Parents are in a time crunch, like never before. Most homes have two parents who are working. They pick up the kids from day care, run to a sporting practice (that is a much needed outlet for kids), get dinner, get them in the bath, and get them in bed...and sometimes homework just doesn't get done. I'm not making excuses, just talking reality. Here's another reality, sometimes parents can't help with homework, because they don't know how to help.
The Catch 22 of Homework
- Homework shouldn't take too much time...they need practice, but they need to breathe after a long day at school.
- Homework should be independent practice. Parents aren't in the classroom, so can't expect them to know our routines or classroom procedures.
- Homework shouldn't be punishment.
- Homework should reflect the weekly lessons.
- Homework shouldn't take more time to plan than it takes to complete.
- Homework should have some student choice.
Students need to use word wall words...every day, every night, every lesson, every book. These words should be seen in their leveled books, in their writing, and in their homework. Research shows word wall words or high frequency words are key to creating fluent, emergent readers. We introduced 2 new words a week. Students can choose which additional words they would like to practice. Using one of the two open-ended options for homework each week, helps the students practice their words in a variety of ways. The word wall word homework is divided by learning styles: verbal/linguistic, verbal/spatial, bodily/kinesthetic, and musical. Students are asked to complete 2 word wall word activities each week.
One option has the choice board posted on-line or filed in a clear sleeve in the homework folder. Students follow the directions and choose the number of required homework assignments. They use a separate sheet of paper or a homework notebook to create their homework. If they choose an activity with no required written response, a parent must initial the choice. There are options for each semester.
The second option is a copied paper sent home each week. Homework options can be completed on the back of the paper and parents can initial choices on the front. If you'd like this Free Download, CLICK HERE or click the picture below.
In kindergarten, we use a poem of the week for daily activities. This poem is practiced daily in a whole group setting. We pay attention to one-to-one pointing, rhyming words, word wall words, beginning or ending sounds, and the list goes on. In addition to the poem being read daily for a week, the same poem is sent home the next week for homework. The poem is copied on a half sheet of paper. The student can use paper for their choices. Once again their are two options.
One option is left in the homework folder and used as a guide. The activities are done on the poem paper. Another option is copied each week and the parents sign the choice on the paper and the use the poem paper for the activities.
Our Poem of the Week homework choices were based on (The NEW) Bloom's Taxonomy. Students can choose homework based on the complexity of the task. At the beginning of the year, they can choose from any of the assignments. As the year goes on, they must choose at least one higher level thinking activity. If you would like this Free Download, CLICK HERE or the picture below.
What is your plan for homework? How do you handle it? I'm sure we won't come up with one standard answer or plan, but the debate is necessary.