Monday, September 12, 2016

Back In The Swing Of Things: Homework Version

So how long have you been in school? We have been in for about 23 days now and things are just now starting to settle down!  My tip for this blog hop is all about Homework.  As a busy mom of 4 I really don't like when teachers pile "it" on.  As a teacher,  I believe it has its advantages when done correctly.....I am not going to go into the battle of to homework vs. no homework right now. For now I am just going to suggest a few tips to help you along your on journey.
1.  Be extremely explanatory to the parents.  Especially as a K/1 teacher. Some of your students may have never been to school or ever had homework so being able to explain what is expected of the students, the parents, and of your self well ahead of time can save you from answering MILLIONS of questions and feeling overwhelmed.  (True story!! Be's tough if your not!)

2.  With the younger kiddos, I strongly believe in keeping it light and fun.  Don't assign 4 different subjects in one night unless each subject takes only about 5 minutes for them to complete. The things you do assign should be things they have already done in class so that they have experience with the task that is at hand.

3. Keep the assignments engaging.  The last thing a busy parent wants is to have a kiddo who pitches a fit EVERY time they have to do their homework. (True story again...and I have 4 of them pitching fits! Can you imagine the talk going on??? "But I don't know how to.." or "Why do I have to do this..." I am sure you have heard a few of those types of statements also. The last thing you want to do is have homework cause grief in the relationships between the parents/guardians and the child.

4. Plan the homework "basics" before school starts.  Make sure you already have in mind: when you will send it home, when it will be due, when/how you will grade it, how much you will give, and relay those plans to parents immediately. (hence #1)

5. Like anything in my class, I like for my homework to be differentiated.  For example, if one of your kiddos is struggling with the Doubles Plus One math strategy, by all means send home an extra practice activity for that PARTICULAR CHILD.  If the others already have that concept down why make them do it again and again???

6.  ALWAYS expect reading to happen.  If nothing else get books in your students hands and have them read to someone or have someone read to them.  To support them at home, you should also send home a handy little "How You Can Help At Home" note that describes the strategies you use in class for decoding and for comprehension.  Parents sometimes have no idea what you mean when you say "Use Chunky Monkey". (hence tip #1) AND it helps extremely if the K/1 kiddos are hearing the same language at home that they hear at school.

If you like where I am going with these tips, you should check out my Homework Resources option pack on TPT.  It has many different homework options, manipulatives, menus, and a new homework game I call the "Homework Roll". You can check it out here:

I hope my little tips encourage you to think about the many sides of homework!
To continue getting in the swing of things, hop on over to my pal Pamela from Pocketful of Centers.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Directed Drawing and a Freebie

I am teaming up with my friends from the I Teach K-2 bloggers for another AWESOME giveaway and Linky.  This month we are talking about Fall and Back to School.

My Back To School "Fall into Fun" tip is really a request for you to take a look at your writing time. I get that their is a time and a place for mini lessons diving into Writing Workshop procedures, grammar, different genres of writing, finger spaces, punctuation, sentences, etc.  However, I am a FIRM believer in letting the kids be kids.  I introduced directed drawings to my class years ago. Then I started getting bogged down with my county saying, "you must teach (this)", rubrics, and data collection. I found that it was becoming more of a "must-do" than a "love to do" scenario. I hated that.  Which brings me to my next point. Let the kids be kids in each aspect of your school day.  I started bringing directed drawing back into my classroom last year and it was SOOOOOO worth it!  The kiddos begin loving to write about their characters and there settings because they were "theirs" in a more realistic sense.  When given the opportunity to draw a really good character through directed drawing, painting, using construction paper, or any other "crafty" way, the student's characters really come to life. The kiddo's eyes just burst with excitement and I can see those lightbulbs for creating more detailed stories flick on brighter than before.  My goal this year is to get back to "fun" and incorporate a directed drawing once a week (or at least once every 2 weeks) this year.  So I offer this to you...........are you willing to step out of the box and have a little fun from your normal everyday Writing Workshop routine?? It's worth it!!

In order to entice you over to the fun side, I am offering a free directed drawing with 4 writing prompt options to help differentiate your classroom needs. This directed drawing is based on Johnny Appleseed and would go great with any Johnny Appleseed unit.

Just click Johnny Appleseed Directed Drawing to get your FREE copy!

Now for some more fun! Enter the Rafflecopter below for your choice to win one of the 2 TpT gift certificates!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for visiting! Now click on over to see what other fun lays ahead!

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