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Presidential Election Campaign

Ron Peck H.S. Social Studies teacher from Medford, Oregon.

The process to elect the President of the U.S. has already begun. With your students there are so many things you can have them study and examine.

How do you approach the election cycle? What are some strategies and resources you use to engage your students with the Presidential campaign?

Please share your ideas here. Thanks!

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Student Homework

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Hi everyone...I am new to blogging so please exuse me if I am out of context. I am curious if any other social studies teachers have a problem with getting students to turn in homework on a consistant basis. This is not a glaring problem for me but I still take a missing assignment personally. I recieve consitsantly 85% of the assignments given out, and the majority come in late. I guess I am just curious if this is a problem for anyone else. I give homework about once a week. I''ve shortened assignemts and even made a lot of them collaborative, but still the percentage stays at about 85%. Any suggestions as to ensure all students turn in their social studies homework?

AP Government & Research teacher Mountain Vista Governors' School, Virginia

Student Homework

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This is all opinion so take it for what it is worth.
Homework has to be carefully designed to fit your audience and your instructional goals. Audience: I teach in a Governor's school for gifted students so it is necessary to assign homework. The things I have to take into consideration are 1)the limited amount of class time; 100 minutes, 2 times per week and 2) the cumulative amount of homework they have because of very demanding schedules. Homework is strategically planned and assigned. Never busy work and never assigned at the last minute. I map their homework out from unit to unit so they can fit it into their very busy lives. You may assign homework on the one night those 15% are busy. All homework assignments for the next unit are given out or posted the day of the test on the previous unit.
For many years I taught in a school in which most of my students were Title I. I did not give homework. Most of my students worked or went home to environments that were not at all conducive to homework. I promised them that if they gave me 100% during the time we had together that they would not have homework. It only happened when they made the poor choice to let it happen. I encouraged them to do their work when they had me tho help them with it. We worked from bell to bell everyday. Not a minute wasted. Took lots of very careful planning.
My guess is that a lot of classes are some mix of the these two extremes. First figure out your audience. Who are the 15% and why aren't they turning in their homework. It is not enough to just ask them. You have to know your students. Is it always the same 15%? Second look at your assignments. Do the students see them as busy work? Do they really enhance instruction time in class? Is it yet another way to disadvantages kids who already have the most disadvantages? Are they effective ways to teach the discipline of time management and discipline?
Homework has to be as strategically planned as everything else.

Thank you for the advice. I

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Thank you for the advice. I do teach at a title 1 school with a heavy population of students from migrant worker families. Homework is strategically planned (perhaps not to your level since the students are not given their upcoming homework assignments at the end of the last assessment, but I have planned out when the will be assigned. These assignments are given sparingly, approximately once a week and many of these homework assignments are started in class. I suppose some of the higher achieving students may view some of the homework as busy work, but they turn in their homework on a regular basis. More than anything I give it as additional practice of a concept for students to increase mastery and since many of my students are not horribly proficient in the English language, they may need the additional practice. I have taken into consideration that their homelife may not be conducive to doing homework and I do not give homework that requires parental assistance, since I have found through research that for many immigrant students this is a cause for great frustration. Rather I give work where students are to work in pairs. I can see the reasoning for not giving homework, as you stated you did at your Title 1 school, and for the same reasoning, I give it sparingly. You are correct though, if the students do not see the assignment as meaningful, the chances of getting the work turned in is reduced significantly. Thank you for your input, it was greatly appreciated.

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