Biography Homework Ideas For Middle School

  1. Review autobiographies that would be of interest to your students.
  2. Make class sets of the following worksheets, which will help students generate ideas and support their writing:
  • Birth Certificate Worksheet
  • My Family Writing Prompt
  • A Friend Writing Prompt
  • The Folks in My Neighborhood Worksheet
  • Imagining Future Scenarios Worksheet
  • My Favorite Daydream Writing Prompt
  • Want Ads for the Future Worksheet
  • Rules for Living Worksheet
  • Things I Like to Do Worksheet

Optional: If you want students to use the Timeline Graphic Organizer to outline their autobiography, make a class set of this printable as well.

Part One: Learning From Our Pasts

Step 1: Explain the meaning and purpose of writing an autobiography. If time allows, read aloud an autobiography or have students choose autobiographies to read on their own. Discuss what devices authors use to make the stories compelling.

Step 2: Tell students they will be writing about their personal family history and important events in their lives that have shaped who they are today. Discuss that a family is composed of people living together and functioning as a unit.

Step 3: Hand out copies of the Birth Certificate Worksheet and the My Family Writing Prompt. Ask students to complete them to the best of their knowledge. They can take the worksheets home to ask family members for help completing any missing information.

Part Two: Who I Am Today

Step 4: Discuss with students that family is important to shaping character, but individuals can also be influenced by people who aren't related to them. Ask students to complete A Friend Writing Prompt and The Folks in My Neighborhood Worksheet.

Step 5: Using their responses to the writing prompts and worksheets completed so far, students will write and describe their neighborhoods and significant relationships with family, friends, teachers, or community members as a way to write about and define how these people have impacted and influenced who they are today.

Part Three: Preparing for the Future

Step 6: Explain that a scenario is an account or synopsis of a projected course of action or events. Ask students to make projections for the future and write about various stages of their lives (e.g. 10, 20, or 50 years from now) by completing the following:

  • Imagining Future Scenarios Worksheet
  • My Favorite Daydream Writing Prompt
  • Want Ads for the Future Worksheet
  • Rules for Living Worksheet
  • Things I Like to Do Worksheet

Optional: Students will be writing autobiographies using the worksheets and writing prompts completed throughout the lesson. If you have the time, have students compile the worksheets and decorate them with illustrations to create scrapbooks of their lives. The scrapbooks may help students organize their writing in the next step.

Part Four: The Final Product

Step 7: Explain to the class that they will use their completed worksheets and writing prompt responses to complete the final draft of their autobiography. This piece will be peer reviewed and teacher reviewed before publishing. The time line and scrapbook pieces can be used to support their writing. Outline the following writing process for students who need more guidance:

  1. Brainstorm a list of possible writing ideas and topics to provide focus for writing stories with more details
  2. Use worksheets and ten-minute sessions of directed writing for students having difficulty beginning their writing
  3. Write first draft
  4. Revise first drafts through peer conferences
  5. Edit revised work through teacher conferences
  6. Share final drafts

Have students use the worksheets as guides to complete a visual time line about important events their lives. They can choose "firsts" events to use on their time lines, such as a first birthday, first day of school, first haircut, first visit to the dentist, first night away from home, etc. Students can also use the worksheets to make autobiographical scrapbooks.

Students are encouraged to talk to their parents and family members about their writing. They can discuss important events in their childhoods such as, the day they were born, learning to walk and talk, funny things they use to do, etc. After students complete their information gathering, they can work on their autobiographical timelines and scrapbooks.

Ask students to find a partner to read and respectfully critique their writing using the following criteria:

  1. Is this story in good order? Are the events in sequence?
  2. How are the paragraphs? Are all the ideas about one subject or event grouped together?
  3. Does this story have a good beginning, middle, and end? Which parts, if any, need more information?
  4. Are there any parts of this story that could be left out? Why?
  5. Does this story have well-structured sentences? Which need more work?
  6. Are there grammar mistakes?
  7. Are there spelling mistakes?
  8. Does this writing make you feel any particular way? Why?
  9. What parts of this story are you able to visualize?
  10. What did you like best about this story?

For other uses, see Homework (disambiguation).

