Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Homework Linky

I'm linking up with The Applicious Teacher for this week's topic:  Homework! -

Homework has been a big topic at our school this year.  Several teachers and I participated in a book study of book Classroom Instruction that Works.
There was an entire chapter devoted to homework and if it is effective or not.  Basically it said that it shouldn't be a big part of primary classrooms because students have to rely on their parents to get it done.  It is especially ineffective to have a grade tied to homework in the younger grades because, once again, it is mostly up to the parents. 

some parents ask for it.

Every year I have the eager parent who asks for things to be sent home so their child can get extra practice.  

So I'm stuck.

My solution...

 I decided to provide "homework" for those that want it but I do not keep track of who returns it or not and I especially do not grade it.  I tell parents at orientation that homework will be sent home but it is simply a tool they can use if they like.
The book Classroom Instruction that Works stresses that if homework is assigned, it needs to be commented on.  Since I offer homework as a choice and it is not assigned, I don't go over it.  If a child and parent do complete the work, and return it the child gets a sticker.

In designing the work I kept in mind the Rule of 10.
That means 10 minutes of homework (all subjects combined) x grade the child is in.  
For example:
2nd grade=20 minutes.
6th grade=60 minutes. 

I started with reading since that is a passion of mine.  We have been using nursery rhymes to teach Shared Reading for ages.  I had the chance to see Dr. Jean speak twice and both times she stressed how important it is for young children to learn nursery rhymes to build phonemic awareness.  Her advice really stuck with me and I made sure to introduce a new poem each week.  I also found a musical version of each poem from either Dr. Jean or Jack Hartmann

I thought it would be really nice to use these same poems for homework.  I have seen Scholastic's Fast Start for Early Readers BUT, it didn't use the poems I had already been using in my room. 
We liked how Scholastic gave parents a script of what to say.  A team member and I took on the task of creating a script for our poems.  It took forever, but now that we have it, we love it.  We also got really good feedback from the parents that chose to use it.

Here are a couple of examples...

Then, we took on math!  We used all of our math learning targets a guide.
Minnesota does not use Common Core but, from what I've seen, we are similar.

Math Magic focuses on two targets a week and it spirals through all of them.  The page can be completed with minimal materials (number cards are included in the pack for a couple of weeks).

Both Poem Power and Math Magic are on sale until Friday! 

I also combined them to create a bundle, which is also on sale! 
Click on any of the covers to find out more.

Do you use homework in kindergarten?  Link up with Leigh by clicking her button below!

Friday will also be the last day to get my Morning Songs for the SMART board for free!
If you grabbed it already, I'd love your feedback!

One more thing...if you live in or around Minnesota, don't forget to sign up for our meet-up!  It is already next week!

Are you still reading? 
 If you are, leave a comment below to win the Poem Power & Math Magic Bundle!  I'll pick one person tomorrow night.  Good Luck!


  1. Would love to win these packs and would totally use in my kindergarten class :) Thanks!!!

  2. These look fantastic! I also like the idea of letting your parents know that homework is a tool and that it is up to them to use it or not. I bet that eliminates a lot of stress and pressure for both you and the families.

    It's "OWL" Good in Kindergarten

  3. I love your ideas!!! I am going to try some of them this year since I struggled with the homework last year...some parents didn't want it and others did etc. Thank you!!!

  4. love this idea!!! Would love to win!

  5. What a great idea! I do optional homework as well and this pack would be so perfect for it! Would love to win :)

  6. I have always had a problem assigning weekly homework in kindergarten and wish my principal and fellow teachers could read that chapter in the book. Would love your packets! Thank you!
    Andrea :)

  7. Would love to start the year with some new materials!

  8. You are super woman! Can't wait for the meet-up!


    Learning With Mrs. Leeby

  9. We have a homework packet, but it is full of games and activities. We tried to make a lot of the activities something that they can do as a family or when they are on the go.

  10. I am so happy I found your site this week!!!!!!!!! My dog has Puppy Kindergarten on Thursday but I am going to see if my boyfriend will take him by himself so I can meet up!

    Lessons With Coffee