What If Students Assigned Their Own Homework?

“Some may say homework is good practice, and practice makes perfect. Others insist homework is unproductive and pointless.

“What benefit is there in doing 20 of the same type of math problem? If students didn’t understand the lesson from the day, not understanding 20 problems may make them feel that math is inaccessible. This is how children begin to struggle in math and decide it’s not for them. And if they did understand the lesson, repeating similar problems is pointless. Worse still, students begin to believe math is boring, irrelevant, a set of mundane rules, and maybe even a waste of time.

“What if homework could be a means for promoting self-efficacy, agency, and motivation to learn? Teaching students to actively pursue knowledge and see it as valuable is critical to their success both in and out of school.” — Margie Pearse, Edutopia

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Image Source: Learning & the Brain

Tech-Based Formative Assessment

“When we use formative assessment strategies, we’re on a fact-finding mission. As educators, we work to figure out who understands the teaching point of a lesson, who has mastered a new concept, who needs extra help. Formative assessment happens naturally as we walk around the room and listen in on student conversations or examine their classwork after the bell rings. But how can you use technological tools to check for understanding in meaningful, sustainable, and scalable ways?” — Monica Burns, Edutopia

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Image Source: globaldigitalcitizen.org

53 Strategies for Checking for Understanding

This quick-reference list of assessment strategies will help you identify a variety of ways to check students’ thinking and learning.

Click on the screenshot below to download this resource from Edutopia.

53 Strategies for Checking for Understanding


Project-Based Learning Spotlight: PBL Success Start to Finish

This video from Edutopia spotlights Manor New Technology High School, “where an unwavering commitment to an effective school-wide project-based learning model keeps both students and teachers motivated and achieving their best” (Source). It is “a public high school just outside of Austin in Manor, Texas. It is an entirely project-based learning school that has consistently achieved outstanding results since opening. We followed a project there for three weeks to find out what makes their model so effective” (Source).

A Message to Teachers from George Lucas

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Day filmmaker George Lucas shares his thoughts about the importance of education. In a blog post at Edutopia he shares, “There is no other job more important than education. It is the foundation of our democracy. By seizing on what’s working, and recreating those successes from one classroom to the next, we can make it better for everyone” (Source).

I encourage you to read the full post and consider George’s personal experiences in the classroom and recommendations for education as we move forward.

Introduction to Project-Based Learning

Speaking at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Annual Conference, Pat Bassett, NAIS President, highlighted Edutopia‘s project-based learning resources. The George Lucas Educational Foundation has touted PBL’s merits for many years. I decided to revisit the PBL section at Edutopia and thought I’d share this video. It provides a good introduction to project-based learning.

The following quote from Seymour Papert about PBL especially stood out to me. This sort of flies in the face of what we are currently seeing in many of the test-focused schools.

“The first thing you have to do is give up the idea of curriculum. Curriculum meaning you have to learn this on a given day. Replace it by a system where you learn this where you need it. So, that means you are going to put kids in a position where they’re going to use the knowledge that they get.