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Back-From-Thanksgiving Blues


Mister Teacher dreads returning to school after Thanksgiving, as he skeptically expects his students to have completely neglected their homework assignment from the break. Sound familiar?

I sent these flip books home with the kids over break and told them that their homework was to cut out pictures from newspapers, magazines, store fliers, whatever that showed examples of 3-D shapes in real life. They were to glue these pictures inside their flip books and then bring them back for display.
It will be very interesting to see how many flip books I get back tomorrow. I have to say, I'm really not expecting much. A lot of my kids have trouble bringing back homework or signed papers from the night before, much less from 10 days before, so it wouldn't surprise me at all if I only get about half of them back...

I find it interesting that teachers feel they have the right to tell children and their families what they will do during a holiday. If Mister Teacher's principal gave him an assignment to do over Thanksgiving he'd have the union grieving a violation of the contract. I am beginning to think it is time for the students to have a union contract. If school is the students' job then do it at "work" and stop infringing on families' time.

I 100% agree with the previous comment. A Vacation is supposed to be a break, not an extension of the school year. I am a teacher and a parent. I NEVER assign homework over a break OR a week-end. The only time a student has homework from me to do over a week-end or break is when there is a long term project and the student CHOOSES to work on it at that time because it is convenient for them. It blows my mind how many teachers assign work over a break. My daughter had homework from FOUR different classes over the so-called "break." She spent the entire time either studying or worrying about studying. While one of her teachers was in Mexico enjoying the time off, my daughter was up late working on the homework that this same teacher assigned! Teachers should not assign homework over a break. Families need time together. Kids need down time. A break is exactly that - a break - not extra time for teachers to fill with additional work.

Mark, thanks for the laugh. A union contract for students? Because school is their job? I'm afraid that here in America, 3/4 of the kids would be fired from school for not doing their job.
Homework infringes on family time? Can we teachers then claim that all of the personal drama that is brought to school should stay at home and not infringe on school time??

Michelle, I agree that students should not be overloaded over a vacation. I don't think there is anything wrong, however, with a light task or two to help them remember things and not come back to school having forgotten everything. I'm sorry your child had so much work, but the geometry flipbook I sent home required maybe 20 minutes of work, to be done over 9 days of break.

Surprisingly, I got all but about 5 of them back with pictures ranging from ok to fantastic!

I agree with Mister Teacher. I am a mother of three elementary age girls and TA for 3rd grade. I don't think a student should be bogged down over the holidays or weekends but a fun short project is a great way to affirm the lesson being taught. Another thought, is to make the project a family project for everyone in the home to participate in. This way everyone is spending time together and having fun without thinking that they may be learning something.

I'm glad that you got "all but five" back. And I also agree that a "fun" project to help them remember skills is usually not a problem. However, put that in a high school environment where six or seven teachers each think that their "fun" assignment is not a problem, and then you have, well, "a problem. The only thing I see as a potential issue with your assignment is that, at least where I teach, there are a large number of students who do not have access to magazines, scissors, glues, etc. This would then become a stressful project for the family as they scramble to find these items. Magazines are no longer cheap.I have students who live 10 miles out on dirt roads with no reliable car. But, I digress. Can we agree then that there should be only minimal homework over breaks, so that kids actually get a break, too?

Cutting and pasting to make flip books for classroom decorations is a complete and total waste of time. It's a busy work assignment with absolutely no academic value.

Mister Teacher seems to want to use this assignment as a way to control how students spend their time outside of school rather than as a way to extend or deepen student learning.

OK, OK, you got me Julie. My master plan has been uncovered. I have always hoped merely to control children's free time by demanding that they use scissors and glue to create flip books for eternity! MUAHAHAHAHAHA!!

I can see that my original statement of having them do this for display has caused some consternation. I did not just mean that they were doing it MERELY to have something up on the wall. I had them do this so that they would realize that these 2 and 3 dimensional shapes we have been studying are actually in evidence everywhere in the real world. Julie, do you really not see how this would deepen or extend learning?

Michelle, of course we can agree on that. I can't speak for high school teachers or ANY other teachers, any more than you can speak for all parents across the world. I gave one simple assignment that could in no possible way be seen as taking the kids' entire vacation, and which I saw as pretty simple. I even suggested that if they didn't have magazines or newspapers to cut out, they could grab a few store fliers next time they went to Walgreen's, Albertsons, or wherever. One little girl even brought her flip book back with nothing glued into it, but rather had the pictures placed inside since she had no glue. Problem solved.

I am really pretty amazed that this seemingly small post has generated so much conflict. Teachers and parents -- us vs them?? Why??

Comments are now closed for this post.


Recent Comments

  • Mister Teacher: OK, OK, you got me Julie. My master plan has read more
  • Julie: Cutting and pasting to make flip books for classroom decorations read more
  • michelle: I'm glad that you got "all but five" back. And read more
  • Mary Beth: I agree with Mister Teacher. I am a mother of read more
  • Mister Teacher: Mark, thanks for the laugh. A union contract for students? read more




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