Empty Kids Into the Gift Shop!

Some Pirate Thoughts on Homework

Homework is a hot topic these days. I have lots of opinions on it…even more so now that my own kids are making their way
through school! Here is a quick video (less than 4 minutes!) that may help you look at homework a little differently. It’s based on my observations of the marketing techniques used by theme parks to sell their merchandise. Plain and simple…it works!

Remember, Teach Like a Pirate is a way of looking at the world.

Enjoy! I get a bit fired up…but you’re probably expecting that!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

26 thoughts on “Empty Kids Into the Gift Shop!

  1. Good points, Dave. I’ve agreed with you on Hw almost my whole 42 year career. I spent my time in poverty ridden high schools as an English teacher and principal. A kid is not going to read the next act of Romeo and Juliet if his drunk daddy is beating the sh%$ out of his mother. Also, most poor kids don’t have a room in the house where they can’t hear the loud tv or stereo. And who are they going to ask for help? But some teachers persist. Thanks for the gift shop metaphor. Good one.

  2. Dave,
    This is really creative and I totally relate to this. We have been “studying” homework in our district – we need to address this topic/concept like you suggest! The gift shop – exactly – unique, relevant and varied! Thanks as always for challenging us to think differently and better. Your work and contributions are huge and appreciated by me and so many.

    • Thank you, Michael!! Lots of homework help is on the way! We love your work…thanks for the support!

  3. Dave, you always have an interesting perspective on educational topics. I LOVE what you have to say on homework. I teach health and PE and now I am thinking how I could “Empty my kids into the gift shop.” My students would be learning and applying true lifestyle selections to “buy into” in the “gift shop”! Thanks for getting me thinking! You are an inspiration!

    • Great to be connected, Bryan!! I know you will be amazing! Thanks for sharing the link.

  4. Thanks Dave. Totally agree with you on creating that theme-park-like enjoyable and exciting experience for the students in my classroom.
    I also believe in giving the students some autonomy in selecting their ‘merchandise’ according to their excitement level and ability. The ‘merchandise’ must also appeal to them and look as enticing as the park ride itself!

  5. Love the analogy, Dave. Would love to have more discussion on what this could “look” like. I’ve been doing a lot of work on integrating curriculum while freeing up time for intensive differentiated skill work in needed foundational areas. The real-world nature of problem based learning can have the high motivating impact that your gift shop analogy poses, while building in the needed skill and practice.

    • Agreed. The more real and relevant we can make it…the more engaging and motivating. Thanks for commenting, Beth!

  6. Thank you Dave for the encouragement and the inspiration! You make me want to be a better teacher; not for me, but for them!

    • Thanks so much, Jeanine! I really appreciate your kind words and that you took the time to comment! 🙂

  7. You are spot on! Sometimes I think we teachers should audition rather than interview for our jobs… (and that is no disrespect intended; I have been teaching high school algebra for 14 years, and students thrive when they are excited to learn).

    • Thanks, Linda!! Yes! I actually have heard of some systems that have candidates teach sample lessons to real kids in the hiring process. Makes sense to me.

  8. Great ideas Dave, I agree with you what a great metaphor on the concept of homework. I believe that if you teach 8 hours and teach it well kids shouldn’t need homework to reinforce the concepts, they should remember it from class.

  9. Dave, you continue to amaze. I’m not a big fan of worksheets in school or as homework. Unfortunately, there’s still a lot of it out there in the k-8 universe. Your words really resonate with me today, and here’s why. A friend posted a physics joke on Facebook. I came into the geekdom late in life and didn’t take upper level science as a kid. I actually responded to his post (as did several others) “oh man, now I have to look up that law so I know why the joke is funny.” THAT’s what our students need to be feeling — compelled to learn more because it’s fun and interesting!

  10. Mr. Pirate Man, I appreciate your enthusiasm for this craft. I can always count on your encouragement to get re-fired up and to re-instill my thirst to be better. I wholeheartedly agree that something needs to change with homework/abundant use of worksheets. However, I struggle, because the students are judged at the end of the year with a test that is paper/pencil- essentially a really long worksheet. How does one properly prepare them to feel comfortable for this long worksheet without practicing with lots of examples of similar worksheets? Also, how does one explain to parents that more homework is not the answer to their child’s struggles? #qualityoverquantity

  11. Dave,
    Teachers at my school are all over this topic and many of us see little benefit to homework in its present form. I also agree with Bill Snead below as this is the kind of school in which I work. My third graders love novelty and challenges. Simple puzzles to get them thinking critically have been really useful and they love them.

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