Heather Wolpert-Gawron

Ask a Teacher

By on July 4, 2009

Hey Parents, Guardians, and Students!

Want me to address an issue about education and school life in my upcoming Webinar series?  Leave your comment below. I want to discuss what you find the most important…so no-holds-barred, and ask away!  

My series should be up and running in the next month, so check back in or subscribe to tweenteacher for automatic announcements and updates.


Heather Wolpert-Gawron 

aka Tweenteacher

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Posted in: Educational Policy
  1. Ann
    July 3, 2011


    I am very interested in assignments for homework. we have been told we have to give homework every class. I have researched this topic on the web and find so many conflicting opinions. I have found that the often quoted statement about the positive relationship btwn homework and academic success is really for high school and middle schoolers are different. I have seen ideas that assigning 30 mins per subject each night is best. But 30 mins of what? each child is different and I have thought about arranging mine in levels; really confused does a more detailed and longer assignment; Students fwho have totally got it do some higher order questions to assess themselves. I have seen people totally against it and others that have been assigning the same amount and content for years…and years…and years and I guess just assume it is effective. How do I even know if my homework is effective? Appropriate? I hate to try stuff and then find I out messed up and now my students are hurting.

    I am also interested in any hints about how to grade and what to grade on written assignments? So that I am not spending my life grading. Any tips to grade faster? Like tips for taking up work? Organizing it? I want to grade what they write but I want to grade so that it is meaningful to the students, helps me really see how each is doing, and keep parents realistically informed about their child’s progress. I use rubrics for groups and activities, projects and online discussion boards. I feel they need to write in science so they can learn how to communicate in science and so i can see their learning progression. I want to use peer review and teach them how to spot good science communication; like an editor for a science journal. What do you think?

    • Heather Wolpert-Gawron
      July 3, 2011

      You are full of good questions today!

      OK, here’s my disclaimer. I don’t like giving out homework. To me, even the best, most well-intentioned homework can’t give the feedback or assessment that we need to support class work. So what I do is make whatever classroom is incomplete their homework, or have long-term assignments (like components from a project-based unit) completed at home and turned in, in chunck based on a deadlined checklist, over the course of time. This helps with classroom management, and I can’t ever hear that they didn’t know what to do because the students had access to me when we began the work.

      Here are some easy answers for your question about advice for feedback and scoring ease.

      You can, of course, buy my book which has a whole chapter on the topic.


      You can also look at this Edutopia article I wrote on the subject which is a excerpt from the book and might get you thinking about scoring in a different way.


      Good luck, and let me know of any tricks or tips that you develop that I can learn from too!


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