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No Homework change
Old 02-09-2018, 01:55 PM
 
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My P wants us to pilot a no homework policy for the 4th quarter. As a pretty traditional private school, we've always had 40-60 minutes of homework in 5th grade, as we're an advanced academic college prep school.

So, for those who have either made this transition or just don't have homework, how did it affect your lesson plans? We have a week to figure out how our classes would be affected or be different, and I can't even wrap my head around what it looks like. We're departmentalized and each give around 15-20 minutes of homework a night - a math page, a spelling page or reading comprehension worksheet etc. It's not busy work - it's work meant to prepare students for assessments. If we're now doing all that work in class, we can't possibly do as much as we're doing in class now, so how do I decide what gets cut? He knows some things will - I'm just not sure where to start!

We're not even going to be allowed to require reading - nothing. Any words of wisdom for making radical changes in the last quarter of the year? I realize this isn't a change for some folks, but for us, it's huge!


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Old 02-09-2018, 02:04 PM
 
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We tried no homework this year. For us, it was a bad idea. We felt that parents were not as aware of what was happening in school even though we continued to send home weekly newsletters. We fell behind in math because weren't practicing enough.
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Old 02-09-2018, 02:05 PM
 
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No advice but that’s a huge shift at the last minute. He should have given you until next year to figure it out, especially a college prep private school. What are parents, who expect homework, going to say?
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Old 02-09-2018, 02:22 PM
 
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All legitimate questions that we asked as well. Apparently, some of our parents are concerned that we're too hard and give too much work, so he's trying something "radical" to meet those parent demands. We are fearful it will send others who come for the academic excellence running, but that's why it's a "pilot" at the end of the year.
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Change to no homework
Old 02-09-2018, 02:32 PM
 
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Whenever something big changes, it's tough at first. But slowly everyone will adjust.

I don't have any specific advice for you, but I can say I gave up all homework a few years ago, and now I would have a very hard time going back. I did it because I have so little parent involvement and we have students from such low SES homes, it wasn't getting done by many kids anyway and I wasn't allowed to give consequences for not doing it.

If there's one piece of advice I could give to you and every other teacher is to just roll with whatever new ideas admin comes up with and try not to get worked up about any of it. One thing I've learned in my 20 years of teaching is that the only constant is change!


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Old 02-09-2018, 02:48 PM
 
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Cut it out and whatever you'd give for homework... make like a monthly 'finished with my work' packet?

Quote:
What are parents, who expect homework, going to say?
Direct them to the packet! Call it enrichment.

I don't give homework.

I am sped though and my kids don't do it properly or get any help with it. I do encourage them to read.
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Old 02-09-2018, 04:15 PM
 
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I bet $100 your P is going to hear more complaints about no homework than he was previously hearing about too much homework. I work in a very low SES school where it's hard to give consequences for elementary kids (especially lower elementary) not doing homework because they don't have the support at home.

We thought about doing a no homework policy, but my P made us send out a survey first. Of course not everyone responded, but those that did overwhelmingly responded that they wanted homework. I can imagine that this would be even more so the case in a private school.

Personally, I wouldn't make any drastic changes unless I was sure the new policy was going to stick around.
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No homework
Old 02-10-2018, 05:50 AM
 
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We had this discussion for two years. Year three we compromised and set HW as reading, with no add on work, and a math page because we had a new program.

Most people stuck to it. I taught second grade so I'm not sure if upper grades added on more.

Personally, I loved it. Prior to change, Most kids did the hw and the few that were problematic were always going to be problematic. And it was always correct because parents helped. But I heard many stories of hw angst.

Once the new policy was in place, the angst dropped significantly.

Oh, and I only had one sheet to correct.
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Old 02-10-2018, 11:12 AM
 
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Quote:
...we've always had 40-60 minutes of homework...a math page, a spelling page or reading comprehension worksheet etc. It's not busy work - it's work meant to prepare students for assessments. If we're now doing all that work in class, we can't possibly do as much as we're doing in class now, so how do I decide what gets cut?
I think an hour every night is probably too much for a lot of families but I think absolutely none is too drastic a solution.

If I were your P, I would have asked you to limit nightly homework to math that had to be practiced in order to move on the next day, and set the reading comp as a weekly packet that the kids could do on a more flexible schedule.

