## A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

Helping Your Students With Homework: A Guide for Teachers - February 1998

# Tips for Getting Homework Done

## 10. Use school and community resources

Many creative and rewarding homework assignments draw upon resources that are close at hand.

• Barbara Renoux teaches in a district with 2,100 students encompassing 88,000 square miles on the northern tip of Alaska. Her school in Point Lay, which has 83 students, is an hour's plane ride west of district headquarters in Barrow. All of her 17 first- and second-grade students are Eskimos. In a community where, she says, "everyone is related to everyone" students respond particularly well to reading assignments that enable them to practice their developing skills on relatives and friends. So Ms. Renoux assigns a book or a poem that students are expected to read to their parents and to five other adults. Students collect signatures from each listener. "They love that," Ms. Renoux says. "They ask the janitor. They ask the principal. They ask their grandparents. They ask their cousins." Students with five signatures get a sticker on a classroom chart, which, she says, "They go for in a big way." At the end of the quarter, students with a certain number of stickers are allowed to camp out at the school, where they swim in the community pool and use the computer room.

• Jacqueline Omland sends her students to a nursery rhyme theme park near their home in Aberdeen, South Dakota to apply their knowledge of trigonometry. The park's giant Jack-in-the-Beanstalk is too big for them to measure with a yardstick or tape measure. But they can view both the beanstalk and Jack and use their mathematical expertise to determine that they are approximately 80 feet and 7.5 feet tall respectively. The South Dakota teacher also uses an area playground to drive home basic elements of physics. Ms. Omland asks her students to determine how long it takes to slide down the playground slide wearing clothing made from various materials. She then asks them to time their slide with and without wax paper underneath them. The assignment also requires students to measure the length of the slide and its angle to learn about the coefficient of friction.

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[9. Match assignments to the students] [11. Match assignments to teaching.]