Is homework a waste of time?

President Hollande of France raised eyebrows around the world as he outlined his thoughts on banning homework from French schools.

Francois Hollande doesn’t think it is fair that some kids get homework help from their parents while children who come from disadvantaged families don’t.

Before we label Mr. Hollande as a crazy nut bag, Australia has also queried the relevance of homework in primary schools and has evidence to support their findings that  primary school homework offers no real benefit - and only limited results in junior high school.

There was genuine purpose seen in years 11 and 12 but not much else.


Whilst I am not collecting children's pocket money to raise this topic.  I do at times see it as menial work, and have found homework tasks such as a Passion Project to be far more beneficial to younger and middle years students as it allows them to drive their learning intentions outside the classroom.

In saying that i have also seen it used to great effect.

So...  I would like to pose the question

Is homework a waste of time?  And at what point does it become effective?

I would love to hear your thoughts.

The First 100 & 200 most commonly used words charts.

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High frequency words are quite simply those words which occur most frequently in written material.  For example, "and", "the", "as" and "it".

They are often words that have little meaning on their own, but they do contribute a great deal to the meaning of a sentence.

Some of the high frequency words can be sounded out using basic phonic rules, e.g. "it" is an easy word to read using phonics. However, many of the high frequency words are not phonically regular and are therefore hard to read in the early stages. 

These words are sometimes called tricky words, sight words or camera words. In addition to being difficult to sound out, most of the high frequency words have a rather abstract meaning which is hard to explain to a child.

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Below you can download our first 100 and second 100 most commonly used words chart for your classroom as a display or simply to put in front of your child when they are doing their homework to assist them with spelling.

Download First 100 High Frequency Words Chart - Bold Print. 

Download First 100 High Frequency Words Chart - Handwritten Font.

Download Second 100 High Frequency Words Chart - Bold Print.

Download Second 100 High Frequency Words Chart - Handwritten Font.

* Please note all of our posters are originally designed using high resolution images and fonts at A3 paper size.  Be aware it will be automatically resized to your default paper size when using Adobe Acrobat Reader without any loss of quality.  If you would like to print these documents at larger sizes you can read the Adobe Resize & Scaling FAQ here.

Finally if you would like to purchase a completely editable version of this document to alter without any restrictions you can purchase it for $10.00 simply by emailing us.

Free eBook: Get 100% Homework Turn in

Lauren Amijo and Michelle Ott have put together a great eBook for teachers that outlines strategies to ensure that all of your students complete and turn in their homework on time. 

This can often be a difficult task but this eBook has number of strategies for teachers and incentives for students to ensure that they take greater ownership of their learning.

Download the Teacher eBook here.

Download the Student Guide here.

MathsInsider - A Practical Guide with Tips for Parents to Help Their Children

Thanks to Scott @ www.mytopten.com.au

MathsInsider is a blog developed by Caroline Mukisa to develop a bank of resources that can be used practically to assist parents in developing their child's mathematical skills and knowledge. This is truly a great blog and will assist both parents and teachers in understanding the way that children learn. If you need some assistance with helping your child, visit MathsInsider.

Student Led Passion Projects - Brilliant Personalised Learning task for a Term

Passion Projects, or the shortened similar project based learning task known as ‘Genius Hour” are a brilliant opportunity to let your students develop their own personalised learning styles. These tasks offer students the chance to take ownership of their learning and work within a timeline to meet deadlines all the while spending a term doing something they have a real passion about.

I would have to say that when I run my Passion Projects annually my students continually amaze me in terms of what they can achieve when they are motivated about learning.  Regardless of whether they are high achievers or struggle academically I have seen students totally transform their attitude to learning once they realise what they can achieve through this project.

What is a passion project you may ask?

Here is the complete outline for you to hand out to your students explaining the expectations of this project but in a nutshell here is how it works.

  • Students select a task or skill in which they want to learn something new. (some examples my students have done in the past are dressmaking, making a video game, learning an instrument, cooking a 3 course meal for their family or building a cubby house.)

  • Students research and complete the task within the time frame outlined.

  • Students keep an online diary of their learning journey outlining their successes and failures.

  • Students then teach a family member or friend their task or skill to show them what they have learnt.

  • Students put together a presentation outlining their learning journey including videos, photos and feedback from family members or friends. They are peer assessed in accordance with the assessment rubric.


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IT’S ALL HERE

A complete unit of work on PASSION PROJECTS for teachers and students. NO PREP REQUIRED.

Your students will be super ENGAGED working on PERSONALISED LEARNING TASKS they are PASSIONATE ABOUT. OVER 50 PAGES OF CONTENT, RESOURCES AND ASSESSMENT TOOLS.


Please note it is unimportant whether a student succeeds or fails in completing their task they are attempting.  What is important is that they record and learn from those successes and failures and can share that knowledge with others.  This is outlined in full in the assessment rubric which is handed to students and explained to them at the beginning of the project.

Passion Projects are aimed at students from grades 3 – 9 but can definitely be modified to suit any year level.

Be sure to invite parents to attend the final presentation as it is a huge moment for some students.  I have included a covering letter for this also that I have used in the past.

From a teachers perspective this is a brilliant task.  You simply give your students all of the information provided and contribute your own input along the time line (about 3 times in total) to ensure students are staying on task and offer guidance where necessary.  All of the assessment is understood before students begin and I have recently let peers assess them using the assessment rubric.  It runs for a term and is very easy in terms of your input but offers massive rewards when you see the finished product.

Resources:

Passion Project Overview (Ensure Students, Parents and staff have a copy of this.)

Passion Project Assessment Rubric (Ensure Students, Parents and staff have a copy of this.)

Letter to Parents inviting them to attend Presentation Evening.

I wish you well.

You may need to alter these resources to suit your own needs obviously and if you have any queries please don’t hesitate to comment below and I’ll address them.