I have been thinking a lot about homework. My school has a policy of ‘lucky 13’ in that there is to be no homework or projects assigned on the 13th of every month. This includes no tests on the 14th. That also means that if the 13th falls over the weekend, that weekend is homework free. I know not everyone loves the 13th no homework policy. I am more and more in the camp that most homework does not improve learning. I think this is a sharp change for me, considering one of my mantras when I began teaching was "I need to give homework every night because it is the only Spanish most of my students will get outside of my class." That might have been true 16 years ago when I began teaching, but now students have constant access to the Internet, with YouTube, Netflix, etc. They can find plenty of Spanish outside of class.
I played around with homework choice boards for a bit, but I am moving away from that, too. I am more excited when my 9th graders tell me they shared music or a video that we watched in class with their parents, than I am to have them complete a worksheet. I know some people think that by giving less or no homework we aren't being demanding enough or teaching kids responsibility. I just had the chance to watch an Alice Keeler talk on homework from the 'Ditch that Textbook Digital Summit and it made so much sense.
Here is a short clip from her presentation.
Some of my AP kids are up doing homework at all hours - some of that is poor time management, but sometimes they are drowning in homework. With a recent assignment I gave to my AP students, they had a week to read a chapter of our 'Book Club Friday' novel and they were tasked with choosing something that stood out to them and reflect on it in a sentence or two on a collaborative Google Slides Presentation - but with a twist - they were to create a 'BookSnap' using SnapChat to share their thoughts (I am writing a separate blog post about this task, but I'm including just one example below) . One thing I noticed, was that even though it was a pretty short task, some of my students were doing this at 1, 2 and 3am! I don't even know how they can function on such little sleep.
As educators, I think we need to reflect on the homework we choose to assign (if we choose to assign any at all), homework that is assigned needs to be meaningful.
High school Spanish teacher in NJ. Google for Education Certified Trainer. Always looking to try new things in my classes. Technology junkie.