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School Rules

Homework shouldn’t be a “second shift” for kids, parents or teachers!

“PDF”—play, downtime, and family time—has replaced homework for kindergartners,1st graders, and 2nd graders at one Chicago  elementary school.

Calling it a “grand experiment,” Hamilton Elementary School principal James Gray hopes  that eliminating homework will help children develop a genuine love of learning, instead of requiring them to do more work at home after a long day at school.

Gray’s staff introduced the idea to community members, citing research about the lack of benefits of homework for younger children, and announced the new policy this year. They hope to expand the no homework policy up to the 5th grade, but this will be determined based on reports, parent surveys, and academic data from this year.

In 2012, the Chicago Public School district no longer required its teachers to assign homework. But so far, Hamilton Elementary School has been the only school to introduce a homework ban. Read more here: http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teaching_now/2014/09/homework_in_elementary_school_divides_educators.html

Homework should be a means of communicating with parents and getting them involved in their child’s learning. Interviews, family history activities, and even “create your own homework” assignments can stimulate discussion and get kids to open up about school.


Data Walls in classrooms shouldn’t humiliate kids

Covering the classroom walls with data is not a better idea than pictures, sentence starters, words of encouragement, charts and graphs of historical importance, student artwork, multiplication tables, bar graphs of favorite books, imagination grabbers, thought-provoking ideas, scientific discoveries, pictures of important people, student projects, photos of the class doing, learning, pictures of animals, interactive bulletin boards, classroom birthdays, seasonal pictures, class schedules, math facts, history facts, reading facts and anything else that may foster a love of learning.

Weirdest new thing in the world

Now eight year olds can buy a school backpack set, complete with backpack with two side pockets, a notebook with lined paper and the mini enVision Math book from Pearson for their American Girl dolls. Oh, it also comes with fake pencils and water bottle. You can see it on the American Girl Web site here:  http://store.americangirl.com/agshop/html/item/id/226560/ctc/SI

Best new things in the world

1. Sometimes teachers, even entire school districts, can get caught up in the thesis that certain children can’t achieve at high levels. They’ll spend endless hours excusing, tracking and correlating the percent of low-birth weight babies, percent of children born to single moms, percent of children from families who receive government assistance, and percent of children with disabilities. Armed with printouts, statistics and newspaper clippings, they will lament that, “We are not strong enough to raise poor, ethnic minority or disabled students to a higher level due to forces outside the school tugging them downward.” And then these teachers/districts start settling for “good enough” work. The result is schools that don’t expect very much from themselves or their students – and in turn don’t get much from either group.

  • Help Dispel the Myth…Read success stories from schools that boost the achievement of poor and minority students.
  • http://www.edtrust.org/dc/resources/for-educators

2. Good intentions and good plans are only half the battle when it comes to improving instruction and raising student achievement. Implementing those plans represents the other half. Sometimes we don’t pay enough attention to this activity. Check out the planning AND implementing Melissa Kenney and Sarah Zwiers at Fennville High School (Michigan) have done. Read More.

3. Computers, laptops and now tablets and smart boards are probably the most expensive pieces of equipment in schools. Apple juice, a roof leak or a melted crayon (don’t ask) can leave these tools unfit for use and collecting dust. Pretty soon classroom devices go from 24 to 14 and you’re back to using the chalk board. GoCare offers protection plans for All types of Smartphones, Tablets, Laptops, and more and has been serving K-12 schools and districts for many years.

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