Choose Your Own Adventure

Throughout my Bachelor of Education I learned how to use curriculum documents, create unit plans/lesson plans, and develop behaviour management programs. Not once in my 2 year university program was the work ‘homework’ mentioned. Flash forward to my first year flying solo in the classroom… There I was – with no clue what to do about the homework thing.

This forced me to dive deep and really thinking about what I believe to be true about the purpose of homework. Is it to complete unfinished work from the classroom? To practise reading skills? To develop study habits and time management? To study for a weekly quiz? Luckily for me, my school had a task force that was in the process of researching and revamping our school philosophy around homework. Much of what was uncovered through this process aligned with my own personal beliefs around homework. The graphic below represents some of the philosophies that were uncovered by my colleagues on our homework task force and how these pieces fit (*puzzle pun*) with my own personal beliefs.

When designing my homework plan, I felt that the two beliefs that belong on the forefront are (homework should…) include student choice and explore student interests and foster a love of learning outside of the classroom. This may seem like a big feat, however, I think these two beliefs lend themselves to each other so beautifully. My thought was that by creating a homework plan where students can choose their assignments based on their interests, they will feel excitement around homework and start developing a love of learning outside of the classroom.

So that’s what I did.

Every Monday, my students get to choose their own homework adventure. They are presented 4 different tasks; a Science, a Math, a Language Arts, and a Social Studies. The rule is that they need to pick at least 1 task to complete and hand in on the following Monday. However, my students are always encouraged to do more than one task if they would like. For those of you reading this and thinking only one task for the whole week!? Keep in mind, my students are in Grade 2 and also engaging in nightly homework in French and Hebrew.

At times, I find it challenging to come up with 4 different fun and meaningful tasks for my students each week, but the success I have seen with the homework program motivates me to keep it up. It has been wonderful to see my students get excited when I reveal our weekly tasks, but the highlight of my year has been seeing (or more so hearing from the parent) about how engaged her son is in his homework for the first time.

It’s the moments of excitement when I assign the homework along with the moments of pride when students hand in their homework that reassure me this homework program is working.

6 thoughts on “Choose Your Own Adventure

  1. Hi Lianna,

    I love reading about how your students choose their own homework adventure. The name even sounds like fun! What has been your students’ favourite type of homework this year? I have given my students the choice of math homework, and they seem to like it. I will try to add in some Social Studies and Science to mix things up. It sounds like your students are having fun this year and are excited about learning. They are lucky to have you as their teacher.

    Keep having fun in Grade 2!

    1. Hi Julie,

      Thanks for your comment. You are always such a supportive mentor, colleague, and friend! There hasn’t been a favourite/most popular subject… I find that the students get excited for different topics each week. Some of the most popular tasks lately have been Write a story about the adventures of Super Cooper, Watch the Social Studies video linked on our blog and share 1 fun fact on the linked Jamboard, Science experiment with floating and sinking on Flipgrid, and of course a Math word problem about shopping in the Pet Supply Store.

      Can’t wait to see the awesome Science and Social Studies homework you add to the mix in Grade 3!

  2. I love this blog post and this definitely aligns with my philosophy on homework as well. Have you ever thought about allowing your students to come up with their own homework either as a bonus OR instead of one of the choices you provided? I always offered a choice board when I taught (I usually did it for a month at a time where my students had to choose 10 tasks within the month) but once we got into the routine, I always had a few blank squares where students could create the task they wanted to tackle. They had to get it approved first and if it was approved, they could share it with the class and others could choose it too. My students were a bit older but I think it could work well in grade 2. For example, I’m thinking of the student in your class who started a podcast with her dad – in my opinion that would absolutely count as homework! 😊

    Keep up the great ideas. I’m happy to brainstorm with you if you’re ever stuck 😊.
    Your students are so lucky to have you.

    1. Hi Sharon,
      Thank you for reading my post! I have had a few students suggest tasks and I included them! I also had the students work as a class once to create the 4 tasks for the week and that went well, too! I like the idea of creating a formalized choice board for the homework, rather than just posting 4 tasks on the blog each week. That would also create more room for activities like the student podcast… hmm…. my brain is turning! Thanks!

  3. Hi Lianna,

    Thanks for reflecting on your homework practices for your Grade 2 students and sharing them out. I also wondered if students would tend to pick the same kind of activity/subject each week? If so, would a homework bingo card encourage diversity? Or perhaps the tasks you choose meet cross-curricular goals, or the goal itself is that they follow through with the responsibility of completing homework they are attracted to? I wonder if students were given the opportunity to create/select homework tasks, what would they design?

    Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow and hoping your break was restful!



    1. Hi Keren,
      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment!
      There is a small handful of students that tend to stick with the same subject area each week, but for the most part, there is diversity in which task the students pick each week. However, between your comment and Sharon’s comment… I am starting to think about another revamp to the program by assigning the homework tasks in a choiceboard/bingo card style. Just like my tweet said, we learn better together! Thanks for sharing your ideas and sparking my (bingo-loving) brain!
      Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *