Matt 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.
In 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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.)
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:
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.
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
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.
More brain science resources:
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.
How can we help REALLY prepare students for college and the real world? Here are some ideas we have …
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.