I think spelling homework could easily be optional. Some kids need spelling worksheets to get ready for a test, and others don't (or could practice more efficiently another way). Do you have access to Spelling City, or a school portal or website where you could post pages for the parents to download if they want?
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Old 02-10-2018, 11:49 AM
 
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They actually have a spelling workbook as part of our program, and I usually have them do 3 pages a week. I think now I'm just going to have 1 page we do in class on Monday so I can have a homework grade (we have to have a few, as our grades are weighted 80/20 tests/student work), and those students who want to do more can - it just won't be assigned or graded. We know this might negatively effect some children who won't do a darn thing that isn't assigned, but my P says he will handle parent complaints.

The part that kills me is that I can't even assign reading, which means my kids who already struggle to read simply won't, and we all know that you don't improve on something when you don't do it. We'll have a class novel and shorter reading comprehension things in class, but it's not the same as learning how be an independent reader.

I've been messing around with my quarterly lesson plans just to see, and there will be several of my usual activities that will have to get cut. We'll see how it goes! I hate gambling with my students, but I know others do it, and I'll do the best I can with what I've got!



Last edited by GiantSubs; 02-10-2018 at 03:25 PM..
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Old 02-10-2018, 01:06 PM
 
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Personally, I'm not a big fan of homework so I only assign reading. My P actually recently emailed an article to all teachers that discouraged assigning too much homework, but he didn't set any new rules.

I think it makes sense to pilot it 4th quarter. That way, if it turns out not to go well, the school can start the next year fresh with better changes in place.

Good luck!
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Wow!
Old 02-11-2018, 02:29 PM
 
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That is a big change with no warning...

Like Sprite, I don't do homework as I am SpEd. My students often give their best effort all day long and are emotionally and physically spent by day's end. Homework would probably shut them down or cause meltdowns if it was even attempted.

For parents who want more work, I have a set of websites on my class webpage with both online work and links to related workbooks and worksheets. If they want extra work, they can print it out and offer it themselves. If it is turned in, I look at it at school and give lots of praise but rarely grade it per se.

I do get what you are saying though. It would have been nice if the admin had allowed teacher input. Then you could have made suggestions. [Like each department gets to assign HW one night a week or some kind of compromise.]

I guess my words of wisdom are that this too will pass. Or it wont. Go with the flow. Allow yourself a little break from the whole HW saga. It has been said that students can show mastery as easily with 10 problems as with 30...

Not sure I agree with that but it has been said. It may shorten your already short class time, but you may need to spiral your lesson some to review in school more.

Good luck.
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No HW
Old 02-11-2018, 03:45 PM
 
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I think no homework can work with a little conscious adjustment in your day.

First, let parents know what youíre doing. Switching off hw mid year can be confusing, so send a note as a grade level so parents know what is coming. Keep that communication up with a grade level newsletter - tell parents weekly or monthly what your focuses will be, so they donít feel out of the loop.

Second, add practice into your sections, where you can provide students with homework-type practice that they can do in class. You can monitor student progress and pull kids for extra support.
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Old 02-11-2018, 07:22 PM
 
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We did that a few years ago, also as an experiment at the end of the year. It was fantastic! As both a parent and a teacher I loved it. The P gave the option to stay that way after. A few grade levels have no homework, and some have, well, some. There are so many good learning websites that if parents want something for their kids you can direct them there. Let us know how it goes!
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Old 02-12-2018, 02:41 AM
 
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I think your spelling plan sounds good.

To encourage reading at home, is there any rule against a contest, maybe with prizes? (I wouldn't introduce it immediately, maybe in March or April - pick an author's birthday or something?)

I also like MissESL's and LottaLove's point about informing the parents of the new policy and giving them an easy place to get resources if they feel their kids need more practice.
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Old 02-12-2018, 06:47 AM
 
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I have done packets, nightly pages, and no homework. I used homework as a bonus activity one year.

With no homework, I found that parents did not know what was going on in class, even if I sent a newsletter or page weekly telling them. I didn't have a lot of material that went home since we have a math workbook... I can't keep up with grading packets. I can't keep up with grading pages, either - but I can usually get them checked in and tossed in the trash.

So, basically homework is a responsibility. This year I decided no homework. Now I do tell them to read. But telling them to read is different than assigning it as homework. I only send home unfinished work. I recently started book clubs which is homework. . Most the kids love doing the clubs, though. I always have a couple who are never ready. What do I do with them?

Anyway, I like this year. Homework only when work doesn't get done, or doesn't get done appropriately. No complaints with this group of parents.
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Old 02-14-2018, 08:36 PM
 
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Hi, I am also perplexed as to why our Homework has become OPTIONAL school-wide. Very frustrating.
Would you please share ALL the reasons WHY this change is happening to your school? If you don't know, you deserve answers and any decision should be research or data-driven surely.
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