Capturing Wormeli’s Think Alouds

What if no homework was allowed?  Would you teach differently?


Zeros send this message:

1.  This assignment has no legitimate educational value

2.  It’s okay if you don’t learn this.

3.  This work you didn’t do……you don’t need to do it.

If any of those are true, then DON’T ASSIGN IT!  If we do not allow students to re-do work, we deny the growth mindset so vital to student maturation.

Kids are not mature enough to make choices about if want to learn or not.  Or, if they want to complete an assignment.  What would you do if your child didn’t do an assignment?  You’d MAKE them do it!  When is comes to teacher/student relationships, it’s not a 50/50 thing.  Teachers have to bring the horse to the water and make the WANT to drink.


Teachers let the idea of managing new techniques and strategies keep them from trying or exploring really good practice.

School is the only place you have to be good at everything at the same time as everyone else is good at it.

The moment you put a grade on it, you defeat the purpose of formative assessment.


“If we don’t count homework heavily, students won’t do it.”  <—-No matter the percentage homework counts, the same amount of students won’t do it.

We need to grade against standards, NOT routes students take or techniques teachers use to achieve those standards.  What does this mean we should do with class participation or discussion grades?

Grades are not the motivation you think they are.  Stop leaning on them!  They only motivate some of the sum (the minority).


It’s not the product, it’s how you use the data that makes it formative or summative assessment.

Making kids wallow in their pit does not teach.

The consequences for not doing the work, is doing the work.

In the real world, you are ALWAYS given full credit for the highest score achieved.  (i.e., Praxis, Driver’s test, LSAT, MCAT)  Your scores are never averaged!  Why do we think we can do that to students?


Alternative for extra credit=let the student re-do the assessment for full credit!

  • The alternative assessment might be much harder (oral interview)
  • student must do the “relearn” before they can “redo” (plan of study)
  • parent has to sign awareness of first attempt that student failed. (except in extreme cases)


Consequences in the real world do not remove hope.  Late happens!  What are all the things that make you late?  What if you were docked for everything you were late for, whether or not it was your fault?  Most kids lives are not controlled by them.  Kids have a discretionary window when they get to decide what to do with their time.


When asked “Why did you choose that teaching strategy, or that assignment?”  Teachers’ response should be, “This is what I know about how kids learn, so this is why I did this.”  NOT “Because this is the way I’ve always done it, or this is the way I was was taught.”  GET OVER YOURSELF!  (He really said that!!)


If a student meets the standard, they should get an “A”.  Exceeding the standard to get an “A” involves teacher subjectivity.

How would you teach your class if the kids’ parents were standing along the walls watching you?

Imagine showing up for a job that exposes your weaknesses every day……..that is what it is like for kids who struggle in school.

“Didn’t do my homework.”  “Flunked the test.”  <—-kids who brag about this are just trying to avoid admitting, “I’m an idiot, I don’t get it.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: