What I want:
To spend my time designing instruction and providing feedback rather than planning and dealing with homework.
Students to choose to do problems that will build their brains and prepare them for assessment.
What I don't care about:
Deadlines. I just want students to learn - however they accomplish it.
Homework grades. I'd make homework completely optional if students had the maturity to make good choices.
What I don't want:
Students cheating or taking other easy routes.
An unmanageable system and stacks of papers that I tote around.
The catchy acronym. Cuz every sound educational practice has one.
BRAINwork instead of homework.
B is for basic practice. A set of problems that every student does and can check themselves for correctness.
R is for reinforce. A set of similar problems for students who need more practice on basic skills.
A/I is for apply and investigate. A smaller set of deeper thinking questions for students who have the basics down.
N is for next up. A brief preview exercise of upcoming material.
I definitely got the idea for student-chosen problem sets from another teacher's blog*. I've always been a believer in previewing new material before the big show. Now, it's just a matter of finding out (a) if can I sustain this model all year in all three of my courses and (b) if will students buy into the BRAINwork concept of investing time in their own brains.
*Thank you to all you bloggers who helped me gather ideas to form this system. As I run across the specific influences, I'll link to your posts. We'll negotiate royalties once I hit my first million dollar deal.
Riled Up: Stop Grading Homework, Please
Binder Checks and Binder Checks, Redux
The Homework Paradigm and Pardigm Part II