Homework. The word alone evokes strong emotions from children, youth, parents, and teachers. For most teachers, this word sits right between rock and hard place. Assign too much homework, and teachers run the risk of complaints, if not outright misery, from parents, students, and—feeling the need to give feedback on all that homework—themselves. Assign too little homework, and teachers risk being seen as “soft” and lacking in rigor, and because homework can feel like it helps “cover” the curriculum, feeling further behind. And that just regards the issue of how much homework. Then there are all the complexities around what kinds of homework.
Research shows that students who have positive home support for homework activities not only find the homework experience more rewarding but get more out of it. Parents, in most cases, are eager to help their children do the homework necessary to augment their classroom learning, but conflict can enter the picture when kids push back— which is often the case. Many students view homework negatively, but there are several simple practices parents can put in place to help mitigate the negativity and influence the homework experience for the better.
Welcome BACK to the Heinemann Link Round-Up. Your intrepid rounder-upper was on vacation last week, and thus nothing was lassoed, nothing was harangued. Here we are again with a full pen of links.
These links are interviews with educators, posts from our authors' and friends' blogs, and any interesting, newsworthy item from the past seven days. Check back each week for a new round of finds!
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The official Global Teacher Prize blog wrote out "3 Life Changing Lessons from Teacher Prize Winner Nancie Atwell’s Keynote at CGI."
Nearly a quarter of American children fail to achieve minimum levels of literary. For Nancie, the solution is books. She says “book reading is just about the best thing about being human and alive on the planet.” For this reason, children cannot be allowed to discover the joys of reading by accident – an enticing collection of literature is central to the children becoming competent, voracious and engaged readers. This collection must include writing at a variety of levels, from a variety of genres and to appeal to every taste.
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NPR's Weekend Edition did some research on homework. Here it is:
In 2012, students in three different age groups—9, 13 and 17—were asked, "How much time did you spend on homework yesterday?" The vast majority of 9-year-olds (79 percent) and 13-year-olds (65 percent) and still a majority of 17-year-olds (53 percent) all reported doing an hour or less of homework the day before. Another study from the National Center for Education Statistics found that high school students who reported doing homework outside of school did, on average, about seven hours a week.
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In NCTM’s “Teaching Children Mathematics,” Children’s Mathematics coauthor Susan Empson looks at the strategies used by fifth-graders to solve division-of-fraction problems set in the context of making mugs of hot chocolate.
Children in the elementary grades can solve fraction story problems by drawing on their informal understanding of partitioned quantities and whole-number operations (Empson and Levi 2011; Mack 2001). Given the opportunity, children use this understanding to model fractional quantities, such as 1/4 of a quesadilla, and reason about relationships between these quantities, such as how much quesadilla there would be if 1/4 of a quesadilla, 1/4 of a quesadilla, and 1/4 of a quesadilla were combined.
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When projects come to an end and before new ones begin, starting off with a fresh clean start helps one move forward. Whether you have taught for one year or twenty, the amount of paper and stuff accumulated can become mountainous. Inspired by the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (Ten Speed Press 2014) by Marie Kondo, who suggests discarding as the first rule of tidying, we thought about how we could apply this to charts so that we start off the year with a fresh and tidy start. Marie Kondo’s only rule about what to keep is to hold each item in your hands and to ask, “Does this spark joy?” For a teacher to be able to answer this question you need to also ask, “Can I use this again?” “Will this save me time?” “Will this engage my kids?”
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That's it! Be sure to check back next week for another round of links. If you have a link or a blog, be sure to mention them in the comments below. You can also email them to us or tweet at us. We're pretty available over here. Cheers to your weekend!
*Photo by Matt Lee