A student’s homework assignment is reading and it rarely gets done. A student’s homework assignment is writing and it regularly is at least attempted. While talking with my good friend today, I stumbled upon what may be my new homework policy: writing.
I hit on this idea back in November, but I’m considering it for next semester. All reading will be done in class, through a mix of out loud, small group, independent, whole class, listening to tapes, and some other methods I can devise to get through the text. Since that will likely take up the entire class period, the writing associated with the text will be homework. I’ll need to be more organized and have writing topics prepared well ahead of time, but that’s a good thing and will help me focus my lessons on a particular piece of literature.
My friend was talking about the possibility of limiting whole-class novels to 2 core works each year, with short stories, literature circles, and more self-selected works during the rest of the year. While I don’t do literature circles (not out of anything other than inertia), the idea sounds good to me. If we can read more during class, that frees up time at home to write drafts or responses to specific topics for the next day’s discussion. It also works to limit the reading list to something more manageable (despite the state standard that requires the reading of 2 million words annually outside of school-related reading by the end of the senior year).