16 September 2011

Make homework more interesting and readable with color

Amazon: Crayola 24ct Long Colored PencilsConnie passed along a homework technique she and her niece devised to make papers easier to read and correct: 

My older niece likes to check over her homework when she's done. When it's something like matching words to their definitions or word search, she often has trouble following the lines she's drawn to make sure she did it right.

Now we color code it. Every time she connects words, or finds a word in a word search, she uses one color of crayon to mark it. If she has to cross out a word to keep track, she uses the same crayon. Each answer gets a different color. Simple and easy -- and probably easier for her teacher to check as well.

(You can use colored pencil for sharper lines and easy erasability, of course. She marks it out in pencil and then goes over in her first checkthrough. Little perfectionist.)

Homework is a strange beast. For some (like Connie's niece, it sounds like), homework is a way to express one's enjoyment of precision, and pride in one's work. I know plenty of kids that like doing homework, in the same way they enjoy doing other detailed projects.

For others, homework is a chore to be gotten through. For those kids, this hack may add just enough visual interest and variety to keep them focused.

Sarah made just this point a couple years ago with respect to younger kids who are still adjusting to homework requirements: that using different colors helps kindergarteners and 1st graders stay on task.

There's much more I could say about homework (I've got opinion to spare on the topic), but I'll step away from the soapbox for now so we can focus on practical homework strategies. Here are a few gems from the archives:

What are your family's little homework tricks?

More: Behavior and learning tips

Your comments

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Very timely given that last night I attended a parent university at my daughter's school to talk about different types of learning styles (and thus homework). Highlighting and color work really well for visual learners but I like how you are applying the use of color here too.

Transition Coach Fez

Great ideas. We do see color with our brains. These examples seems to help reinforce a learned idea or task.

Another tip for visual learners - use a colored plastic sleeve when studying or reading material to increase retention by 30+%. Place worksheet or notes in plastic sleeve and study as usual.

In fact - any chance to use color with highlighters or markers, etc. will improve retention. Good tips!

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