Monday, September 17, 2012

Five Hallmarks of Good Homework

I agree with the Five Hallmarks of Good Homework, “…clear academic purpose, demonstrates student learning, ownership by offering choices, being personally relevant, instills a sense of competence, and is aesthetically pleasing.” However, how does this relate to the flipped classroom where most of the instructions, work, reading, and preparation are done at home (similar to homework) and the group work, direction instruction, and coaching happen during class time?

I appreciate the practical suggestions, such as, “…make homework time-based instead of task-based.  If students have homework in math, science, and reading and they spend 50 minutes on science and math, parents simply write a note saying, "Rhonda spent her 50 minutes on science and math and had no time for reading tonight" (Vatterott, 2009). Teachers who are uncomfortable with this method might want to prioritize subjects ("Do the reading first, then math, then science") or ask students to spend a little time on each subject ("Spend at least 10 minutes on each subject. You do not need to work more than 50 minutes total").

In the high school, middle school, or college, it would take more coordination by all of the teachers or the administration to make the time-based homework possible. However, it would be easier to apply in grade school when all homework is assigned by the same teacher. This brings up a good point about considering how much homework one teacher is assigning in relation to the homework that all of the other teachers are assigning.

Personal Promise is an example of a “good homework assignment” for English 9 students that includes proof of meeting the hallmarks, student work examples, and the complete homework assignment.

1.    Clear academic purpose (…Reflect upon the notion of honesty, integrity, and personal responsibility. Write a one-pager exploring your goals and ideals…By valuing your time and integrity; you can authenticate your educational experience.)
2.    Demonstrates student learning (What is your definition of integrity? What does honest mean to you? What responsibility do you owe yourself? …How will you meet your goals without giving up your integrity?)

3.    Ownership by offering choices (What personal promises do you want to make yourself? Feel free to write on both sides of the paper; draw pictures, include photographs, jot down mottos or quotations that are meaningful to you, etc. Write in poetic form if you’d like, as well.)

4.    Being personally relevant (Freshman year is a magical time to start afresh; to reinvent yourself, to seize opportunities, to set goals for yourself, to make promises to yourself (that you intend to keep!) and …to think BIG!)
5.    Instills a sense of competence (…think about the dreams that you have, not only for this year, but also for the future.) 


6.    Aesthetically pleasing (Decorate the page in any way that you choose.)

Homework Assignment

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