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Or 'token' homework acceptable?

(36 Posts)
MosquitoFood Wed 03-Sep-14 20:58:23

Just spotted my DD's maths homework. She has to draw margins into her maths book and number the pages. DD is in year 8.
AIBU to be pissed off at this? The school had a massive fall in GCSE results this year (35% 5 A-C grades!!) and I would have thought they would be on it to turn these appalling results around. I don't know how drawing a flipping margin is going to help with that.
It's too soon to storm in isn't it? Perhaps there is a reasonable excuse that I just can't see. I feel like shouting at this foolbert quite loudly.
Fucking margins!

BittersweetSymphony Wed 03-Sep-14 21:00:44

I'd imagine it's because it's the beginning of term and they probably haven't covered a lot in the lesson today but completely get why you're pissed off.

pinksquash13 Wed 03-Sep-14 21:01:28

Ridiculous homework for year 8. Completely pointless in terms of learning although maybe they are being asked to do it to save time in class. It should be with something else though imo. I wouldn't say anything yet. See what the next piece is like.

backwardpossom Wed 03-Sep-14 21:02:46

Wait and see. If this is the kind of homework she gets all of the time (suspect not) then storm in. I suspect this is more of an admin task than homework per se. I used to give pupils homework to cover their jotters after the first lesson. It wasn't really homework, but it did come in handy later in the year as almost every department in the school used the same jotters, so it saved time when getting their jotters out at the start of the lesson as they could quickly see 'my' jotter in their bag.

grocklebox Wed 03-Sep-14 21:05:09

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DoJo Wed 03-Sep-14 21:06:43

It could also be a way of weeding out the ones who are never going to do their homework - if they don't manage a bit of margin ruling in the first week of term when they should be fresh and eager to please, then they are unlikely to reform over the course of the year.
Of course, I could be giving WAY too much credit to the teacher and they could be lazy, but the first week of term homework probably isn't indicative of what she will get for the rest of the year.

museumum Wed 03-Sep-14 21:07:25

Better than spending time in class on it. It's prep isn't it?

Passmethecrisps Wed 03-Sep-14 21:10:20

I agree to hang off and wait and see what comes next. It could be a prep activity which the teacher doesn't want to waste time in class doing (like covering jotters) which also serves as a little note on who does and does not do it.

It is too early to get antsy about it I think

odyssey2001 Wed 03-Sep-14 21:11:16

YABU. It is a simple time saving measure. Move on.

odyssey2001 Wed 03-Sep-14 21:12:41

Oh and to storm in and shout at a teacher for this? You know teachers hate parents like you right?

Goldmandra Wed 03-Sep-14 21:13:15

It could also be a way of weeding out the ones who are never going to do their homework

Why would a teacher want to set a pointless homework task just to see who did it? confused

I don't understand what they would do with those they 'weed out'.

Passmethecrisps Wed 03-Sep-14 21:18:03

I don't think anyone would set a task purely to 'weed out' but if they are doing it anyway and it is the first task set the teacher might be interested to see who did or did not do it.

OP, you also mentioned that there had been a drop in results. Can a very gently suggest that your daughter will do better if you support her and her teachers rather than go in all guns blazing fuelled by anxiety and annoyance.

There are times when it is necessary to step in firmly but I would think that the teachers will be working hard to improve a situation which will be deeply concerning to them

Passmethecrisps Wed 03-Sep-14 21:20:14

Sorry, I think that comes over as patronising. It wasn't meant to be.

nothruroad Wed 03-Sep-14 21:20:18

I used to set this homework at the star of the year. If the book doesn't have margins then there is no space to highlight / note the sections that relate to the marking comments. Also if work is peer assessed in class and then checked by the teacher it makes it easier to write 'you did well in the exercise on page 4' etc. And you can see who rips pages out of the book! It's a simple admin task to save time and improve presentation throughout the year.

phantomnamechanger Wed 03-Sep-14 21:20:47

I don't understand what they would do with those they 'weed out'

those that do not do even this "simple task" would be punished in line with school policy for failing to do hwk eg a detention at breaktime. It sets the tone for the rest of the year and ensures they know who is boss ie "don't mess with Mr Jones, he's dead strict"
I really think you need to be careful of giving the pupil the impression that you do not back up the teacher, or value their own effort to ensure their work is neatly presented and correctly laid out, even in the minor things like this.

