We don’t give much homework at my school. We ask third graders to read for 20 minutes and to work on math facts (division/multiplication) for about ten minutes.
It was a short moment, maybe a minute as we wrapped up to transition to Performing Arts, but it spread like wildfire. “Can I finish this at home?” one student started. “Ooh, ooh, can I take this home, also?” another pleaded. “Yeah, me, too?” a third student requested.
“You all know you don’t have to? I’m going to give you another 30 minutes tomorrow to finish up.” That period I had pushed them to finish up their final drafts, but I didn’t want it to seem like I was pressuring them to complete it. We had two more days before we were going to give these persuasive speeches.
“We know. We want to though!”
“Okay, I want to work on this at home, too!”
“Well, if you’re gonna take it home, I’ll give you a special folder to put your drafts and the final draft paper in.” I passed out five simple manila folders to these excited writers. They thought they were really cool, special folders.
Eight children had already finished their final drafts, and five of the remaining six asked to take it home. They were proud of their drafts and wanted the satisfaction of completing their final draft that day.
I was beaming inside. I was smiling on the outside. I, too, felt proud that I had created a moment where my students wanted to take their learning outside of my classroom. I told them, “You all are awesome.”