Every year I have at least one good idea. Sometimes it is a lesson, sometimes it is a way of doing things more effectively. My good idea has come kind of late this year, but I am very excited about it :)
A few week ago I blogged about a brainstorming session my department had on what kind of vocabulary homework to give our students. I was having problems with my Tic-Tac-Toe idea, so I opted for this assignment. It allows students to select from a variety of activities. I think there is a balance between the kind of work they do and the points they earn from it, and I believe that the point value also reflects the time each activity will take to complete. My students will also have some flexibility with what is due when. If a student has a lot of homework in other classes on Tuesday, maybe she does an activity that is not as time consuming Tuesday night, and does the activity that requires more time Thursday. The important thing is that she is at least doing something with the vocabulary outside of class for at least 3 nights out of the week.
Anyway... I rolled out the homework plan this week, and I am very pleased with the results. Here is a link to our class wiki where I put some of the digital products. Everything under 8B is student produced... and those are just the digital products. I'm going to try and post or figure out a way to showcase some of the non-digital work. I have had 3 rap songs created, numerous drawings and crossword puzzles, 5 short stories, and tons of kids practicing pronunciation and spelling with traditional vocabulary activities.
I have positive feedback so far from the students. I'm going to have them take a survey after we have done a couple of vocabulary units to get "official" feedback. As far as grading goes... I am working on a system to make it more efficient. Looking over the work is no more time consuming than traditional paper/pencil homework. What I find myself doing is trying to incorporate the outstanding products into my class as a warm up or for those last 5 minutes of class, and that is taking some additional planning time.