Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Online Homework - Teacher Tip Tuesday

Today's Teacher Tip is Online Homework

I'm sure everyone has their own views on homework. I'll share mine.

I don't like it.


I've never been a big fan, but we were always required to stuff their backpacks full of it. So I did.

I was spending too much time on it. We would take class time to issue and explain it and go over it. The kids needed to copy the assignment into a book which equaled more wasted time.

Some would forget it and would need to come back to school to get it. I'm not a fan of students and parents being alone in the classroom. If they weren't in the classroom alone it meant I was hosting an impromptu conference during their spontaneous drop in.

Some would bring it home, but I would need to field phone calls about the homework.

I streamlined it to a weekly packet. This improved the process, but still consumed a lot of paper and I spent a good chunk of time going through it all.

To make matters worse, it wasn't a reflection on their abilities. Some had help. Some had other people doing it for them. Some did it in the backseat of the car on the way to dance class.

To make matters even more worse, homework often becomes a reinforcement of errors. Since a lot of them were doing it on their own, they were making mistakes that went uncorrected until it was turned it.

This year I started offering the option of online homework. All of my students have internet access at home. I assign them online activities using Study Island, Spelling City and Gamequarium. I print a small homework log that shows 3 analog clocks. Two are for math and one is for spelling. They shade in the number of minutes they spend working on the subject and have a parent initial it. The sheet gets turned in on Friday and they get a new one for the following week. The may complete their time at any point during the week. Study Island is a subscription site, but it allows me to access their info and I can see how long they worked for and how they performed.

That's it.

One half sheet of paper and a simple initial.

I also have them initial that the students read for at least 20 minutes.

I love the simplicity. I love the fact that I haven't killed a forest. I love that they are excited and motivated to do the activities.

I REALLY love that the activities and games are self-correcting which means that bad habits and errors are not reinforced and they receive instant feedback for their work.

The parent feedback has been entirely positive. The student feedback has been even more positive.

They don't dread homework. I don't dread homework.

Happy Happy!

1 comment:

Miss M. said...

Hi, I follow your blog--but this is my first time commenting. I like how you streamlined your homework; however, was wondering what reaction/feedback you've had from admin in regards to this. We have the requirement of 10mins x grade level. So my 5th graders should have 50 minutes of homework each night.