Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Explicit Homework Routines for Elementary School?

Every year I come up with a new homework routine, and every year by the end of the year I'm dissatisfied with it.  Now many educators at the elementary level have given up on homework altogether, but I still see the value in daily practice. So the question for me is how to strike the balance so that homework provides good practice, but does not burden children or families who need and benefit from good time for play, family meals, and other activities of interest and passion.

Next year, I'll use the experience to date and try a new iteration of the homework routine which will include the following:
  • A very short practice packet each week with a number of review problems and a short space for reflection and math writing (explain your thinking).
  • Option and encouragement for practice with our online programs.
  • Suggested practice time: 20 minutes a night (students are also assigned 20 minutes of reading and 20 minutes of writing a night)
  • modifications will be available upon discussion with students and families (we never want to push students too much, but instead strike that just right balance)
Once a week I'll have students pair-share their homework and then pass it in for teacher review since completing homework is part of our overall grade-level requirement for our progress reports and transition to Middle School recommendations. 

As I review this year's efforts, I realize once again that the more explicit we can be about expectations at the start of the school and throughout the year, the more learning success will be accessible to all learners. This is an important discussion to have with colleagues as you end the year and experiences are fresh and as you begin the new year.