Homework lesson sticks with Belle Heth students
RADFORD — When students in a fourth-grade class at Belle Heth Elementary lined up to duct-tape their teacher to a wall Friday, they were doing something few students had ever done before.
Heather Rowland was duct-taped to an exterior wall at the Radford school a little more than a month after her students accepted and completed a challenge she had issued earlier in the year.
Rowland’s class of 18 students was challenged to complete homework assignments for 30 days straight without a single student missing a day of homework. On Friday, her students had done it.
Only once, about nine days in, did the class have to start all over.
“There was always that moment the first five minutes of class to hope that everybody did their homework the night before,” Rowland said. “They would turn in their homework and hold their breath.”
One fourth-grader named Robert said the challenge made him want to do his homework every night and that doing his homework has become a habit for him.
The challenge came to Rowland’s mind after she read a statistic about creating habits.
“I read somewhere that if you can do something for 32 days, then it becomes a habit,” Rowland said. “I want it to become a habit that they complete their homework and that it’s important.”
Belle Heth Principal Jack McKinley said the challenge did more than just push the students to do their homework. He believes it helped bring the class together as a team as they were trying to reach the goal.
“Homework is important, but even more important is learning responsibility and commitment to the process,” McKinley said. “It’s gotten them excited about school and helped motivate them.”
The challenge has certainly motivated Rowland’s students. If the students can do their homework for 120 days straight, Rowland has agreed to be duct-taped to the same wall upside down.
J.R., a student in Rowland’s class, said classmates asked for homework over breaks so they could achieve their goal sooner.
“I want to duct-tape her upside down,” he said.
Without realizing it, the class might have done more than just 30 days of homework.
“I told the kids I cared about them very much and I wanted to see them succeed,” Rowland said. “I feel like this is something we’ve been able to do as a group together. The challenge has helped build a community and a sense of awareness in our classroom.”
The Roanoke Times | 381-8627
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