Ditch That Homework workshop

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Find this page: DitchThatTextbook.com/HW

About your presenter

Matt headshotMatt Miller is an educator, blogger and the author of “Ditch That Textbook,” a book about revolutionizing the classroom with innovative teaching, mindsets and curriculum.  He has infused technology and innovative teaching methods in his classes for more than 10 years. Matt is a Google Certified Innovator, PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator and two-time Bammy! Awards nominee. He writes at the Ditch That Textbook blog about using technology and creative ideas in teaching. Reach him at matt@DitchThatTextbook.com or on Twitter at @jmattmiller.

About the book

ditch that homework coverIn Ditch That Homework, Matt Miller and Alice Keeler discuss the pros and cons of homework, why teachers assign it, and what life could look like without it. As they evaluate the research and share parent and teacher insights, the authors explore some of the benefits for ditching homework:

  • Better education for all students
  • Reduced stress for families
  • More intentionality with lesson planning
  • Increased love of learning
  • More time for teachers to focus on learning at school and enjoying their after-school hours

And that’s just the beginning. Miller and Keeler offer a convincing case for ditching — or at a minimum greatly reducing — homework. They also provide practical guidance on how to eliminate homework from your lessons. You’ll discover strategies for improving learning through differentiation and student agency and by tapping into the way the brain works best.

For more information about the book, click here.

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There’s LOTS of research about homework — and about other factors that contribute to homework. We know that we’re supposed to know about the research and use research-driven best practices. But how much have you actually dug into the research yourself? Let’s do some digging by spreading the work around a little at a time.

We’ll “Iron Chef” this activity — everyone digs into a little research and then presents their findings to the group via a shared Google Slides presentation. This way, we create something AND everyone teaches and learns.

Click here: Homework research Iron Chef activity

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Remixing traditional lessons for maximum impact

Doing lessons the same old way day after day, year after year gets you AND your students in a rut. If we can put a fresh spin on old ideas — or if we can use old activities to inspire brand new ones — students will be engaged and inspired in their work. Here are some ideas:

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Sometimes, something old can be inspiration for great new things! Remember the Madeline Hunter lesson plan from college? I (Matt) was recently at a conference that dusted off this old standby lesson plan template and used it to create some pretty cool lessons.

Let’s try it! We’ll remix a lesson — making it a modern, engaging lesson — as a group using the Madeline Hunter lesson plan template.

Madeline Hunter Lesson Plan Template

Click the image for full-size.


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If you’re going to make big changes — like reducing or ditching homework — there’s bound to be resistance. Here are some ideas for helping parents get on board with your big changes. (And here’s an accompanying blog post about the idea.)

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Often, if parents have a reason for homework, it’s that it shows them what’s happening in the classroom. Instead of communicating with parents through graded homework, let’s try this:

  • Creating a window into the classroom using social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or (gasp!) Snapchat
  • Reaching out to parents with a messaging service like Remind
  • Creating an email newsletter customized for each student (see a blog post on how to automate the process!)
delzer twitter

Click image for full-size.

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The feedback loop for traditional homework is way too long — 48 hours if we’re really on our game. If we provide students with feedback in the moment that they need it, they’re more likely to internalize it.

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In this session, we’ll talk about strategies for getting students feedback in the moment that they need it. You’ll become the student, using Quizizz to learn something new!

Go to: Quizizz.com/join

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The way the brain prefers to learn isn’t always the way we try to learn. Sometimes, it’s opposite what we expect. Here are some things we’ve learned about brain science and how it can apply to the classroom.

Click here: Cognitive Science Smackdown!

More brain science resources:

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The real world isn’t looking for compliant kids, the ones who will appease the teacher and fill in the right bubbles. They’re looking for people who can create, who can communicate, who can work on a team, who can solve a problem.

024 REVISED Skills of the future

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How can we help REALLY prepare students for college and the real world? Here are some ideas we have …

  1. Solid study skills
  2. Decision making and independent learning
  3. Critical thinking skills
  4. Digital research skills
  5. Authentic deadlines
  6. Teamwork
  7. Short-term goal setting
  8. Informal learning

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Relationships matter. We know that how we connect to students has a direct impact on their learning. Here’s a great reminder of that from a TED Talk.

Click here: Every kid deserves a champion