A LYS Assistant Superintendent submits: After a trip to an ESC today, I realized there is much to be learned, or perhaps unlearned, around the State of Texas. I will begin this painful process with a gentle assault on one of modern educations mainstays: HOMEWORK! Let’s set the stage; homework is an instructional strategy. It is a valid instructional strategy. But that is all, it is simply a strategy. Like ANY instructional strategy, the artful instructor must examine the effectiveness of homework. But more often than not, I don’t hear teacher reflection, I hear educators complaining that students will not do homework. Here comes the painful part: If homework is not an effective instructional strategy for your students, minimize or eliminate it, and search for an instructional strategy that IS effective for your students. That does not mean you can’t return to homework at some later point when your students are ready for it. But like any instructional strategy, the use and timing of homework must be artfully determined. Despite our infatuation, there is nothing special about homework. If it is not working for your kids, take a lesson from Dr. Rich Allen: Do Something Different. LYS Nation, lose your love affair homework. Homework can be effective, however it is entirely possible to have effective instruction successful students without it. SC Response If I had a dime for every time I came across a reasonable, effective and managed homework program at a school, I might have fifty cents. At most campuses, homework decisions are set by individual teachers so there is absolutely no consistency from classroom to classroom. And this is not a new phenomena. If you want to try to get some value out of the homework that is assigned on your campus then consider implementing the following procedures and actions:1. Create a homework schedule. Example: Monday – Math; Tuesday – English; Wednesday – Science; Thursday – Social Studies; Friday – Electives2. Limit the time that homework should take to complete to 45 minutes or less.3. Ensure that that any homework assigned is to review concepts and skills, not to teach new concepts and skills. 4. Create homework support rooms on your campus that operate before and after school where students can complete their assignments.5. Revise your grading policy so homework grades can only help the student, not hurt the student. That means a zero on a homework grade doesn’t matter. I could give you five more things to work on, but just implementing the five things above will put you in front of 97% of the schools in the country. Think. Work. Achieve.Your turn…

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