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Thursday, September 01, 2016

Homework and Gumdrop Towers

While the debates about homework continue in local newspapers, via social media threads, and amongst teachers and families, our team is trying to strike the balance between at-home practice and learning and time for families and one's own passions and interests.
Students' shared their creations by drawing models
and/or emailing teachers pictures of their work.

As fifth grade teachers, I believe, we feel the need to establish some kind of home-school routine that fosters the study skills students will need in Middle School, but we still know that our students are young so we'll choose to assign homework that's "loose-tight" giving the assignments the wiggle room that's important to a diverse group of students with differing levels of interest, at-home academic support, after school activities, pace, and time.

For starters our homework assignments included the staple--read each night, a get-to-know-you assignment, and gumdrop towers. We gave each student a package of spaghetti-gumdrops-marshmallow in order to give them a chance to try out a STEAM activity on their own that
we'll complete as teams next week. Thanks goes out to our PTO who supported the activity supplies purchases.

Like most things in education, I don't think homework has to be an either-or decision at fifth grade, but instead a decision that matches the interests, needs, and opportunity of the students you teach.