Making Required Homework More Effective: An Experiment in My Class

It is increasingly common knowledge that homework is modestly effective in the upper grades, but barely effective at all in elementary.

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While we all have our own thoughts and opinions on how to empower students to engage in learning activities at home, most schools have specific policies in regards to homework, including how many minutes per night and on which days homework should be assigned. This presents most elementary teachers with a challenge: How do we make these required homework minutes more effective? 

Thanks to the fabulous Karen Boyes from Spectrum Education, I was able to publish a second article in her Teachers Matter Magazine all about my recent experiment with making homework more effective, which started as a blogpost that you can read here. This follows my first article on the arrival of fidget spinners in my school in Sudan.

My plan is to keep contributing as many publications as I can to those who like my ideas and writing, including guest blog posts such as my Guest post: Balancing work and play in the sands of Sudan on Mr. Hill’s Musings. Feel free to contact me if you think my writing can make a difference in the lives of our teachers and students.

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With Karen Boyes at AEC 2017

To read my contributions to Teachers Matter Magazine in PDF form, click on the links below:

Fidget Spinners: Annoying or Cool?

and. .

Making Required Homework More Effective


 

Thank you for visiting educationrickshaw.com, a website by international teaching couple, Stephanie and Zach Groshell. We have plenty of articles on our blogroll that will fit your interests, so feel free to explore and learn more about the international teaching circuit.

– Zach Groshell @mrzachg

10 Great Resources for Teaching Mindfulness

In addition to presenting about BLE design at the AEC Conference 2017 in Nairobi, Stephanie and I had the opportunity to attend a mindfulness workshop by the amazing Robyn Harwood (@rsharwood1). Since this powerful experience, I’ve begun to explore how teaching mindfulness can impact my community of learners. Here are some of the resources that I was given at the workshop, some of which I’ve tried in my own classroom, others which I am eager to explore deeper. Enjoy!


Screenshot 2017-11-05 12.24.581. VIA Institute Quiz on Character

Students and teachers can take this quiz to identify strengths to help them with their learning.

 


2. 5 Reflection Activities to Help Students Glow and Grow

A resource we cooked up to get students thinking about their day. Easy to implement now!

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3. Mindfulness with Dr. Jon Kabat Zinn

From Professor of Medicine Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, this video is very memorable in helping teachers to grasp mindfulness concepts. “Check your watch, it’s now”


4. Action for Happiness

A website for exploring what matters, endorsed by Dalai Lama. Lots of tips and strategies for happier living, including a happiness pledge!

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5. Mindful Schools

Take the intro course to get yourself trained and ready to teach mindfulness in your classroom.

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6. This Diagram

Great for explaining ways to create space between a problem and your response to the problem.  stimulus-response_1


7. Find Your Anchor

We learned about how you can teach students to “find their anchor” to return to the present moment. 22da73966e02bdf6a3c51a8afb655835--present-quotes-psychology-quotes Often this can be found by placing a hand on your belly or on your chest during mindful breathing. A good explanation for this can be found here.


 

8. Why Mindfulness Is a Superpower: An Animation

A Happify video on mindfulness as a superpower (Dan Harris). Great for thinking about mindfulness as something that it is not inherently easy, as some might think, but a lifelong pursuit that you need to work towards.


9. Campfires, Caves, and Watering Holes

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These three archetypal learning spaces, originally identified by David Thornburg, has been so beneficial to my class that I will probably do a totally separate write-up on how I’ve implemented it. I’m a total summer camp person, having worked at camps for 6 years before I became a teacher. Check out this article explaining campfires, caves, and watering holes, and also check out my article (sort of related) on how I turned my class into the Survivor reality show!


10. Flip Your Lid Metaphor

The final resource that I will share here that I have found useful is the Dr. Daniel Siegel Hand Model of the Brain. Just watch below… it is great for explaining to kids how to avoid those animalistic instincts.


Thank you for visiting our website, and we encourage you to share it around and keep coming back. I want to extend a special thank you to Robyn Harwood (@rsharwood1) who was the first collector of these resources, as well as a great facilitator.

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Starstruck by this amazing facilitator!

Feel free to follow me on Twitter, and join our facebook group, Over-Posting Educators!

– Zach Groshell (@MrZachG)