Homework, or a homework assignment, is a set of tasks assigned to students by their teachers to be completed outside the class. Common homework assignments may include a quantity or period of reading to be performed, writing or typing to be completed, math problems to be solved, material to be reviewed before a test, or other skills to be practiced.

The effect of homework is debated. Generally speaking, homework does not improve academic performance among children and may improve academic skills among older students. It also creates stress for students and their parents and reduces the amount of time that students could spend outdoors, exercising, playing sports, working, sleeping or in other activities.

Purposes

The basic objectives of assigning homework to students are the same as schooling in general: to increase the knowledge and improve the abilities and skills of the students,[1] to prepare them for upcoming (or complex or difficult) lessons, to extend what they know by having them apply it to new situations, or to integrate their abilities by applying different skills to a single task. Homework also provides an opportunity for parents to participate in their children's education. Homework is designed to reinforce what students have already learned.[2]

Teachers have many purposes for assigning homework including:[3]

  • practice,
  • preparation,
  • participation
  • personal development,
  • parent–child relations,
  • parent–teacher communications,
  • peer interactions,
  • policy,
  • public relations, and
  • punishment.

Effect

Academic performance

Homework research dates back to the early 1900s. However, no consensus exists on the general effectiveness on homework. Results of homework studies vary based on multiple factors, such as the age group of those studied and the measure of academic performance.

Among teenagers, students who spend somewhat more time on homework generally have higher grades, and somewhat higher test scores than students who spend less time on homework. Very high amounts of homework cause students' academic performance to worsen, even among older students. Students who are assigned homework in middle and high school score somewhat better on standardized tests, but the students who have 60 to 90 minutes of homework a day in middle school or more than 2 hours in high school score worse.[7]

However, younger students who spend more time on homework generally have slightly worse, or the same academic performance than those who spend less time on homework. Homework does not improve academic achievements for grade school students.

Low-achieving students receive more benefit from doing homework than high-achieving students.[8] However, schoolteachers commonly assign less homework to the students who need it most, and more homework to the students who are performing well.[8]

Non-academic

The amount of homework given does not necessarily affect students' attitudes towards homework and various other aspects of school.

Epstein (1988) found a near-zero correlation between the amount of homework and parents' reports on how well their elementary school students behaved. Vazsonyi & Pickering (2003) studied 809 adolescents in American high schools, and found that, using the Normative Deviance Scale as a model for deviance, the correlation was r = .28 for Caucasian students, and r = .24 for African-American students. For all three of the correlations, higher values represent a higher correlation between time spent on homework and poor conduct.

Bempechat (2004) says that homework develops students' motivation and study skills. In a single study, parents and teachers of middle school students believed that homework improved students' study skills and personal responsibility skills. Their students were more likely to have negative perceptions about homework and were less likely to ascribe the development of such skills to homework.Leone & Richards (1989) found that students generally had negative emotions when completing homework and reduced engagement compared to other activities.

Health and daily life

Homework has been identified in numerous studies and articles as a dominant or significant source of stress and anxiety for students.[11] Studies on the relation between homework and health are few compared to studies on academic performance.

Cheung & Leung-Ngai (1992) surveyed 1,983 students in Hong Kong, and found that homework led not only to added stress and anxiety, but also physical symptoms, such as headaches and stomachaches. Students in the survey who were ridiculed or punished by parents and peers had a higher incidence of depression symptoms, with 2.2% of students reporting that they "always" had suicidal thoughts, and anxiety was exacerbated by punishments and criticism of students by teachers for both problems with homework as well as forgetting to hand in homework.

A 2007 study of American students by MetLife found that 89% of students felt stressed from homework, with 34% reporting that they "often" or "very often" felt stressed from homework. Stress was especially evident among high school students. Students that reported stress from homework were more likely to be deprived of sleep.

Homework can cause tension and conflict in the home as well as at school, and can reduce students' family and leisure time. In the Cheung & Leung-Ngai (1992) survey, failure to complete homework and low grades where homework was a contributing factor was correlated with greater conflict; some students have reported teachers and parents frequently criticizing their work. In the MetLife study, high school students reported spending more time completing homework than performing home tasks.Kohn (2006) argued that homework can create family conflict and reduce students' quality of life. The authors of Sallee & Rigler (2008), both high school English teachers, reported that their homework disrupted their students' extracurricular activities and responsibilities. However, Kiewra et al. (2009) found that parents were less likely to report homework as a distraction from their children's activities and responsibilities. Galloway, Conner & Pope (2013) recommended further empirical study relating to this aspect due to the difference between student and parent observations.

