October 23, 2014

grading smarter not harder book club {homework}

I honestly can't stand homework--I hate putting it together, marking it, and anything else associated with it. Unfortunately, I have to give homework.  I need some ideas...

there must be a better way :)

I'm guilty of it...yes, I give uniform homework. According to Dueck, uniform homework is homework that follows-up the lesson or practices what is taught in class. Uniform homework is exactly as it sounds--it's homework that has the same answers from every student.

Where I teach, homework isn't given a grade based on right or wrong answers--it's more about completion. Dueck is a firm believer that homework should not be graded. There are so many factors that prevent students from doing their homework--one section that really made me stop and think about is the disadvantages faced by lower-income students. My school is a high poverty school where many students live in areas plagued with crime and overpopulation.

Dueck brings up how many of these students inherit low self-esteem, have negative feelings toward school, and own fewer books than other classmates. Evictions and a lack of utilities are common for some of these students.

So what does this mean for my homework policy?

Dueck suggests giving in-class quizzes based on the homeowrk assignments. An example from the book is giving students a sheet with 20 questions in support of a math lesson. The teacher suggests that the students work on the problems at home to further their understanding. The answers to the assignment can be posted in the classroom or posted on-line.

This way homework completion is reflected in the quiz. The more I think about it, the better this sounds! I love the idea of students taking ownership over their learning! This would allow me more time to plan meaningful lessons and activities :)

The frequent quizzes lead to an increase in learning--Dueck mentioned a study from Kent State University that shows that frequent testing involving the recall of information from the memory improves learning.

Whenever I read something like this, math is the first thing that pops in my head. It's very easy to relate math to quizzes. Unfortunately, I don't teach math, so how is this appropriate to reading?

My reading program focuses a lot on vocabulary. Quizzes that help students define words, apply words, and sort words (into nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs) can be beneficial.

What are your current homework policies? Have you thought about ways to changes them? I'd love to hear what you think about Dueck's take on homework :)

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