Joanne Griffin has some fabulous spelling homework ideas listed in a doc file. Today, I grabbed it and formatted my own list of spelling homework choices. Take a look, you might like!
I am trying out a new second grade reading and writing homework using the Tree Map. My goal is for students to prepare students to be able to dissect a story, looking at the characters, setting, problem and solution. Eventually, I want to transition into using the academic language of “characters, setting, problem and solution” but for now, I’m using scaffolding language. Take a look to see if it’s useful for you.
I updated my reading and writing homework, which uses a flow map, for second grade. This is a tentative change for me. I will observe how my students handle this homework before making more changes. For now, the changes include some sentence starters to help the students write about their reading.
Just created a reading and writing homework using Circle Maps. This homework would work well with the younger students or at the beginning of the school year.
Visit my box.net to download both as PDFs.
It has always been my contention that homework for the younger students is a silly invention created by teachers to make parents feel better. I’m a little bit wrong, but since the research is not conclusive yet, I can maintain my contention with ease!
Check out the Review of Studies on Homework by Caroline Sharp. The research on the benefit of homework at the primary level is inconsistent! And “Time spent on homework explains only a small amount of the variance in pupils’ achievement scores, even at secondary level.”
My favorite quote is this: “The limited research into pupils’ preferences indicates that pupils dislike being set routine homework tasks (such as finishing off classwork) which do not contribute to their learning. They prefer interesting, challenging and varied tasks that are clearly defined and have adequate deadlines.”
What does this mean for my homework policy? Well, I send home the daily reading/writing homework (see previous post) to make the parents feel better. I know my hard-working students read for 20 minutes or more and then write and my non-hard-working students just write something down. But, the parents feel better. I don’t stress about whether or not they do their homework because my kids have enough to deal with without having their teacher go on a tear about some questionable benefit of homework. I’m also aware that some of my kids don’t even have a bed to sleep on, never mind a set, comfortable environment to do homework (laughable!) as per the research so I really don’t care if they finish their homework!
What I do have to be mindful of now is setting interesting projects as homework. Perhaps a weekly project that the students can do with the resources they have and that correlates with our learning in the classroom. That would certainly take more work on my part, but I imagine that it would be more engaging, interesting, and educational than say, the daily homework practice.
This year, I came up with a pretty interesting way of teaching the classification of triangles.
This is an example of how I prefer to teach math in my classroom, not that I do it all the time. Though I should. Guilty!
1. First I give the students input on the classification of the triangles using a charted graphic organizer.
2. Then, I break the students into groups of threes according to sizes and have have them make triangles using their bodies and identify the triangles. This activity goes on for about 7-10 minutes. The kids have lots of fun!
3. While they are doing that, I’m taking pictures.
4. We conclude the lesson by reviewing the types of triangles we learned, what are their features, etc.
5. We have guided practice and independent practice in the math workbook.
6. I go home and make this worksheet using the pictures I took. (Well, a similar worksheet as I lost a few things during the transfer to my new computer). A digital camera, a printer, and a computer equipped with Publisher is just wonderful!
7. The next day, they get this for homework as reinforcement along with their regular homework worksheet from the book.
A lesson like this touches on many modalities. The visual learners have the graphic organizers, the kinesthetic learners use their bodies, the social learners are working with their friends, and so on. The lesson is fun and engaging, yet purposeful. The lesson also builds relationships and connections. Children who take home my teacher created worksheet with pictures of themselves and their classmates remember the lesson better than the children who only take home the impersonal commercial worksheet.
Apology: The worksheet you see above is a redux of the original. I lost the original during my move from old to new computer. I also lost the really great pictures that I used in the original, so these pictures don’t clearly show which triangle is isosceles, which triangle is equilateral, etc. But, it gives you an idea of what we did.
Originally uploaded by cityteacher.
I made some minor changes and am happier with the homework. This is what my students will use for the next few months.
Originally uploaded by cityteacher.
This is my first attempt to use Publisher to create a document for school. What do you think? I think it can get fancier of course, but hey, it is my first attempt!
I use the exact same reading/writing homework assignment every day because I believe my students do better when they know what to expect. The homework varies because they read different books every night. I switch out the homework every few months or so and use a different graphic organizer.
If anyone is interested, I’ll continue to post the different versions of the reading and writing homework assignments as I create them.
I’ve been waiting a month for my new custom built PC to arrive. For the past two years, my seven years old computer kathunk*kathunked its way through all the programs that I need to use on a daily basis. Then, I discovered a cheap version of Publisher which allows me to create really cool worksheets, newsletters, vibrant articles, just interesting reading/writing materials. Unfortunately, my old computer crashed if I used more than one photo in the program.
So, this year, I determined to upgrade my computer. Now, in conjunction with my digital camera and color printer, I am prepared to create all sorts of interesting stuff for my students!
First thing I’m going to do is revamp my daily reading/writing homework. You guys get to see it and use it if it turns out well!