Thursday, September 29, 2011

Homework Menu: add choice and community service. It's not all on paper...

Teacher Sally Koch Hayes of Burlington, introduced a terrific idea about homework and differentiated learning.  She knows students have different interests and different styles of learning that is meaningful to them.  Basically, she gives her students a weekly homework grid and they must select three daily activities from a "menu" of 10 categories which may include:

1.  Pleasure Reading: books, magazines, recipes, newspapers, ebooks
2.  Physical Activities: walking, biking, skating, swimming, playing sports
3.  Hobbies: sewing, gardening, photography, caring for pets
4.  Art Projects:  painting, drawing, collage, dioramas
5. Community Service:  mowing a neighbor's lawn/shoveling for them, playing a game with an older person or younger person, picking up trash

Effective education thinks outside the box; it is creative and innovative.  This teacher found her students began to organize community clean-ups and learned how to play chess in order to play with an older person.  They extended themselves to build community.  Homework is more than regurgitating information and completing worksheets.  I like this idea; learning is not all on paper.  This is homework that would make Music lessons or participating on a Sport Team outside of school count.  Today's students would love a Technology option to interact with websites, view videos, and play online skill building games.   I like when students connect what their gifts are and where their strengths lie to extend themselves and reach out to others!

To read the full article on Sally Koch Hayes, please click here.

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