Inside: Choice Homework in Spanish Class Ideas.
Something I started in year one of teaching was “Real World Homework.” I was inspired by the creative language class and then bought their basic template. It is one of the few things that I did my first year that I still continue today. The students thought that it was awesome that texting or tweeting their friends was homework. I changed the template over and over for every class and unit. I loved finding new options to add and change such as lyrics training, or unit-specific options such as ESPN Deportes. Real World Homework is pretty much the only homework I assign and it is only worth 10% of the total grade.
Original Choice Homework in Spanish Logistics
Students had to get 8 stamps throughout a unit, and any over that was the only way to earn extra credit in my class. At first, it went great, students loved having a choice in their homework. They were supposed to show me what they had done before or after class, during work time, or before or after school. It worked great at first until procrastination set in. Suddenly, during the week of assessment when Real World Homework was due I would have a line out my door of students needing to show me ALL 8 completed activities. To make things worse, usually, multiple classes were due on the same day, making for a quite irritated teacher.
To ease this frustration, I started assigning a certain number of stamps per week, such as 2 stamps by Friday. This was better but still not ideal since I would spend a big chunk of that day looking over Real Worlds. I finally realized that I was trying to cram too many in since I would have 1 sheet of 8 stamps due every 3 or 4 weeks. Students were getting burnt out and resented what was supposed to be a fun homework option and I dreaded the days that they were due. I knew this year I needed a change.
Newer Choice Homework in Spanish – Real World Logistics
Since we started this school year newly one-to-one and using Google Classroom, I figured it would be a good time to try out a new choice homework system. I decided to try out the switch in just Spanish 3&4 at first, basing the point system on the one posted at Musicuentos. Spanish 1&2 still used the old Real World stamp sheets, since they were still new to them anyway. Every Tuesday by midnight students submit their “report” showing they did 3 points as a Google Classroom assignment in Spanish including “I did…” “It was worth__points,” “I learned…,” “I need to improve…” and a screenshot to prove what they did. Here is a link to my current choice homework options. Here are links to many other choice homework options.
|Example of an assignment on Classroom
Newer Homework in Spanish System
The new system was a welcome change for the upper-level students who had already done two years of Real World stamp sheets with me. They like all of the new options included, and the flexibility of doing extra work for one week, to buy a free week. I also love the creativity they had shown suggesting new ideas such as Trivia Crack in Spanish, presenting to their class about their mission trip to Guatemala, or the Day of the Dead Snapchat Story.
Another new option that many students love is #spanstuchat, which I plan on blogging on soon! It also does not take into any precious class time checking for proof of completion. (But instead takes into my own time correcting them. It is not too bad if I stay on top of them, but if I forget to correct 3&4 when level 2 comes in it can be a bit overwhelming). Quarter 2 I started Spanish 2 on the same system but completed only 2 points on Wednesday.
More Ideas for Homework in Spanish
The topic of choice homework came up in last week’s #langchat, and I got another idea that may change my structure yet again, Google Forms! @mrsbolanos brought up that her students fill out a Google Form as a reflection for their choice homework. This would make correcting MUCH faster, but at the same time would not allow for students to include a screenshot of their “proof.”
I know that some of my students just screenshot the website and probably did not spend 30 minutes on it as they should, but such is life. There will always be those who feel the need to cheat the system, and who are really just cheating themselves out of a learning experience. I am going to keep Spanish 1 using the stamp sheets because I like the one of one conversation and getting to know them as they turn them in, but they only have one or two per quarter now.