Time use

Galloway, Conner & Pope (2013) surveyed 4,317 high school students from ten high-performing schools, and found that students reported spending more than 3 hours on homework daily. 72% of the students reported stress from homework, and 82% reported physical symptoms. The students slept an average of 6 hours 48 minutes, lower than the recommendations prescribed by various health agencies.

A study done at the University of Michigan in 2007 concluded that the amount of homework given is increasing. In a sample taken of students between the ages of 6 and 9 years, it was shown that students spend more than 2 hours a week on homework, as opposed to 44 minutes in 1981.[16]

Benefits

Some educators argue that homework is beneficial to students, as it enhances learning, develops the skills taught in class, and lets educators verify that students comprehend their lessons.[17] Proponents also argue that homework makes it more likely that students will develop and maintain proper study habits that they can use throughout their educational career.[17]

History

United States

Historically, homework was frowned upon in American culture. With few students interested in higher education, and due to the necessity to complete daily chores, homework was discouraged not only by parents, but also by school districts. In 1901, the California legislature passed an act that effectively abolished homework for those who attended kindergarten through the eighth grade. But, in the 1950s, with increasing pressure on the United States to stay ahead in the Cold War, homework made a resurgence, and children were encouraged to keep up with their Russian counterparts. By the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, the consensus in American education was overwhelmingly in favor of issuing homework to students of all grade levels.[18]

United Kingdom

British students get more homework than many other countries in Europe. The weekly average for the subject is 5 hours. The main distinction for UK homework is the social gap, with middle-class teenagers getting a disproportionate amount of homework compared to Asia and Europe.[19]

Spain

In 2012, a report by the OECD showed that Spanish children spend 6.4 hours a week on homework. This prompted the CEAPA, representing 12,000 parent associations to call for a homework strike.[20]

Notes and references

Citations

Works

Effectiveness of homework

  • Cooper, Harris; Robinson, Jorgianne C.; Patall, Erika A. (2006). "Does Homework Improve Academic Achievement? A Synthesis of Research, 1987-2003". Review of Educational Research. 76 (1): 1–62. doi:10.3102/00346543076001001. 
  • Epstein, Joyce L. (1988), "Homework practices, achievements, and behaviors of elementary school students", Center for Research on Elementary and Middle Schools 
  • Trautwein, Ulrich; Köller, Olaf (2003). "The Relationship Between Homework and Achievement—Still Much of a Mystery". Educational Psychology Review. 15 (2): 115–145. doi:10.1023/A:1023460414243. 
  • Vazsonyi, Alexander T.; Pickering, Lloyd E. (2003). "The Importance of Family and School Domains in Adolescent Deviance: African American and Caucasian Youth". Journal of Youth and Adolescence. 32 (2): 115–128. doi:10.1023/A:1021857801554. 

