Day 22 (of 186) #IMMOOC Reflection with @alicekeeler and homework

Day 22 (of 186) #IMMOOC Reflection with @alicekeeler and homework



#IMMOOC has been hitting it out of the park – @joboaler last week and @alicekeeler this week:




I am truly a fanboy of Alice and her work – including her emphasis on changing work and mindset that is “homework” – if it’s a work package to be done at home, call it that.  IF there is relevant and meaningful to send work home (which may cause frustration, anger, confusion, disruptions, kids fighting and getting punished, parents cancelling Christmas etc etc etc) make sure it is relevant and meaningful to the student, not just for you as teacher.  My daughter sometime says: my arm hurts when I do —– and my common response is: well, don’t do ——.   Same for homework, I am very happy to write a note saying my kid tried, but —- was not able to be done at home without teacher support. We need to be very mindful of both what and why when we send work home to be completed…




In my opinion/experience – I LOVE it when students ask if they can take work home (especially in geniushour/passion projects – because it is something THEY want to do and learn more about (engagedt, meaningful and relevant learning).  I also will send work home when it is something that NEEDS to go home: assignments that need information from parents




WHY Ditch Homework?

  • Homework is inequitable – kids that don’t have time usually have many other commitments that we don’t always think kids should have to do…
  • I know (because I did it) sometimes homework will be copied from someone who got it done to be compliant – but copying words does not mean learning occurred
  • Research shows that homework in elementary has no impact
  • In later years there is a bit of a blip – but in particular in Math there is a 2 point gain…
  • After all, students have been working/thinking/learning all day long – they need a ‘break’ in order to let the brain process the information that has been taken in!
  • When Alice stopped sending homework….nothing changed (nobody suffered) except for more positive relationships!
  • Instead time should be used differently: instead of reviewing homework, chasing homework, punishing for lack of homework……use that time for meaningful teaching.
  • When it comes to technology at home: new note
  • Less paper chasing; more building relationships!
  • The ever popular “10 minutes per grade” was made up…..and even so – in secondary that 120 minutes (for seniors) needs to be divided by the number of blocks in the day….and if students are taking “X blocks” on an overload schedule it should be divided even more….
  • If you have to give points to homework to get it done… it about the work or about completing a task? <– this is where descriptive feedback comes in – this feedback can be more motivating than any ‘encouragement to change %s’>



Gamification should not be ‘the game of school’ because if it’s about ‘earning points’ then kids will play the game. If it’s shifted to play games where we learn and take risks because there is always an “extra life”, that’s where the magic happens!


Homework should be focused on individuals – if students need reinforcement (independent practice) at home (reading, times tables, etc) it should be a plan between teacher and parent and not be a disruption to what students need (aka a break) – but it should not be a punishment because that perpetuates dissatisfaction with a particular subject – and we want to develop positive attitudes (I’m looking at you Math!)


….I used to promote 15 minutes of reading, 15 minutes of math (usually playing one of a variety of games: ) and 15 of writing (a diary or a shopping list or a word game) <– but I’ve backed off these as well – knowing from my own home world how busy some kids can be – so my 3×15 aren’t rules….Image result for more like guidelines


I understand that if “feels right” that:

  • 10 minutes per grade of extra work for students to develop a work ethic
  • work not finished in class should be finished at home
  • we don’t have enough time in school to do all the tasks
  • it’s a way to earn bonus marks (my daughter got up to 113% in one class thanks to this mindset)


As a Fun Fact was shared: Finland ranks #1 in education despite school only averaging 20 hours a week (Canada is closer to 35) and assigns no homework – in part so that kids have time to be kids (because learning-through-play can be very powerful) but also because the brain needs time to process all the information that it takes in…..that’s why great ideas come to you while walking/driving/showering!



Learning happens 24/7/365 but let students have a break from completing tasks as part of that ‘out of the building’ learning!

About technolandy

Principaling on the Pacific in Powell River BC Pushing 'technologization' in education: blending technology and curriculum seamlessly. Advocate for better understanding of Anxiety in Education (and use of self-regulation) Utilizing ePortfolios & Descriptive Feedback to personalize learning!
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