Seriously? Homework Reform? No Way!


Well in the days past I have found myself processing a lot of what I learned through attending my first ever EdCamp! If you are unfamiliar- It is essentially the un- conference … no agenda- simply educators who meet, talk, establish things that they want to learn and an agenda arises with educators who are willing to share some expertise on particular novelties. You can sit through a whole session or literally walk in and out, trying each session on for size. They are particularly inclined to teach educational technology and how to apply that in the classroom, so as you can imagine, I was more than stoked to attend! I could go on an on about all the things I took away that day, but I will simply try to hit on a couple big ideas and how they will shape some much needed changes in my classroom this fall.

My superintendent, who will be entering his first full year in our district, spoke to the crowd of nearly 200 at lunch that day. He, unlike many in the upper echelons of education, gets it! He had so many poignant thoughts, but one in particular really just solidified my passion for encouraging other educators into educational technology. He stated that last year’s senior class would be the very last group of kiddos we would teach that had been born prior to the world wide web. That being said… every single child we teach today and into the future will have been alive during an alarmingly fast moving information age. That sparked something even bigger in me for sure. If the world we are teaching in is moving and changing every day, can we justify doing the exact same lessons the exact same way year after year? Can we use the same materials and methods, year after year? Well I suppose we CAN… but should we? My thoughts.. NO! We should be growing and changing how we teach weekly, if not daily. After all, isn’t there something new daily? Now by no means am I suggesting that I will do every single thing differently in the year to come. I am realistic and know that you have to take this one tech step at a time. However I have started making a list of the things I plan to change from the beginning. Homework is first…  But how will I change something like homework? Here are my thoughts…

Drill and practice… worksheets… worksheets.. worksheets….  We have administered homework this way forever, and honestly is there a single shred of evidence that this works? The reality… the kids who got it in class will get it at home… and it probably wasn’t necessary to make them do the extra 15 problems. The kids who either got it a little, or didn’t get it at all, now fall to the mercy of their family for help. If they get that help, wonderful… If not…  well they don’t do it, or do it poorly, and in most cases serve a penalty for not following through with a task. Does any of that sound logical when written down? Hey- I am not here to judge… I have been the person dishing this out for years… but I plan to do it no more…  I plan to make sure my students are accountable for tasks outside the classroom, YES… but how I do that will change.  As I have talked about in earlier posts, I will use Edmodo this year in my classroom. My homework questions will be posted there daily… as for any student who does not have access to a computer or a parent who is skeptical- I will also have a homework spiral where they can answer the questions as well. I will not be giving drill and practice- rather critical thinking, problem solving, analyzing, summarizing, etc., as a way to make them think- yet reduce the right and wrong, yes and no, and true or false type of activity.  We can pull up Edmodo at the end of the day- make sure that they understand the task and let them think on it before they do it…  Is this full proof? Don’t know…  Will there be issues… Sure… Tech fails- I know that for sure… but working out the kinks this year will make one more change that I feel is necessary for my students to move at the pace of the world they live in…  Food for thought…. That’s what I am here for! 🙂

4 thoughts on “Seriously? Homework Reform? No Way!

  1. Matt Gomez

    What a refreshing post to read. Change requires doing something new or different. Homework is a great place to start. Look forward to hearing how it goes. I’m sure there will be challenges but I’m confident you will find the perfect balance for your class.

  2. I love that homework idea! I think that critical thinking will not only empower your students but also challenge them to complete it!

    Kids see”the drill and kill” and I think there is a huge resistance to completing tasks they feel they are given”just because”. Way to go for recognizing there should be a bigger picture, 🙂

  3. venita28

    Jaime, you know I’m on board with you on this approach to homework! Like everything else we’ve been learning & trying out this summer we’ve just got to “sell it” when we get back to school. Having our supt. on the technology bandwagon should help!!

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