In every content area, teachers are asked to cover far more content and help students develop more skills than ever before. Add to that mix the need to teach things like digital citizenship, non-subject specific skills like collaboration and critical thinking, and technological proficiency, and you have a Sisyphean task.
The traditional answer to this problem is just assigning extra practice and content as homework. But that just takes a problem for teachers and passes it on to students and parents. That isn’t a solution.
The solution is to do less. It’s not a popular solution, but it IS a practical one.
For each unit, I choose the information that I think is most real-world, helpful and relevant to my students. Then, I decide what skills would be most appropriate and design the unit around those skills and that content. The last thing to decide is what the final for the unit will be. In my class, the final product often includes puppets and a project.
The most important thing is that I make the scope of the unit something I can achieve using ONLY face-to-face class time. What would traditionally be assigned as homework is just not included. Period.
Let’s look at a practical example from my own classroom.