Sunday, September 19, 2010

Homework Location

Before school started I was talking with a middle school English teacher, and she mentioned that one of her 1st assignments is to have the kids keep a log for a little while on where and when they read and what effect it has on their reading. They read in 4 different types of situations and answer some questions about how it went.

I'm thinking that's a great homework assignment for my math students. Something to the effect of:

For the next 4 weeks, attempt doing your homework in a variety of locations and situations and discuss the effect this had on the success of your work.

Examples of place: at the kitchen table, on my bed, in the cafeteria, in the library, on the couch, ...

Examples of time: the night before it's due, the night it's assigned, the same day it's due, 5pm, 8pm, 11pm, first hwk I do, last hwk I do (from various classes),...

Examples of situation: while watching TV, while listening to the radio, while texting friends, in silence, while my family is noisy about me.

Make sure you write about at least 3-4 different combinations of the above, and make sure you analyze how it went in terms of being able to successfully think about and concentrate on your homework.

I'm curious if they've already figured out what's best for them, but I'm guessing that since their lives are so jam packed and they're teens and they want to talk with friends and leave things until the last minute, that maybe they haven't played around with changing things up to see if they can do better.


  1. I love this idea! My most self-aware students would ask for advice on "how to study," and while I was glad they were asking, I was surprised they didn't already know (as juniors/seniors). Something as simple as removing distractions can make a huge difference not just for students' actual performance on homework, but also for their awareness of how much control they have over their learning.

  2. I know. I wonder what the difference is "these days". Is it that there are too many potential distractions, and it seems the norm to always be "plugged in"? Is it that they've never had to study much before because the curriculum has now changed? ....

    Ms. Cookie

  3. Anonymous4:21 PM

    I think your absolutely correct. Young people have lived with splintered focus for years because they never do JUST one thing at a time. We walk and talk on the phone or listen to our Ipods. The idea of sitting in silence and focusing on one event is growing more and more foreign.

  4. This is a nice little experiment. I would be curious to see what the distribution of the results looks like.

    Winning Education