Almost ready for the reveal

I’ve been talking about changing the homework in my class for a while. I am almost ready to reveal the (hopefully) finished product. My students have been pretty good at reading and building their stamina. I think this is going to be a real boost to their understanding of the reading process, comprehension and overall love for reading. I will be dropping the finished product this week.

Parents can I get your insight

I am considering changing my homework for my class. I want to see my kids reading more, discussing their reading and overall being empowered through text. Right now the only time I can squeeze in more reading is homework.

My plan is to roll out 3rd grade book clubs in lieu of homework. This is what I see.

Each student/reading group will  have a book or chapter to read every night. The next day during their reading time they’ll reply to questions through our class website. We’ll also discuss the book in our specific reading time. Towards the end of the session they can do a project, open discussion or even an Accelerated Reader quiz on the book.

Dear Parents, I want to know what you think about homework and this idea. If you student just came home with a book every night with dedicated pages to read how would you feel? I will not be offended in anyway so please be as honest as possible.6620d-6a0120a8d8c83d970b01676357327a970b-pi.

 

Homework doesn’t work if Home doesn’t Work

I'm through with homework. I'm not sure where I fall in the ranks of the on going war over homework, but I'm sure I made someone mad with that statement. I've worked a lot of angles with HW and I'm surprised how few really panned out. My new school does the weekly homework. It's a culture thing and I thought it was on point. 

    The problem is my student's don't care about homework and I have a very limited amount of time on Friday to check it and give feedback on what's missing or what wasn't done correctly or if the student needs help. It tends to just pile up. And if you know a teacher you know that we're great at making piles of paper and not so much as getting those piles dwindled down.

    Here's the problem. I am really flustered that my students just blew off the history project we did as a 2nd grade. It was cute and I envisioned each year being able to use these as teaching tools for the next class. When I tell you after 3 weeks of planning and a lot of conjolingmy class only turned in 2 projects, I was fit to be tied. Yeah, I was disappointed in the kids. *I sincerely don't think they realize how important education is. But even more I was just to through with the parents. I called, wrote notes, emailed and text. The result was 2 projects on time.

    If I were sane I wouldn't be shocked. I usually get 4-5 COMPLETE homework packets a week. Mix in there 4-5 that are imcomplete and you have my class is consistent. The next two days after the projects were due, I got 2 more. One looked like it had been done on the bus, in the dark, but he was bold to turn it in. 

So, I'm thinking about doing something different. I'm going to stop doing homework. I'm going to go back to a book in a bag and nothing else. The kids really responded well to the book in the bag. But since it was something they were doing before I came to this school I didn't invest in it and let it slip away. 

    What tends to happen is at the end of the day I read a book to the class or we watch a reading story. This that cool down time usually 15 minutes or so. I know for a fact that their homework isn't that long so I could have them breakout out their "end of class work" and do their particular days homework as an end of the day project, know it's done, give support to those that need help and keep it moving. Sending this home and getting a montage of half done work isn't working at all. 

I know I need to read up more on this debate. I used to believe in homework and really make a lot of noise about it. Now I'm not sure that's the best way to get things done cause right now very little is getting done.

 

March 7th is the end of our crossfit challenge. I feel good, but I'm certainly not eating everything as I should/could. I got 10 days to clean it up. Juicing is certainly helping me. I feel strong and haven't had an iced coffee in two months. *Even though as I'm writing this I'm debating getting one just to break up the eating. Stronger than ever, I expect to win this challenge. 3,2,1…Go!

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Let’s create something new

I'd like to propose some crowd sourcing for a problem I have in my classroom. I've always thought that getting as many ideas would create the best solution to a problem. Feel free to post another blog, article or a reading that adds to the discussion and let's see what kind of solutions we get. Let the good ideas flow. 

Problem: Students aren't turing in weekly homework

Details: Every Monday the students get a homework sheet with the weekly homework outlined for them. They're asked to turn in the work on Friday. Notes home to parents don't get answered and phone calls have been less than responsive.  It makes no never mind in my book if homework is graded or just busy work it's value is the reinforcement of the skills taught in class. Keep in mind that of the 7-8 students that regularly do their homework 2 look like they did it on the bus on their way to school. 

Question: What would you do? How do you get students to put more effort into their weekly homework? Do your kids do homework? 

I have some ideas, but I'd love to get as many original ideas from you all as possible. By the way, my 1st grader does her homework gleefully. My wife and I check it and initial it every night. 

School year is great. I do have some other issues that I'd like to crowd source, but this one is probably the biggest waste of my time. 

Besides that we're in the midst of a fitness/eating challenge at Crossfit South Cobb. I got full intentions of winning and I'll keep you posted on the end results. 

Umm…that didn’t work right

I've been posting my student's homework online. Each Monday they'll get their assignment. They'' have all week to complete 3 or 4 projects. I tested the site on a group yesterday. I was shocked at how long it took them to get the URL correct. It was as disaster. 

I contacted the website admin to get some advice. He made a great suggestion that just made to much sense. I make some changes to the URL. It went from 19 characters to 10. The kids have a much better success rate of getting to the site on the first attempt. The point is I have to be willing to accept that I made a mistake in my delivery not in the process. Even if NO kids have net access at home, I'll make time for them to do 1 project a week because they must learn how to use the web. (By the way my kids have a library in the community, a huge computer lab at school and multiple times to use the computer as a part of the school day.)