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High-tech homework help at Norris

Norris Elementary School is going high tech with its approach to one of the basics of education -- homework -- in a move that could spare parents and students those late night scrambles associated with double checking assignments.

norris_homework1.jpg

Norris student Brea Boutwell points at the computer screen while checking her homework.
Photo by Kristopher Wells
The school has added a homework link to its web site, allowing 24-hour access to assigned coursework for fourth and fifth graders.

The homework link serves three important functions, said Principal Steve Rhodes.

"First of all, it enables the parent to check that what their child has written down as homework is accurate and in full; the site offers support to students should they forget to write down the assignment; and, lastly, should an absence occur, the student and parent can go on line to see what work was missed," he said.

Teachers also like the homework link, appreciating the fact that reinforcement of the day's lesson can occur at home.

"This helps parents help their children," said teacher Shantell Crockett. "I know my students use it."

Many students access the site at home, but some use the school's computers to check assignments for the week and to print the homework page. Homework is also posted in the classroom.

The homework link, which went on line shortly after the school year began in August, is in response to a request from the school's PTO president Betty Bicknell last year. Mr. Rhodes and the school's leadership team discussed the service, and were able to offer it beginning this school year.

The school's music teacher, Tammy McClure, serves as webmaster. Teachers provide her with homework assignments and she updates the information Friday afternoon for the following week.

The homework site is arranged by grade levels and teaching teams and the bold primary colors make for easy reading and understanding of assignments.

With just a click of the mouse, students and parents can review what tests are coming up the next day, which math problems to complete, and how much reading is required for the week.

Brooke Herkel takes full advantage of the service, logging on to the site every day.

"After I finish my homework, I check to make sure I did it all," said Brooke, a student in Angie Findley's fifth grade class.

Initial comments to the site are positive, and are helping students study a bit more independently as they prepare for upper grades.

"While we ask our students to write down their homework each day in their agenda books, homework on-line at Norris provides students and parents added support as our fourth and fifth graders become more independent and self-sufficient," Mr. Rhodes said.

"In fact, our goal is to get our fifth graders intrinsically motivated and ready for middle school. Hopefully, in grades six through eight, writing down daily assignments will be such a part of the routine for students, they will not require this resource," he added.

To access the web site, go to www.mcduffie.k12.ga.us/, select Norris Elementary, and then click on homework.



Web posted on Thursday, October 28, 2004


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