Mr. H's Class 2016
In language arts we are exploring non-fiction as a resource for independent learning. Students are learning how to select a topic, generate researchable questions, find sources, and take notes. We will be using our research to create a mini-museum to share our learning.
Our focus in math this month is on fractions and measurement. Students are learning to select the appropriate tools and units to measure mass and capacity. We have also spent time reviewing time and money. See if your child can read your analog clock or count your change.
In social studies we have been learning about personal financial literacy. Students have been earning money from their classroom jobs that they can spend or save in class. We have also learned how education and skills can affect income, and the importance of having a budget.
As teachers, parents will often ask us: "Could we have more homework, we really want our child to improve/be more successful/get ahead." Many are often surprised at how little homework we assign in 3rd grade. While homework has been a part of school for centuries, we need to take a close look at what we do, and why we do it to make informed decisions that can best help students learn. Please read this excerpt from a Washington Post article by researcher and author Alfie Kohn on some of our latest findings about homework.
"First, no research has ever found a benefit to assigning homework (of any kind or in any amount) in elementary school. In fact, there isn’t even a positive correlation between, on the one hand, having younger children do some homework (vs. none), or more (vs. less), and, on the other hand, any measure of achievement. If we’re making 12-year-olds, much less five-year-olds, do homework, it’s either because we’re misinformed about what the evidence says or because we think kids ought to have to do homework despite what the evidence says.
Second, even at the high school level, the research supporting homework hasn’t been particularly persuasive. There does seem to be a correlation between homework and standardized test scores, but (a) it isn’t strong, meaning that homework doesn’t explain much of the variance in scores, (b) one prominent researcher, Timothy Keith, who did find a solid correlation, returned to the topic a decade later to enter more variables into the equation simultaneously, only to discover that the improved study showed that homework had no effect after all, and (c) at best we’re only talking about a correlation — things that go together — without having proved that doing more homework causes test scores to go up. (Take 10 seconds to see if you can come up with other variables that might be driving both of these things.)
Third, when homework is related to test scores, the connection tends to be strongest — or, actually, least tenuous — with math. If homework turns out to be unnecessary for students to succeed in that subject, it’s probably unnecessary everywhere."