¡Saludos! Welcome to my series on commitment to students!
Yesterday I wrote about my renewed commitment to keeping all students “afloat,” and today I’m thinking about the need to extend their learning beyond the school day.
In the past I have attempted some different things, namely the oh-so-famous (and rightly so) student-selected homework a la Sara-Elizabeth Cottrell of Musicuentos.com.
These homework options and the whole idea is really ingenious, but I was really lousy at implementing the plan. Another caveat was that my students are not accustomed to doing homework at all; our district has a very interesting policy of only allowing 10 minutes of homework per night, per course, or an hour per week. So I did what any exhausted teacher with five preps a day would do. I dropped it.
Now, considering the research that shows that over 50% of our students are graduating from four year high school World Language programs with a speaking proficiency of Novice High or lower, which is considered non-communicative (Report by: Center for Applied Second Language Studies (CASLS), University of Oregon Sponsored by: U.S. Department of Education), 45 minutes a day of instruction just is not going to cut it. I’m taking things in a slightly different direction this time around. Before, my students did do so well with the open-ended “I did..It’s worth…I learned…” and so on. My students seem to need a little more, shall we say, direction? To put it nicely 🙂
With Sara-Elizabeth Cottrell’s blessing, I am sharing with you my Student-Selected Homework Slips. They are individualized for each “homework” activity. All you need to do to take them and make them your own is select “File” and “Make a copy” at the top of the document.
My students will have three choices for turning them in: 1. Copy the digital document of their choice and turn in their answers by email, 2. Print the digital document of their choice and turn in their answers in the classroom, or 3. Take a homework slip of their choice from the classroom and turn it back in in the classroom.
As for the requirements of the homework, I’m going to go a little easier on my kiddos this time around (remember, they aren’t quite used to doing it!). Here are the new requirements:
1. Students will be required to complete two points each week.
2. Up to four points per week may be accumulated, thus allowing for one free week from homework.
3. Students may not repeat any activity within a nine-week period.
4. Students may work ahead to accumulate points (up to four per week), but they cannot work to make-up the points they missed. I mean, come on, it’s only TWO points each week!
5. There are activities ranging in “pointage” from one to four, so there are many options within a nine-week period!
And there you have it! This year, I am committing myself to helping my students go the extra mile in achieving a communicative and useful proficiency level.
Next up in the series: Committing to order in the classroom! My students deserve it, and so do I.