#TipsforTuesday: How to create a good homework task
Homework, the two syllables many people dreaded when they were kids. Often involving a lot of scribbling and then rubbing out and regurgitating information, homework has often been synonymous with a lack of fun and uninspiring activities which stops your from going out with your friends or watching TV.
In this week’s #TipforTuesday we are looking at specifically IQBar homework tasks and how to improve on them. How to make them relevant for the class, useful for the Bready, but also fun and engaging. Our Breadies are often inundated with school homework, particularly now during the summer holidays. A lot of Breadies, if you ask them what they are doing at the weekend, will reply with ‘homework’.
So, is it really necessary to add IQBar homework on top of all the homework they already have?
The short answer is yes. The only way to really internalise what you’ve learnt is to recap it and continue to practice it outside of lesson time. This is particularly important with something like English language learning which the Bready may not be practicing every day. Homework helps consolidate knowledge and offers Breadies the opportunity to look at the content from the session at their own pace. However it is our duty as Buddies to make sure that this homework is both relevant to the session, meaning the student gets the maximum impact from it, and also that it does not feel like a drag – IQBar homework tasks should be inherently fun.
If you’re going through a Picaro session with your student and you reach the end of the slides, worry not! The homework is already set. However, if your student does not finish the Picaro session or you are using CGE, here are a few pointers on how to create an excellent homework task:
Make sure it’s relevant
It can be easy to set homework that is just a fun activity without any real link to what you covered in the session. If your Bready is young, this can be just setting a drawing activity. Or a dot-to-dot. Whilst this may be nice for the Bready, it doesn’t really teach them anything.
Likewise, there have been some cases where, in the midst of enthusiasm for teaching new vocabulary and grammar, Buddies set homework which is new to the Bready and wasn’t covered in class. This has little benefit as it can lead to the Bready being confused and the content from the class being forgotten.
Make sure that homework tasks cover something that was in the lesson. Perhaps it is something that challenged the Bready and they need time to practice it by themselves, such as a tense, prepositions or new vocabulary. The important thing is that they come away from the homework task being more confident – or perhaps less! In which case great, you can go over it again.
If you would like to set a task like a dot-to-dot or a colouring task for a young Bready, think – are the numbers appropriate for the student? Will they be able to understand all the numbers over 10 for example. Is there a better way where the Bready could have practiced speaking in full sentences? Does this task actually consolidate the lesson?
If you finish a lesson half-way through, don’t look to the last slide for the homework! Look at where you’re finishing off the lesson, was there something that the student struggled with, or is worth going over? Then, sen
Make it interactive – it doesn’t have to be pen to paper!
This is very important! IQBar offers fun lessons and so it should offer fun homework. Learning is not two dimensional. Many people struggle to learn by wrote so, whilst written work is important, there are plenty of other ways to help Breadies practice what they’ve learnt in lesson through kinesthetic learning.
And if it is pen to paper, make it creative
Written tasks are, often useful in checking spelling and grammar so when you are setting homework that is written, think about making it creative. Writing doesn't have to learning by rote. Get your student to write stories, discuss the topics, make up questions for you.
Take pictures – rather than drawing pictures or writing down items, get your Bready to take photos of them doing certain activities or finding different items that were learnt during lesson.
Here is an excellent example of a Bready practicing prepositions by taking photos of different examples. He has still written the phrases such as ‘the lid is on the mug’, as part of the homework, whilst being set the fun task taking photos of each example.
Make a video - If you have a Bready learning directions, get them to direct their mum in English next time they go to the supermarket! Get them to record it so you are still able to assess their program.
Get them to show you things - If you’re looking at qualities of objects as in CGE 1 unit 6, get your student to find lots of things that are ‘soft’, ‘hard’, ‘round’, ‘flat’ and so on, and then get them to talk about it.
For older, more advanced students, you could even get them to do a little demonstration, teaching you. Get them before the next session to plan how to teach you about a tense, an animal they have read about from the text book, or something to do with English grammar.
Get the family involved!
One reason why interactive homework works, is that the Bready doesn’t need to do the task on their own. Get them to get the family involved through family interviews, gathering information or getting the parent to photo them as they do different tasks. This also has the duel benefit of allowing the parents to see what it is their son or daughter is covering in class.
So, use your imagination. Imagine yourself in the Breadies shoes and consider what you’d like to do if you were them, what would be a useful, interactive way to remember. Homework doesn’t need to be boring and stuffy, make it as fun and creative as you can! However, don’t forget to keep it relevant. The rest is up to you!