Choose Your Own Homework!!

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In my first year of OWL teaching, I was terrible at assigning homework.  I would be so focused on repeating vocabulary and ending class on a positive note, that I would forget to explain the assignment. Likewise, if I did manage to assign homework, the following class would either take a direction that rendered our homework irrelevant or I would simply forget to check and incorporate the work.  To tackle this problem, I decided to stop assigning and checking homework and jumped on the choose your own homework bandwagon.

Creating a Choose Your Own homework document has been a lifesaver.  It has given me more time in class, taken away the stress of creating a homework assignment and most importantly, it forces students to take charge of their educational experience.

Below, I am attaching what I use for my Spanish Two Classes.  It is based on Sara-Elizabeth Cottrell’s of Musicuentos Choose Your Own Homework document. Here you can find her version as well as other samples from fantastic educators.  In the Musicuentos’s version you will notice that homework options are assigned a point value ranging from one to five.  As the point value increases, the tasks become more difficult and interactive. The different point values also require different language functions. For instance, one pointers ask students to list words and use a lot of vocabulary from the class.  A two pointer might ask them to write phrases or sentences with the vocabulary. A three pointer might require some internet investigation as well as a description while a four pointer might require narration.  Five pointers frequently require interactivity with the community beyond the classroom.

For grading, I choose a number of points to be completed each week and then multiplied this by the number of weeks in the quarter in order to determine how many points are necessary to receive an A.  I also had students record their homework in a blog.  I chose blogger by Google as students can easily email videos and posts to their blog. This accountability system worked well for me, but use what works for you!

Enjoy and OWL on!

Elige tu propia aventura

 

 

 

 

 

 

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8 thoughts on “Choose Your Own Homework!!

  1. Patty Forman

    This is an absolute TREASURE! Thank you SO much for sharing this work! I don’t give homework, as I have over 400 students and non-traditional grading, but it is a beautiful example of exactly the kind of homework I would want to give in higher level/more frequent classes. Thank you very much!

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  2. Wyatt Crane

    Hey Eliza- first time visitor to your blog and love the ideas that you bring up. Wonderfully authentic and relevant. I’m wondering what sort of evidence you normally get from students proving the work that they have completed? Movies and writing assignments are self-explanatory, but how about other assignments?

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    • elizapfeifer

      Hi Wyatt! I am so glad you are enjoying the blog and that you too are interested in OWL. One you OWL you can’t go back! In regards to the homework, I have students post all evidence to their homework blog. As you noted the evidence is simple if it is a movie or a writing assignment. However, what if they label items in their bedroom, text a friend, play a Spanish smartphone app or go to mass in Spanish? For cases like this I ask for screen shots and make sure they write what they learned even if it is only a list a words. Additionally, we just finished our first quarter last week. This weekend I will post my reflections on the Choose Your Own Homework Adventure!

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  3. Stephanie Williams

    Hey Eliza! I’ve loved reading your blog! It has been so helpful in starting to OWL just 3 weeks ago. Could you possibly share your movie review and music video review resources? I love this homework board idea. I’m also adding in some fun new tech apps like using ifaketext.com to make a fake text message between two people. Or using the “twister” app on classroomtools.net to make a fake tweet about a famous Hispanic.

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  4. elizapfeifer

    Hi Sara! Of course I will add an attribution line! The document was originally passed to me by another teacher friend without the copyright. So sorry, I should have done my research on where it came from. I am updating the site now. Also, thank you for asking and not immediately contacting a lawyer. Teachers work hard and deserve credit where credit it due!

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