I can't seem to wrap around my stinking brain the part about kids don't need a thousand homework problems a night. How much is enough? If they only have 15 problems, is that enough to cement the learning? Is 15 problems too many? How do I find the balance of enough? Can I instruct so well and assess before they leave class to give no assignment? If I give no homework, how do I know they will retain it? With all these questions, one thing I know for sure I must do is at least give the feedback to the student on homework. It seems students painfully sit at home in front of their books, glassy eyed, and praying to a higher power for some divine intervention on how to solve this thing with numbers and variables. As a math teacher, I don't really want it to be painful. I would hope that I have clearly explained it that it should be a breeze. However, for forever and a day, math teachers have always assigned daily homework, checked only for completion, and complained about how kids don't do their homework. My charge this year is to break that cycle. I will be flying in the face of my colleagues by challenging their beliefs. I more than likely will be standing alone in my endeavor although my wish would be a unified front from my department.
Here are some blogs I have been following for the last few weeks. They are shaping my thoughts on the idea. Oswald, Nowak, Cornally, and Meyer All are great ideas and have merit. (If you have the time, check them out). I just need to find something that will work for me. Let me flesh out some thoughts in my head here, let it sit for a day or two, re-read it, re-think it, and revise it.
- I feel the homework calendar my learning team wants to use has too many problems.
- I don't think the book we are using has enough problems for basic practice where there aren't a few weird problems thrown in that are the exception to the rule.
- Do I want to generate worksheets everyday for homework, with the exact problems I choose to be on it?
- If I do create my own worksheet, I can give feedback better and faster because the worksheet will force some organization. Some.
- How can I change my instruction so that I can assess and re-asses each day how well the students have learned it? And I think I may have just hit the nail on the head here.
- I want my students to learn it in class and go home a few hours later and still demonstrate their knowledge without much struggle. Maybe a quick peek back into the notes. Maybe I allow students to complete as much as they need to have it mastered. Susy may be need 8 problems and Robby may need 12 while Travis needs 1.
Time to let it stew for a few more days.
Any feedback would be appreciated. I need to eat my breakfast anyway.