Here at Kimber Hills Academy at the elementary level, we are implementing a new homework format from the more traditional rote exercise type of homework to Mind Motivators! The foundation of this change can best be explained from a book, Homework Done Right: Power of Learning in Real Life Situations, by Alleman, Ley, Knighton, Botwinski, and Middlestead. Janet Alleman is a professor in the Department of Education at Michigan State University and wrote this book as a joint author with Michigan state teachers. Read this excerpt from their book:
Meaningful homework is closely connected to what students learn in class: it extends the in-school curriculum and provides opportunities for students to master skills and cement their understanding of big ideas. These assignments often offer students the chance to apply what they learn in the classroom in authentic out-of-school contexts, and vice versa. Homework of this nature emphasizes the here-and-now and serves as a valuable source of information for class discussion that goes far beyond the textbook.
When teachers cash in on the homework treasure, students will view their learning as meaningful and memorable because it applies to their lives, expands their sense of efficacy, engages them with adults in responsible ways, celebrates their diversity, personalizes the curriculum, exploits learning opportunities that are not easily accessible at school, and keeps the curriculum up-to-date. The results enrich in-school learning for all students.
The continuum of homework from less meaningful to more meaningful can be summarized in the following manner:
Memorization of Information to Application of Knowledge
Lower Order Thinking to Higher Order Thinking
Teacher-driven Tasks to Student-driven Tasks
Focus on Compliance to Focus on Learning
No Meaning Beyond the Classroom to Meaning Beyond the Classroom
The challenge for all of us as students, teachers, parents, and administrators, is to embrace Mind Motivators for our elementary grades and turn homework tasks into treasures this year!