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Old 06-04-2019, 10:31 AM
 
Location: Sun City West, Arizona
22,438 posts, read 10,390,177 times
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In another of our threads, a number of posters kept posting about "busy work".

When I was teaching earth science, I had no time for "busy work". I had trouble fitting in all the important aspects of the content. And I know this was also true for many social studies/history teachers.

Or is "busy work" what some people refer to work that isn't very exciting? All knowledge is not exciting.

And the value of repetition in learning.

Thoughts?
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Old 06-04-2019, 10:56 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,537 posts, read 39,914,033 times
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"busy work" is;
1) Often what instructors use to AVOID teaching / covering new ground.
2) May be necessary to keep the advanced students occupied while bringing a slower student up to current progress.
3) Can be 'time fillers' (as in commercials) to burn up the clock, prepare for term breaks, or between subjects.

There are better options.

Un-schooling worked for us.
I can't imagine the uselessness of age segregated learning... seems like "busy work" assigned from the administration. (the easy path). Physical age has little to do with learning / academic achievement in the context of K-20.
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Old 06-04-2019, 11:09 AM
 
8,309 posts, read 9,066,401 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phetaroi View Post
In another of our threads, a number of posters kept posting about "busy work".

When I was teaching earth science, I had no time for "busy work". I had trouble fitting in all the important aspects of the content. And I know this was also true for many social studies/history teachers.

Or is "busy work" what some people refer to work that isn't very exciting? All knowledge is not exciting.

And the value of repetition in learning.

Thoughts?
Some thoughts in context regarding my son who attended an all boys Jesuit school.

Valuable out of class work - he was assigned a two year physics and math project as part of a group, generating a bug collection, he tutored second and third graders in math, he toured several high tech facilities. Mostly though as he knew medicine was in his future he was assigned a good many assignments and tasks related to medicine including shadowing, internships, targeted volunteer ops. etc. He generated very few projects.

He was tasked with very little low value out of class work and was assigned very little homework. Maybe a rough average of 45 minutes per day.

Same regarding my daughter who attended an Ursuline order all girls Catholic school.

Valuable - target volunteer efforts, math and physics projects, legit high value mentorship ops. etc.

Low value/fluff - shocking amounts of homework probably 3 hours per night or more - she and all of her friends were often up well past midnight working on homework. Very low value projects/facets of projects an example being as a JR. she was required to write a report about absolute v. relative deprivation and then color in CRAYON 10 pages of illustrations, one writing teacher required the girls to turn in 5 handwritten drafts of each assignment rough draft - 3 intermediate drafts - final draft.

The net result of all this was that, viscerally anyway, the girls worked much harder, we more stressed, more tired and generally less happy and at the end of all of this the boys generally perform(ed) better by objective measures like SAT, ACT scores and number of NMSF kids.

Sorry my post is disjointed I had to hop on and off several times.
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Old 06-04-2019, 11:10 AM
 
Location: State of Transition
78,532 posts, read 70,455,727 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phetaroi View Post
In another of our threads, a number of posters kept posting about "busy work".

When I was teaching earth science, I had no time for "busy work". I had trouble fitting in all the important aspects of the content. And I know this was also true for many social studies/history teachers.

Or is "busy work" what some people refer to work that isn't very exciting? All knowledge is not exciting.

And the value of repetition in learning.

Thoughts?
I think science courses are challenging enough, that there's no room for busy work. I think the "busy work" comes in, in math (take-home worksheets ad nauseam, perhaps), and maybe grammar class, if the school has such a thing, and foreign language (again: take-home worksheets, translation exercises from the textbook).

However, not all worksheets or lists of problems to solve, whether mathematical or language practice, or science, are "busy work". Well-designed worksheets help students practice and master concepts, and aren't over-used. Science homework that involves answering questions at the end of the chapter, say, are aimed at determining whether the students have absorbed the material. That's not "busy work", by my definition.
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Old 06-04-2019, 11:17 AM
 
Location: State of Transition
78,532 posts, read 70,455,727 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EDS_ View Post
Some thoughts in context regarding my son who attended an all boys Jesuit school.

Valuable out of class work - he was assigned a two year physics and math project as part of a group, generating a bug collection, he tutored second and third graders in math, he toured several high tech facilities. Mostly though as he knew medicine was in his future he was assigned a good many assignments and tasks related to medicine including shadowing, internships, targeted volunteer ops. etc. He generated very few projects.

He was tasked with very little low value out of class work and was assigned very little homework. Maybe a rough average of 45 minutes per day.

Same regarding my daughter who attended an Ursuline order all girls Catholic school.

Valuable - target volunteer efforts, math and physics projects, legit high value mentorship ops. etc.

Low value/fluff - shocking amounts of homework probably 3 hours per night or more - she and all of her friends were often up well past midnight working on homework. Very low value projects/facets of projects an example being as a JR. she was required to write a report about absolute v. relative deprivation and then color in CRAYON 10 pages of illustrations, one writing teacher required the girls to turn in 5 handwritten drafts of each assignment rough draft - 3 intermediate drafts - final draft.

The net result of all this was that, viscerally anyway, the girls worked much harder, we more stressed, more tired and generally less happy and at the end of all of this the boys generally perform(ed) better by objective measures like SAT, ACT scores and number of NMSF kids.

Sorry my post is disjointed I had to hop on and off several times.
3 hrs. of homework was the norm when I was in school, but some of that involved reading a history, biology or literature chapter. I was able to get most of it done during study hall periods at school, except for freshman algebra, which was a struggle. Did your daughter not have periods during the school day, when no classes were on her schedule, and she was expected to show up for "study hall"?

We had no assignments at any grade level, that involved coloring. In later grades, when research papers began to be assigned, and we were learning how to organize term papers, I think we were required to turn in one rough draft, before the final version. It sounds like your daughter's school simply didn't know (or care?) how to keep girls busy, and it's obvious they didn't feel girls needed the kind of career-oriented activities your son was assigned.
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Old 06-04-2019, 12:32 PM
 
Location: My beloved Bluegrass
14,724 posts, read 10,616,557 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phetaroi View Post
In another of our threads, a number of posters kept posting about "busy work".

When I was teaching earth science, I had no time for "busy work". I had trouble fitting in all the important aspects of the content. And I know this was also true for many social studies/history teachers.

Or is "busy work" what some people refer to work that isn't very exciting? All knowledge is not exciting.

And the value of repetition in learning.

Thoughts?
I suspect this is the primary explanation. Some of the things that are labeled busy work have an express and meaningful purpose. I know as a a teacher I had no desire to waste time preparing, collecting, assessing, or grading assignment that had no content competency purpose. However, I had parent accuse me of doing just that when I assigned content word crossword puzzles or had the kids create unit content word dictionaries.

However, we all know of plenty of teachers who do indeed use a copious amount of busy work.
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Old 06-04-2019, 01:04 PM
 
8,309 posts, read 9,066,401 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
3 hrs. of homework was the norm when I was in school, but some of that involved reading a history, biology or literature chapter. I was able to get most of it done during study hall periods at school, except for freshman algebra, which was a struggle. Did your daughter not have periods during the school day, when no classes were on her schedule, and she was expected to show up for "study hall"?

We had no assignments at any grade level, that involved coloring. In later grades, when research papers began to be assigned, and we were learning how to organize term papers, I think we were required to turn in one rough draft, before the final version. It sounds like your daughter's school simply didn't know (or care?) how to keep girls busy, and it's obvious they didn't feel girls needed the kind of career-oriented activities your son was assigned.
To be clear she had roughly 3hrs. legit study/homework plus hours of busy work every day. I'm not sure her school has study hall per se. She never had one.
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Old 06-04-2019, 01:07 PM
 
2,072 posts, read 703,003 times
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Ah, does that bring back memories. Bad ones. We had a long-term sub in 3rd grade when our regular teacher was out for an extended illness. Most nights her homework for arithmetic consisted of starting with a number and successively subtracting another number from it till you got to zero. Example: start with 140 and keep subtracting 7. At one point she even said she was assigning it for the last time- and then she did it again the following week.

I hope they don't do that anymore.
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Old 06-04-2019, 01:10 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
78,532 posts, read 70,455,727 times
Reputation: 76499
Quote:
Originally Posted by EDS_ View Post
To be clear she had roughly 3hrs. legit study/homework plus hours of busy work every day. I'm not sure her school has study hall per se. She never had one.
Got it. That definitely is excessive. Thanks for clarifying. I can't imagine what her parochial school filled up the day with, if not study hall, unless it was religion class, or something.
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Old 06-04-2019, 01:35 PM
 
442 posts, read 106,202 times
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I can think of one from my son's time in school..reading logs.
He went through so many of those Hank the Cowdog books but was lax about filling in his log in class.

Oh and then there was AR with the points and all and that 'big prize' at the end of the year for those with high points.

And that was all for pushing "reading for pleasure".
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