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Guestyguest's Message:

Agreed, Fenwick. Our administration often disregards research in favor of their own conservative beliefs on a multitude of issues. This is just one. So frustrating!

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
Emily26 06-01-2019 02:28 PM

No first grader should be getting homework, anyway. There's absolutely no benefit to homework before 5th grade.

Fenwick 04-19-2019 06:15 PM

I am neither lazy or ignorant.
If you are realizing a lot of achievement and cooperation via a hw program I'm all for it. I can see I erred and should have used a qualifier, "Some teachers...", when paraphrasing Kohn. I know from my own experience some colleagues I worked with were not lazy. They were very lazy. And some were lacking in knowledge or awareness when it came to considering homework in any form except the way it was done last year. Still others approached hw at 0%, adding what was needed depending on the motley crew that showed up versus 100% no matter who shows up. In any event, I was not attempting to bash any individual teacher, yet, in rereading I can see how it may have come across that way. My apologies.

I still assign reading and math fact practice. I did no homework last year and my students made less progress and scored lower overall on the end of the year summative assessments. All the research in the world wont change my experience with this
This is similar to why some teachers refuse to entertain anything that may confirm or amend their hw method. In other words, there could be many reasons besides homework that determine student achievement. Quality of instruction comes to mind. Engagement rate could influence it. Work habits and cooperation can have a lot to do with it. For myself, what I can really say is while students were not assigned hw they did better. Whether the direct cause was due to hw is another matter. My guess, although I have no data to confirm, is I was able to tighten my lessons so hw was completed in class with me available for monitoring and help.

15 minutes of reading and 15 minutes of fact fluency practice does make a difference over time (3rd grade).
I will argue it's not the quantity of hw. . Instead, my money says you have the ability to organize the quality of 15 minutes in such a way it may not seem like a lot of time but, in fact, is most likely learnin' 'em as opposed to mass practice. This also aligns with Kohn's research which shows small, spaced practice produces better results.
Guestyguest 04-19-2019 05:58 PM

MissESL - I love that idea. Our school is fairly middle class but we DO have some kids with difficult home lives and our policy doesnít seem fair to them.

Kinderkr4zy - I get what you are saying. I felt that poster was more sharing what Kohn states, but I can see why her affirming that could cause hurt feelings for those who choose homework.

I do like your idea of opening the room early but we are t allowed to do so, mainly because of our stringent carpool schedule.

Guestyguest 04-19-2019 05:54 PM

Apple Annie - hopefully we can come to a compromise like that.

Twin2- I used to use reading logs and donít anymore for the exact reasons you described. And I think it actually discourages reading sometimes. Now our school is assigning Raz kids to be completed at home 4 times per week. Even the really high kids. I like it as a resource but not as mandated homework.

Guestyguest 04-19-2019 05:50 PM

Agreed, Fenwick. Our administration often disregards research in favor of their own conservative beliefs on a multitude of issues. This is just one. So frustrating!

Kinderkr4zy 04-18-2019 07:48 PM

either teachers ...don't know anything about hw, or they are too lazy to find out.
I think that we dont need to teacher bash and name call here. I work 10-12 hours a day and do indeed spend my free time reading books about teaching as well as attending conferences and seminars that I pay for out of my own pocket. I dont appreciate being name called and shamed and I think that as teachers we should at least afford our colleagues the same treatment as we expect our student to give each other. I am neither lazy or ignorant.

I still assign reading and math fact practice. I did no homework last year and my students made less progress and scored lower overall on the end of the year summative assessments. All the research in the world wont change my experience with this. 15 minutes of reading and 15 minutes of fact fluency practice does make a difference over time (3rd grade).

Though OP I dont think you should bench 6 year old over homework. Have you thought of opening your room 10 minutes early for those that dont have their homework-that way, by the start of class everyone has had a chance to get their work done (I cant imagine that you are giving more than 10 minutes of practice/reading to kids this age)
MissESL 04-16-2019 03:41 AM

My kids in second have difficult hone lives - not dangerous, but letís go with independent. Many have parents that work 2 jobs, are wrangled by older siblings, go to babysitterís at 4 a.m., etc.

My solution was to give homework they could do alone or with somebody. I would make them giggle by reminding them how important it was - read to the wall, read to the dog, read to the tree! Tell your baby sister your spelling words, youíre helping her learn! And so on. They thought I was nuts, but anything that might help!

15 minutes of reading (printed decidable book of the week)
10 minutes spelling (from a list)
5 minutes math facts (flash cards we made)

All of this went into a gallon bag kept in their backpack. If it got lost, no big deal - all paper, nothing ďownedĒ by the school.

I never graded or held them specifically accountable, but Iíd ask who practiced ____ before reviewing. If they did it, great. If not, weíll, at least I provided the resources to give the opportunity.

twin2 04-15-2019 11:30 PM

The school system I work for does require homework to be assigned in elementary schools both from language arts and math, and all students are to turn in a reading log. Homework can only take about fifteen minutes. They do not require the homework to actually be completed and penalties for not doing so are a no-no. Teachers are encouraged to offer incentives, though many do not.

