Tag Archives: homework

“Technology Tuesdays”

Homework as Meaningful: “T if or Technology

Homework: the pros and cons … a hotly debated topic among teachers and parents.
I actually believe in homework (see http://bit.ly/qMSR5X) as a means of encouraging the development of organizational skills and good study habits, for example.
So I found myself thinking about ways in which to ensure that homework assignments are meaningful; that they engage and extend students’ understanding of concepts presented in class.
…. Then I got to thinking: My students really(!) enjoy playing math games on the smart board, going on virtual field trips, etc. They log onto and play computer games, watch videos, etc. all the time … so why not combine the two? Why not combined educational computer games, virtual field trips, videos etc. with homework?
The next day I decided to put my idea to the test … I called my idea:

“Technology Tuesdays”.

The idea is this:
   Every Tuesday my students’ homework is now on the computer.
Last week for example they played a multiplication game (http://bit.ly/xczDzl), practiced long division (http://bit.ly/1Fp79E) and went on a tomb adventure in ancient Egypt (http://bit.ly/wQxVhw). The week before that they contributed to our Egypt Game Blog (that I had created and previous to this they had only used at school), played a division concentration game and watched a Study Jams video followed by an online quiz all about fractions (http://bit.ly/ArmkJB).
   The students loved it, as did the parents! So now (as of last week) I have extended Technology Tuesdays to “T is for Technology”. Homework is now done on the computer on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

When I asked my students why they love “Technology Tuesdays they listed many reasons, including the following:

1.    “The games are fun and the videos are interesting.”
2.     “Working on the computer gives me a break from using a pencil and paper. It gives my hands a rest.”
3.    “Virtual field trips are great because I can visit places that I have never been before. I loved going inside a pyramid! It was dark and cool with secret passages. I liked going inside a museum and seeing artifacts. I loved seeing what everything looks like in “real life”. We can “go to” places that we have never been before.”
4.    “The games and videos guide me so I can do things on my own. I didn’t have to ask for help with long division.”
5.    “I use less paper, which saves trees. “T for Technology” is eco-friendly.”

Yay! We love “T is for Technology”!


A Traveling Suitcase in the Classroom

The Traveling Suitcase

A few years ago now — when I taught Grade One — I had a Math Suitcase, a Writing Suitcase and a Science Suitcase in the classroom. Within each suitcase were games and activities relating to certain areas of study. Students took turns bringing the suitcases home. Once home they played the games, engaged in the activities and conducted the experiments found therein with family and friends. They loved them!

Well, one day I was sharing this idea/activity with a colleague of mine and I thought to myself, “Hey! This was so successful in Grade One … why not try it with my Grade Fives?!”

… So now,  if you were a fly on my classroom wall, you would notice a small, well-used suitcase in the corner of our room. It was donated to our class by a parent. The suitcase goes home with a different student twice a week … It is both loved and well used.

& Just in case you are interested in doing this same type of activity in your classroom I have included some information below!

Have fun!


The Traveling Suitcase

1. Students take turns bringing The Traveling Suitcase home. The suitcase goes home twice a week: Monday afternoons (to be returned Thursday mornings) and Thursdays (to be returned Monday mornings).
Please be sure to bring the suitcase back to school so that everyone has an opportunity to engage in the activities enclosed.

2. In The Traveling Suitcase you will find fun, educational activities that relate to our units of study. You may find books to read, experiments to conduct, or puzzles and games to play.Please note that as your teacher, I will be asking you, the students for suggested activities (e.g. What is it that you like to do? Readings? Experiments? Puzzles? Word searches?) on a regular basis and will do my best to include them in The Traveling Suitcase.

3. Once you have The Traveling Suitcase at home take some time to explore its contents. Please choose two or three activities to complete. Some activities must be done with an adult so read the instructions carefully.

4. Be prepared to discuss the activities with the class when you bring the suitcase back. If you have an opportunity please consider taking picture of you engaged in any of the activities. If you email the picture to email I can put it up on the Smart Board the next day!

5. Please take good care of our suitcase. Take care of the books, papers, pencils and items found inside. We have a place for everything so keep everything in its place. Finally, should you notice that anything needs replacing please let me know so that I can have The Traveling Suitcase ready for the next student.

Best regards,

Here are some sites & ideas that I have used in order to “pack my suitcase”:

1. Math:

2. Social Studies:
Word searches
Colouring pages
Easy crafts

3. Science Experiments:
Word searches
Colouring pages

4. For Fun:
Magic tricks: http://magic.about.com/od/libraryofsimpletricks/ig/Easy-Magic-Tricks

5. Books:
Library books based on a topic of study or general class interest