepts, graphing, measuring, etc. I'm trying to find activities to work on those skills because I often don't think I have enough time to focus on improving our skills in class.

    Does that make more sense? :)
     
  7. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Oct 5, 2008

    Maybe some science current events? Or is that too difficult for 5th graders. I have never taught science, but used Current Events in my MS classes years ago and they worked well.
     
  8. TeacherC

    TeacherC Connoisseur

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    I agree, I think 1-2 times a week is enough. If you can find something that will help them improve skills in say graphing or measuring and will coincide with what you're doing, then by all means let them have it, but you're right, giving them busy work isn't going to help them and will only make more work for you.
     
  9. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    I might start doing that actually--- I've been thinking about it. Regardless of what we're learning in class, science is a fast moving area. Having the kids start reading more science news article shouldn't be that hard to do, especially some sites write science news just for kids. :)

    I think I'll start that next week... :p
     
  10. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    That sounds like a great compromise. You could offer extra credit on the assignment if it relates to your current topic and then you have more resources to share with the kids this year and in the future ;)
     
  11. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Oct 5, 2008

    I tell my kids to "study vocab" on days when I don't have an actual assignment.
     
  12. missalli

    missalli Companion

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    Oct 5, 2008

    You could think about them keeping some kind of journal where they have to write about (1) the topic covered in class that day, (2) science-related questions they have, (3) science topics they have seen in the media, etc. That way you have flexibility and so do the kids, but if anyone asks you can say 'yes, my students have homework every night'.
     
  13. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    You could give them a few vocab words each week, but would that require a test, and time out of other things you do in class?
     
  14. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Vocabulary is a little tricky because its science--- you have to teach the vocab in context. And I'm more for making connections with concept and vocab, than just asking: Do you know how to spell this word? Do you know what it means?

    I'm one of those mean teachers who likes giving short paragraphs and asking students to tell me what's going on, etc. I gave them a short quiz doing that and I asked them "What's the independent variable?" I think that shows me who really knows their stuff and who just knows a definition.

    It really has to serve some kind of purpose to make me want to say: okay I'll grade 67 copies of this assignment.

    Another difficulty is that we're running on a 6 day cycle... which means I can say I have an assignment due every Friday, but I might not see all of my sections on that Friday (depending what cycle day it is), in which case one or two sections will have to hand something in on Thursday (because I don't trust the students to come in on a day off from science to hand something in).

    And another thing I dislike about science curriculum is that our students DO like science, most likely we just can't talk about the topics in class. If I did the science reading, at least students could go off and read something about science in an area that they're interested in. Plus that's something I could put up on a bulletin board and rotate around often.

    That's also a very good suggestion. Just getting some kind of feedback would be nice. I'm just not sure how I would collect that. We use science notebooks for most of our classwork, vocab, and experimenting stuff--- large papers go into their binders in their science section.

    I would like to keep such feedback about a lesson in their notebook, but collecting that many composition notebooks scares me. I know I could go around and check off HW like that, but I like taking the time and reading their responses--- and I know some students will write one sentence and call that effort. So that's something I'll have to think about. :)

    Keep ideas coming please!!! :D What do you do when you don't have official homework assignments to complete but want to give the kids SOMETHING to do for HW? *Not busy work, something valuable they'll learn from*
     
  15. LSeeleyteach

    LSeeleyteach New Member

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    Oct 6, 2008

    Homework Tonight?

    As a parent of a fifth grader I feel overwhelmed with all of the homework. As a student getting my teaching degree, I sense how much pressure teachers are feeling to meet cirriculum guidelines. Sometimes, I see a lot of new material in the homework that I would not send home if I were teaching. I think homework should be a review of the day's lesson or to study for a test. Remember, if each teacher gives 10 minutes of homework per night, my daughter will spend one hour on homework. Ouch! I like Wednesdays off for Church night. Maybe three days a week would be fair. Hope my opinion helps. Good Luck!
     
  16. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    I ended up giving homework twice this week. One having to do with the changing of the colors in leaves (we're learning about plants), which is not totally off topic and one on Friday that is about a notebook check. We also have 1 day this week off for a Jewish holiday and we can't give homework the night before or assess the day afterwards.

    Next week I already have some ideas planned: a quick quiz to study for, a science news article assignment, and writing reflections how their plants have changed every day.

    If you think your child is getting HW that really doesn't serve a purpose, I would suggest talking to her teachers.
     

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