If YOU want your DD to do more work, even this soon in the term, then set her some timed times tables practice to get back into the habit

Dragonlette Wed 03-Sep-14 21:26:15

It's not a homework I'd set for any of my classes, but it's not something I'd get my knickers in a twist about if dd was set it in the first week of term. It's a bit pointless (why do they need margins and page numbers in a maths exercise book?) but if they're going to draw margins and write page numbers then I'd rather they did it at home and spent class time on actual maths.

See what her next few weeks of homework is like. Try looking at her classwork too, homework isn't necessarily reflective on the effort and effectiveness of the teacher.

MosquitoFood Wed 03-Sep-14 21:27:30

I kind of knew I was being rash hmm
I will be watching the rest of her homework from this teacher. It just seems quite odd that all the other subjects can manage 'proper' homework and this one set this.
According to DD she complained about it (how long does it take to draw up a margin as and when needed?) and was told they are not allowed to give out worksheets anymore.

Ps I'm well aware of how hated I am amongst the teaching community.

dancestomyowntune Wed 03-Sep-14 21:30:58

My dd1, new y7, had one piece of homework today (1st day back). One question, what is the highest point in England? She is a selective, grammar student! To say I was expecting more is an understatement! But... It is the first day and we shall see how things progress.

Passmethecrisps Wed 03-Sep-14 21:31:03

They possibly aren't allowed worksheets anymore - the cost is huge.

Hated? I have met a loooooot of parents and hated very very few none.

At the end of the day as long as everyone stays reasonable and polite, the child's needs are what matters. If you feel they are not being met then you are not being unreasonable to discuss this. You might not always get the answer you want though

Goldmandra Wed 03-Sep-14 21:31:17

those that do not do even this "simple task" would be punished in line with school policy for failing to do hwk eg a detention at breaktime.

Well yes but surely that applies to any homework task? Dojo suggested this is a way of weeding them out. I'm genuinely intrigued as to why a teacher would set a task to weed them out.

phantomnamechanger Wed 03-Sep-14 21:38:01

the "weeding out" is because ANYONE can do this activity, and therefore should - and neatly and on time.
There can be no room for "I didn't understand it/got stuck" etc excuses.

So this would weed out those who won't bother, are lazy, don't give their best. Those you need to be extra firm with/keep an eye on.

DD is at grammar - and still gets "cover your exercise book" as a first hwk. This does not just mean wrap in wallpaper like we used to, they have to find pictures etc either of /related to France, and then ancient Egypt/china for history, and geographical features for geog - so the same-coloured ex books are easy to distinguish. DD is a 100% effort person and will do these carefully and with thought - and get a good mark for presentation etc as a result.

Passmethecrisps Wed 03-Sep-14 21:38:57

'Weed out' sounds like it would be for punitive means but not necessarily. A school might ask all staff to highlight pupils not completing homework so that extra support can be offered and early intervention strategies employed.

It's the same as using formative assessment strategies in class.

Passmethecrisps Wed 03-Sep-14 21:40:36

Not on topic but I have only ever once asked a class to cover text books. One lad fastened his cover very neatly with about 40 staples and another had the centrefold of FHM

RedRoom Wed 03-Sep-14 21:42:33

My pupils are going to be decorating and sticky back plastic-ing their exercise books for the first homework of the year. There is nothing educational about it but it encourages them to take pride in their presentation, makes it quicker to identify them and hand them out and stops them bringing every other yellow exercise book but mine to their lessons. Well worth it, if you ask me. Your child's teacher is setting a quick one off task to help save time in lessons and get them organised. No problem!

MsAstronaut Wed 03-Sep-14 21:42:52

Why would a teacher want to set a pointless homework task just to see who did it?

It seems sensible to me. The new teacher can use this to assess who is efficient and neat, who maybe struggles with handwriting or co-ordination, who falls down on doing a simple task and returning it by the required date, who takes care and attends to detail, and who rushes (maybe indicated by them missing a page). That's just getting to know the class, it's not necessarily about punishment.

Plus if it's useful and needs doing, it saves class time and eases them in gently. It takes time, but isn't mentally challenging. It gets them into the swing of regular homework without being outfacing.

Also OP you do know that homework has been found to be detrimental to results. Demanding lots of hard homework for your DC is not the way to get better results.

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