Homework and non-academic effects

  • Bauwens, Jeanne; Hourcade, Jack J. (1992). "School-Based Sources of Stress Among Elementary and Secondary At-Risk Students". The School Counselor. 40 (2): 97–102. 
  • Bempechat, Janine (2004). "The Motivational Benefits of Homework: A Social-Cognitive Perspective". Theory In Practice. 43 (3): 189–196. doi:10.1353/tip.2004.0029. 
  • Cheung, S. K.; Leung-Ngai, J. M. Y. (1992). "Impact of homework stress on children's physical and psychological well-being"(PDF). Journal of the Hong Kong Medical Association. 44 (3): 146–150. 
  • Conner, Jerusha; Pope, Denise; Galloway, Mollie (2009). "Success with Less Stress". Health and Learning. 67 (4): 54–58. 
  • Cooper, Robinsin & Patall (2006, pp. 46–48)
  • Galloway, Mollie; Conner, Jerusha; Pope, Denise (2013). "Nonacademic Effects of Homework in Privileged, High-Performing High Schools". The Journal of Experimental Education. 81 (4): 490–510. doi:10.1080/00220973.2012.745469. 
  • Hardy, Lawrence (2003). "Overburdened, Overwhelmed". American School Board Journal. 190: 18–23. 
  • Kiewra, Kenneth A; Kaufman, Douglas F.; Hart, Katie; Scoular, Jacqui; Brown, Marissa; Keller, Gwendolyn; Tyler, Becci (2009). "What Parents, Researchers, and the Popular Press Have to Say About Homework". scholarlypartnershipsedu. 4 (1): 93–109. 
  • Kouzma, Nadya M.; Kennedy, Gerard A. (2002). "Homework, stress, and mood disturbance in senior high school students"(PDF). Psychological Reports. 91 (1): 193–198. doi:10.2466/pr0.2002.91.1.193. PMID 12353781. 
  • Leone, Carla M.; Richards, H. (1989). "Classwork and homework in early adolescence: The ecology of achievement". Journal of Youth and Adolescence. 18 (6): 531–548. doi:10.1007/BF02139072. PMID 24272124. 
  • Markow, Dana; Kim, Amie; Liebman, Margot (2007), The MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: The homework experience(PDF), Metropolitan Life Insurance Foundation 
  • Sallee, Buffy; Rigler, Neil (2008). "Doing Our Homework on Homework: How Does Homework Help?". The English Journal. 98 (2): 46–51. 
  • West, Charles K.; Wood, Edward S. (1970). "Academic Pressures on Public School Students". Educational Leadership. 3 (4): 585–589. 
  • Xu, Jianzhong; Yuan, Ruiping (2003). "Doing homework: Listening to students', parents', and teachers' voices in one urban middle school community". School Community Journal. 13 (2): 25–44. 
  • Ystgaard, M. (1997). "Life stress, social support and psychological distress in late adolescence". Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. 32 (5): 277–283. doi:10.1007/BF00789040. PMID 9257518. 

Other

Further reading

  • Duke Study: Homework Helps Students Succeed in School, As Long as There Isn't Too Much
  • The Case Against Homework: How Homework Is Hurting Our Children and What We Can Do About It by Sarah Bennett & Nancy Kalish (2006) Discusses in detail assessments of studies on homework and the authors' own research and assessment of the homework situation in the United States. Has specific recommendations and sample letters to be used in negotiating a reduced homework load for your child.
  • Closing the Book on Homework: Enhancing Public Education and Freeing Family Time by John Buell (2004)
  • The Battle Over Homework: Common Ground for Administrators, Teachers, and Parents by Harris Cooper (2007)
  • The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing by Alfie Kohn (2006)
  • The End of Homework: How Homework Disrupts families, Overburdens Children, and Limits Learning by Etta Kralovec and John Buell (2000)

External links

Look up homework in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Homework.
Some mathematics homework
  1. ^Synthesis of research on homework. H Cooper - Educational leadership, 1989 - addison.pausd.org
  2. ^Needlmen, Robert. "Homework: The Rules of the Game". 
  3. ^Epstein, Joyce L.; Voorhis, Frances L. Van (2001-09-01). "More Than Minutes: Teachers' Roles in Designing Homework". Educational Psychologist. 36 (3): 181–193. doi:10.1207/S15326985EP3603_4. ISSN 0046-1520. 
  4. ^Wallis, Claudia (August 29, 2006). "The Myth About Homework". Time Online. 
  5. ^ abCoughlan, Sean (2016-09-28). "Is homework worth the hassle?". BBC News. Retrieved 2017-04-21. 
  6. ^Bauwens & Hourcade (1992), Conner & Denise (2009), Hardy (2003), Kouzma & Kennedy (2002), West & Wood (1970), Ystgaard (1997).
  7. ^Seligman, Katherine (1999-12-19). "Parents: Too much homework". Hearst Communications Inc. Retrieved 2013-06-03. 
  8. ^ abGrohnke, Kennedy, and Jake Merritt. "Do Kids Need Homework?" ScholasticNews/ Weekly Reader Edition 5/6, vol. 85, no. 3, 2016, pp. 7.
  9. ^"History of Homework". The San Francisco Chronicle. 1999-12-20. Retrieved 2007-03-24. 
  10. ^Coughlan, Sean (11 December 2014). "UK families' 'long homework hours'". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2 November 2017. 
  11. ^Marsh, Sarah (2 November 2016). "Parents in the UK and abroad: do your children get set too much homework?". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 2 November 2017. 

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