Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Homework Myth - Part III Restoring Sanity

Chapter 9 - Rethinking Homework
Kohn's three kinds of assignments to give at home

  1. Activities naturally suited to the home - interviewing parents, replicating an experiment done at school, etc.
  2. Family activities that we don't normally think of as homework - cooking together, playing games together, helping out the family -- just have the students keep a journal of their activities.
  3. Reading - let the students choose the book and share what they read with the class. Assigning pages, logs, or a set amount of time to read, isn't helpful. 

Kohn also talks about student choice in this chapter. I am not very good at giving students a choice. For the last project we did, The Nocturnal Animals Project, really the only choice my students had was which animal they would research. I prefer to have a framework from which the students work from, usually all in the same medium (videos, picture posters, poems, etc.) but the students choose their own content.

Maybe I could outline the required parts instead saying the desired outcome. My next unit is about ecosystems, so maybe I could assign different groups/individuals a part or an animal to study and they could decide how to explain what they learned themselves.

Chapter 10 - Making Change
Suggestions for change

  • Design what you assign
  • One size doesn't fit all
  • Bring in the parents
  • Stop grading [homework]
  • Address [cultural and or socioeconomic] inequities

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