Christmas break is largely homework free

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Students who stayed on top of their work for the past few weeks earned a homework-free vacation.

Those who didn't may have some catching up to do.

Moffat County High School English teacher Bonnie Revelle is spending some time working over the two-week holiday break, but her students aren't.

"I try not to give homework on weekends or holidays," she said. "I think students should have to work hard while they're here and not have to work so hard when they're home."

She and her students discussed it before the break started and students decided to read a few chapters of "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn so they wouldn't have to read so much so fast when they returned, but that's the extent of their holiday homework.

Veteran high school math teacher Gary Tague said after 27 years teaching, he figures students aren't going to get much done over the holiday break anyway, so doesn't assign homework.

"Kids need a break, too," he said.

The school district doesn't have a standard for the amount of homework assigned. A survey of teachers indicates that the amount of homework assigned varies from class to class and teacher to teacher. "In general, I think teachers give (students) a break," Superintendent Pete Bergmann said. "In general they shut things down and tell them to enjoy."

The end of the semester falls two weeks after students return from their winter vacation, making it difficult for continuity. Bergmann said district officials have looked at revamping the school calendar so the semester finishes before the break, but that means starting school in early August. "It definitely impacts short-term retention," he said, "but not long-term, which is what teachers assess for."

MCHS language arts and journalism teacher Katy Gray said she sees a notable drop in student's energy level in the weeks leading up to Christmas break.

"I think teachers and students need this extended break," she said.

MCHS senior Madison Aaberg will relax at home for two weeks. He's thinking about finals, which will be Jan. 14-15, but not much.

He'll be doing no schoolwork over the holidays this year and can't ever remember having any.

"I'm not complaining about it, that's for sure," he said.

Freshman Caitlin Conci put off a project she was assigned two days before school let out and will use the break to catch up.

"I just didn't do it and decided to get it done over break," she said.

Though students may be without homework, many teachers are not. Assignments due the Friday before students left need to be graded. Gray said she took home papers to read.

But, she has two weeks to do it.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031,or by e-mail at ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.

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