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Monday, July 29, 2013

Word Study Homework

Hi Fellow Teachers,

Today I thought I would share my word study homework schedule for the week. Let me first say that I am not an advocate of lots of homework. If I can get away with it, I only give word study and reading homework.

NO Math Homework
I have stated before that I had a friend who completed her thesis on "Does Homework Help With Math Mastery?" and she found the answer was no. In general, the high kids got it right away, the middle kids learned it the second time, and the low kids needed more help than could be found at home. Besides, I have been teaching an hour and a half of math nowadays and if a student is struggling after that, I have already addressed it with the parent and given additional suggestions and activities.

No Projects Please!
I also don't like to give projects unless my colleagues force me. I will go along with a project if a colleague feels passionately about it in order to maintain good relations. Nothing is better than going to work everyday happy to see everyone with the intent to having a good time. But aside from that, I feel parents already have their own "Projects". For some it is a project just to get dinner on the table at the right time. For others it is a family project to attend baseball/football/soccer practice at night. As you can tell, I don't like telling families what they must do after school and I guard their time as if it were my own. I also tell parents that if a child doesn't complete his/her homework to please know that I will understand and it will not affect the child's day at school. We are here to have a fun time learning and if there is a repeated problem, I will address it with the parent. Life is stressful. We all need to relax about the little things.  

Only Word Study Homework and Reading
Below is my schedule for Word Study Homework. The only other homework I have students complete is reading homework. Parents must write the title of the book the student has read in the agenda. That is it. Word Study homework should take 10 minutes on most days. The blind sort is done on Tuesdays because my friend Alyson (she is the famous person on the cover of Words Their Way!) focused on this during our masters project and found that it helped students earlier in the week. I think it is because it is like a practice test in the beginning of the week that enables students to isolate the words they don't know. Some teachers give students a pretest so that they will know which words to practice more during the week. I find that this takes the place of that and it is more of a game.

Here is an editable copy (Word Document) of my homework instructions: Word Study Homework 

It looks like this:

Notice how I only collect papers on Monday and Thursday. I tried to have them use their word study notebooks, but I like to keep those at school.

Good luck with the beginning of the school year!


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