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Here is an idea -- about homework

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From: JDecker (JDecker_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Feb 24 2001 - 10:05:42 PST


You know how kids will ONLY do homework for us if they think there is some
reward for them? (come on...I know this has happened to you at some point).
I am now on my third homework assignment with my eighth grade students (only
the students that didn't turn in one of the first two assignments have to
turn this African American Culture assignment in--otherwise they do get
zeros averaged in for the ten point assignment). I gave the same assignment
to my sixth and seventh grade students as a "have to do". The whole idea was
that they were going to teach me a thing or two...originally about African
American people they admire. Maybe I can learn something else from this?

I have one little gal who very happily turned hers in already early last
week(not due until the end of February). She is a very lovely girl--but
lacks fine motor skills for art---she tries...and she tries.....and she
tries. I work with her frequently after school on her projects--and she is
very happy getting a little too much help from me (shame on me). What is
really fun to see is how she teaches others how to do the skill she could
not do herself (almost brought a tear to my eye...she IS a really good
listener). Kind of brought meaning to the phrase "those who can't teach". I
know she got help on her homework from her parents--because that is what
they were supposed to do. She really wants to get an "A" in art....What do
you think if I give her bonus points for every other homework paper that is
brought in with her name at the top (i.e.: "(student name) told me to bring
this in")? She will be the only one in that class who will know my plan. I
will ask for her help in getting the rest of the class to turn in their
assignments....What this will do is increase her "Art Appreciation" and
"Participation" grades so far over the top...they will make up what she is
lacking in the skills level grade.

If this little gal is receptive to the idea, I will ask for "help" from
students in other classes who turn theirs in Monday (first person in each
class to turn in assignment---must be consistent you know). I do intend to
give all of the students who do take the time to turn in the assignment some
kind of treat on March 1st as everyone knows none will be accepted late
(this time)...They just do not expect a reward.

I quit making homework assignments in art worth too many points---because so
many still chose not to do them. I used to have 8th graders write an essay
worth 100 points--too many students just didn't care about their grades. I
give meaningful assignments because they DO have homework in art once they
get to the high school. Those of you who have no trouble getting kids to do
homework, count yourselves VERY lucky...Hey, our core teachers even have
trouble getting kids to do homework---and those subjects "count".

This idea just popped into my head....as I was doing the dishes (A task I
hate to do...hope you read this Sharon H). I wonder what ideas I will get
as I tackle the bills next.....

Judy Decker

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