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Is it true that "homework" is not the same as "home fun?" As a teacher, how does one make students like homework?What is the difference between homework and home fun? For me there is no difference... ^_*

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Work is rarely fun, so I don't see the need to entertain students with constant "fun" homework assignments, though it's certainly important to occasionally surprise students with such. I know most students hate homework, and many even seem to think that teachers love giving it. However, most teachers end up...

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Work is rarely fun, so I don't see the need to entertain students with constant "fun" homework assignments, though it's certainly important to occasionally surprise students with such. I know most students hate homework, and many even seem to think that teachers love giving it. However, most teachers end up grading homework assignments on their own--after-school and off-the-clock-- since there is rarely time during the school day to grade in-class and homework assignments. Homework helps to keep new ideas and formulas fresh in the minds of students--this is escpecially true with math--and it is a daily (or almost daily) reminder of the importance of school work and education. It also helps to prepare students for future employment, since many high-paying jobs (and even lowly teaching positions) require after-work-hours preparation.

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The important thing to me, far more so than whether it is fun, is whether it is relevant. Homework should not be assigned for the sake of assigning it. It should have clear goals. I think, really, that it ought to be only used for one of the following reasons, or perhaps a combination of them:

  • To reinforce a skill or learning objective from class (i.e. review or practice)
  • To prepare students for a lesson (like completing a reading that is important to a class discussion or activity)
  • To complete work that was not finished during class time. 

If my homework doesn't meet one of these purposes, I don't assign it at all. Some teachers I have known over the years, especially those in honors or advanced placement classes, have assigned reams of homework because they equated quantity of work with rigor. I never really understood that.

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I think you have to be careful about assigning homework.  You don't want to assign boring mindless drudgery, but you also don't want to assign projects that are too involved or require too much parental assistance.  The kids should be the ones doing the project, not the parents.

[Students] must be able to freely communicate with teachers when they struggle with homework, knowing they can admit that they don't understand a task—and can do so without penalty. (ASCD)

The ASCD says that the hallmarks of good homework are that it has purpose (there is a reason for assigning it), efficiency (the most learning in the least time), ownership (get the kids involved), competence (differentiated to meet student needs) and atheistic appeal (it should look interesting or important). 

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Homework should have a practical and realworld academic purpose. Tinicraw has a great idea for addressing this and incorporating technology. In this day and age, any activity that can incorporate technology into the acquisition of skills would probably be considered fun. For example: if students are watching propaganda, let them watch television for homework, and they can identify type and number of occurrences with regard to the propaganda techniques used.

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Let the students use their cell phones and then it will be fun! One of the best homework assignments I had was when I had students use their cell phones to take pictures of any signs around town that had any misspellings or grammar errors on them. Then, they emailed their pictures to me and I posted them up on the screen in the classroom for all to see. Each student got to explain his or her picture and what was wrong with what they found outside of school. For those who didn't have a phone, they could borrow a friend's phone or just write a short note of what they saw and where they saw the error so they could explain it in class. The students really loved that one! The only thing is if a parent or administrator is strictly against the use of cell phones (cameras) for school projects.

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