Wednesday, January 26, 2011
What is Homework?
To complete many of the required assignments, I've broken my class down into small group, learning centers, where I can meet with small groups of students to find out who really understands principles and concepts and who needs more help. These small groups change day to day and sometimes minute to minute based on what the learner understands and can apply to the project/assignment at hand. Once a student grasps something, he/she moves on to higher level activities that involve problem solving and critical thinking. Doing this I can accurately measure what each of my students understands and has learned even within these tight grading constraints.
Often in these small groups, we have really deep conversations and they make outstanding connections between life outside the classroom walls, their background knowledge, and their personal reading. These students often go home and do extra work to bring back and share with their peers. Sometimes, they gather up supplies and conduct an experiment with the class that they found while doing extra reading because their interest was so peaked by something we discussed in small group, they wanted to extend their learning and share more. I've also had kids create costumes and come to school as a historical figure, create presentations or games for the class, and find all kinds of interesting online resources to share. We've created a class wiki where we can house many of these activities/resources so that the students can further extend their learning beyond our classroom time constraints.