A lot is being written about the value of assigning homework.
I explain the assignment (usually a first draft reading), and make sure my ELLs have everything they need in order to successfully complete it. I often tell them how much time they should set aside in order to compete the task. Next lesson, the students deepen their understanding by sharing their ideas in the form of chat stations, guided discussions or answer an open question using a backchannel such as TodaysMeet.
We are going to read A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah; and in order to give the students background knowledge, I assigned an Upfront article on child soldiers. The goal of the reading was to notice big ideas and confusions.
This time I tried one of Larry Ferlazzo’s TOK homework presentations. In class I grouped the students, and each group had to clarify one section of the text by designing a thought-provoking poster using each other’s notes.
Then each student in the group was responsible for deepening their peers’ understanding by presenting her/his poster. The goal of the presenter was to infer, question, and add to their “first draft” knowledge.
The students collaborated well, produced interesting posters and some insight. The audience, for their part, had to generate high level questions.
Needless to say, this was a great way for me to check their understanding as well as their ability to go beyond the text. However, we need to continue practicing crafting high level questions.
I will be using more of Ferlazzo’s homework presentations and hope they will engage my students as much as this one.