5 Reasons I DON'T Give Homework

Saturday, January 30, 2016
How do you feel about homework? When I started out teaching, I gave out homework almost every night. Throughout the years, it seemed to be less and less valuable - for my students AND for myself! Here are the reasons why:

1. Workshop Model
I teach using the workshop model. My students have a mini-lesson, guided practice, and time for independent work for math, reading and writing. Students are provided a lot of opportunities to practice skills in small groups and in centers as well. Because of this, they are getting a lot of content in very meaningful settings. I am also there to help and support them through any struggles within the classroom.

2. We Teach Different Than We Were Taught
Think about how we learned different math strategies. They are so different than how we teach. We look at text-dependent questions when teaching reading instruction and several teachers integrate their content. When talking with parents, they get frustrated trying to teach their students using strategies they learned years ago. Students respond, "It's not how my teacher taught me." Yet, they still struggle through homework and no one can help them.

3. Less Grading
We are all SO BUSY all the time! When I did assign homework, it was pushed aside to be graded later. We all know what that huge pile of ungraded papers looks like...not fun. In all honesty, sometimes I wouldn't even waste my time and recycle them since the pile was getting so stacked up and outdated. #realtalk #notproudfoit

4. Is Your Homework Meaningful?
If the homework you assign is meaningful, inquiry based and requires deeper level thinking, then by all means, go for it! So often we give worksheets. Kids won't remember what was on their worksheet years later. Heck, they won't remember a week later. It's a procedure and they just go through the motions. There are few assignments that can be given that are meaningful, plus simple to create/find and easy to grade.

5. Resources For Students
All schools have a different population of students. Even within that population, students have different resources they're accessible to at home. In years past, some of my students have come up to me saying they didn't have their homework finished because they didn't have a writing utensil at home (in these cases, I know it was true). So why would I assign a homework assignment that in theory is amazing, but realistically students can't participate in without appropriate materials?

Here are my thoughts! Don't we want our students creating meaningful connections outside of school, such as free play, interacting with others, enjoying extracurriculars? Let me know what you think!

Rita Pierson: Every kid needs a champion

Saturday, January 23, 2016
Such a powerful message for teachers everywhere! Take some time to listen!

Brain Break: Hot Cheetos and Takis!

Monday, January 18, 2016
Do your students LOVE Hot Cheetos and Takis like mine do?!? My students are constantly requesting them for snacks or rewards. My thinking partners in my classroom are even Hot Cheetos and Takis!

If you get what I'm talking about, you have to check out this video!

My students LOVE this video and we sing it and watch it all the time! Be sure to show your kiddos! From what I found, these students even wrote the song themselves!

Refresh Your Classroom Library

Friday, January 8, 2016
New grade level = new classroom = NEW BOOKS!

I dove into my new classroom over the summer and frantically organized the MASSIVE amounts of books before the students came for the school year. There were so many books that I had never read or heard of and some were really worn out and old. Either way, I kept them to see what these 5th graders would be interested in.

Unfortunately, so many of the books went untouched. I tried to do book talks and read some myself to get students into the classroom library, but they kept going back to the popular titles and authors: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Magic Tree House, Stink.

The library was overwhelming me and because I love Scholastic so much (and they have such great deals), I was adding these great titles and new books to the library without taking any out.

What was my solution????

Give the books away!

I went through the entire classroom library and took out books that I knew students were either not using, or didn't find interesting. Then I put them around the classroom and let students choose their books.

I made sure there wasn't any chaos going on, so I made various rounds and picked popsicle sticks for students to come up and choose books to take home. The more books students have at home, the better!

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