Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Homework Support 2

Another strategy to utilize during the homework assistance time to ensure that more homework is completed on time is to determine how you will organize students to support one another.
1. Have the classroom set up for students to do homework in a way that is “best” for them. Some students need to work alone, others need to be able to work with a partner, others work best in a small group; some need to be at a desk while others would do best in a bean bag on the floor; and some need quiet while others seem to thrive on noise. Talk about preferences with students and although you will not be able to meet every students every need, you can find ways to accommodate a comfort level for students. Of course, it goes without saying, students need to produce homework results to be given these opportunities.
2. For students who prefer to work with others, have them sit with classmates—students who are in the same classroom (even if it is only for one period) to work on homework together. Working in a cooperative group can help young people because collectively they are more likely to have the full process down. Encourage them to ask questions of one another rather than simply relying on each other to give answers.
3. When at all possible, have either cross-age tutors or peer tutors supporting the task of homework completion. This “tutor” needs to be a student who already knows how to do the assignment and is willing to help others. This “guide” can be incredibly helpful to other students by asking questions and checking out how other students think about the questions or problems on the homework assignment.

So, put one or more of these grouping strategies in place to help make homework support more effective.

Not so usual celebrations…
August 3rd is National Watermelon Day. Perfect timing as the harvest of watermelons is certainly in full swing in early August. Here are some Fun Facts about watermelon.
• It is believed that watermelon originated in the Kalahari Desert of Africa.
• The first known harvest of watermelon was in Egypt around 5,000 years ago.
• Watermelons were used like canteens for early explorers.
• Watermelons are appropriately named—nearly 92% water.
• 96 countries grow over 1,000 kinds of watermelon.
• One recipe tells you how to make watermelon rind pickles.
• The largest watermelon (according to the Guinness Book of Records) weighed in at 262 pounds.
Share these Fun Facts with students. See if they have some facts of their own.
Activities for kid…

This activity has two parts. Have students eat a slice of watermelon and save all of the seeds that they find in the watermelon (be sure that you don’t get seedless melons). After the students have eaten the melon, have a “seed spitting” contest. Give students three chances to “spit” the seeds, measuring the distance the seeds travel. I would suggest that you have paper or paper towels stretched out with markings for each inch. Give each student the number of inches that the seed they “spit” traveled. Have the students create a group graph to determine the winner.

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