I am not a fan of reading logs because many parents just sign off whether the kid read books or not. If I were to require a reading log, I would not require parents to sign and there would be no penalty given by me if a student did not log a book everday. Honesty is important to me, and reading logs puts temptation before a parent and child. If they sign the reading log just to keep their kid out of trouble, they are sending a message to their child that it's okay to lie when you "have to". A lot of students will list books they didn't read and the parents have no clue if their child read. Many people don't agree with my viewpoint, and that's ok, but it's how I feel.

Fenwick 04-15-2019 08:47 PM

Alfie Khon's The Homework Myth is appropriate for describing your situation. That is, even though the research and studies show hw has no direct effect on student achievement in lower grades and does not teach responsibility many hang on to the myth that is does. Paraphrasing Kohn, either teachers and administrators don't know anything about hw, or they are too lazy to find out. The best year I had in terms of student achievement, attitude towards school and cooperation was the year I didn't assign homework.

apple annie 04-14-2019 08:51 PM

I teach second grade and I do hold my kids accountable for homework. But like you, I don't like to take away recess. I usually keep my no homework kids for just a couple of minutes to do a little bit of it. I'll release them after no more than five minutes. For most of them it can actually be done in five minutes anyway. Sometimes they will finish it on their own before recess. Maybe you can propose something like, that as a compromise?

Guesty guest 04-14-2019 04:54 PM

Original Poster replying:

To throw my own personal opinion in to my original neutral post...I agree with all of you. Itís really up to parents if homework gets done or not and even great parents forget sometimes. So what do you do when half your team and your principal thinks that six year olds should be punished? Ugh. Iíve shared my research and my opinions, but right now Iím outnumbered and getting pressure for admin.

Have any of you come across this? Some of our team and our administration are also making other changes that are not exactly understanding of families or following best practices. At a certain point do I just find an environment that is more appropriate for children? I feel badly doing this to little kids! They need their recess. Frustrated.

Munchkins 04-14-2019 12:43 PM

I teach first, and I would never nave a child miss recess to make it up. I tell them to hand it in the next day. Itís really the parentsí responsibility, and the less given, the better. My students need to read every night, but I no longer require reading logs. I can tell who reads and who doesnít. Math is simple and takes maybe 5 minutes. Recently I started giving them 3 sentences to write using their sight words so they have practice using correct conventions, and I give them all week to do it.

But no, I wouldnít give consequences to 1st graders. I donít think thatís fair.

123rabbit 04-14-2019 12:32 PM

Our first grade team is thinking about not doing our traditional weekly homework sheet next year. The same families do the homework while the others don't.
Next year, we might add a reading log, writing, math, science and social studies ideas to our first grade binders for the students to complete at home at the start of the year. We would also include some websites. This way we don't have to keep up with homework every week.

Tawaki 04-14-2019 10:49 AM

If you teach at a private school, where ALL parents sign a homework contract, and they ALL know "homework is a thing"...then it's a maybe. People who crab can be referred to the document they signed.

Public school? For every Pooh Bear who has a nice spot to do homework, with crayons, paper, eraser and pencils, and also sane engaged parents, there's a whole other group that goes home to nightmare fuel.

Different examples...

I knew a six year old who had to kid wrangle younger siblings until 7 pm.

Start dinner

Help out at a family business (know 2 kids like this)

Dodge a horrible family situation in the home.

Sib in a travel sport, and they have no say in staying home.

Bounced between homes due to child care situation.

So...1st graders have no control over what goes on at home, and you have no crystal ball to peek into their home life. My kid's school would let them do make up work during down time, but not pull recess or other fun activities.


Haley23 04-13-2019 08:32 PM

I agree with the pp. At that age, it completely depends on the parent if the homework gets done or not. A 6 year old doesn't have any control over it and it's not fair to punish them for it. I also agree that homework should be very minimal at that age anyway.

KatieViolet 04-13-2019 08:16 PM

In first grade, I think itís definitely too harsh. At that age, itís really up to the family whether or not theyíre getting their homework done, even if theyíre a great student. I still had to sit with my first grader to do homework and remind her to put it in her backpack the day it was due, and she was top of her class. Imagine how hard it would be for a kid with even a slightly bad home environment.

Homework in first grade should be for practice only, and minimal. If they donít turn it in, oh well. At the most is have them work on it (with help as needed) during free time in class. Taking away recess is way too much.

Guestyguest 04-13-2019 07:35 PM

We are having issues on my grade level with some first grade students not turning in their homework (math packet) or not doing their computer reading assignments weekly, by the due date. We are thinking of having students sit out of recess to complete homework, including those who say they did it but forgot to bring it. And also having those who did not do the reading assignment, read at recess.

Would this consequence be okay for this age group or is it too harsh? Our team is disagreeing but we need to be consistent with our approach.


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