In the Trenches

Thoughts and Ideas from a Classroom Teacher

BC12: Homework Debate

on January 15, 2014

HomeworkHomework. Ahhhh… one of the great debates. As a fifth grade teacher, I do  give homework. Because I am self-contained (I teach all subjects to my same core group of students), I am able to keep aware of how much my students are assigned each night. I typically have math and language arts (often integrating science or social studies) assignments each evening. I try  to assign 5-10 math problems and a mixed skill ELA assignment, with the hopes of students not spending more than 45-60 minutes in total on the work.

In class this week, we are studying tall tales and legends. For their homework  this week,  my students are reading an Aztec legend and working with it throughout the week. They have questions, vocabulary, figurative language, and characteristics of the genre to consider with the same, more complex text throughout the week. I like them to have this weekly assignment because it helps them to learn more about time management and spacing things out based on schedules. Some students really space it out so that each night they are doing one particular part of the assignment. Others work their way around their individual schedules, like sports  and church. Fridays, we go over what we’ve learned together. I like this as a model, as it provides ample time for students to spend a lot of time in a tougher passage.

I try  to make sure that I’m not arbitrarily assigning work or that it is too long of an assignment. It’s not perfect though. As a parent, I get both sides of the debate. What are your thoughts? To homework or not to homework?

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