Sunday, January 24, 2016

Best Homework EVER

I can honestly say I have tried homework in kindergarten year after year.  I have found it either doesn't get completed, gets lost, or is forgotten on the bus or at home.  I would often get a phone call at home from parents not knowing what to expect.  It just didn't work (for me).  I went a few years just accepting that it was lost or incomplete.  I then went through a time where I just did not send home homework.  Well, now I have changed.  I discovered homework that actually works!  It is differentiated, organized, and self-paced.  And... I LOVE IT!

I call it "Skills Pouch".  That is all it is.  Students came to school on the first day with a supply or pencil pouch.  I use them as student homework pouches.

They are reasonably priced and can be found just about anywhere.
  Then, I purchase book rings.  I prefer the 2 inch book rings, but any size will work.

I begin the school year in August (on the first day of school) by putting letters on the ring.  I started on the first day of school so that it WAS the expectation that students have homework.  When students master the uppercase letters, they move on to lowercase, sounds, color words and number words.  Then, I move students on to sight words.  I print them on cardstock.
I am including a blank template for you to use.
Click here for the PowerPoint template.
Click here for the Keynote template.

After students have mastered the letters and words, they move onto Deanna Jump and Stephanie Stewart's Sight Words that Stick Fluency Phrases.

If a student masters ALL letters, words, kindergarten fluency sentences, and first & second grade sentences, I advance them on to Jen Jones's Fluency Passages.  I DO have two students already on these passages this year and a few more that will get there before spring break.  (so exciting)
After Christmas break, students have two rings in their skill pouches.  One is the reading skill they have been working and progressing on.  The new one added is the math fact ring.  I use my Mastering Math Fact Fluency Pack.

Students have been taking home facts on their ring in their skills pouch.  When they pass the set of facts, I add to the ring.  Then, the next time I assess the student they must read all of the facts on the ring to move on.

One thing I must say that I LOVE about the skills pouches is they are personal.  I want them to be personal.  Students have their parents write me a hand-written note.  I have had some notes on napkins, scrap paper, or even the back of a receipt.  They say, "Evan is ready to test!" or "Elsa has practiced and wants to be tested."  or "Leevi is excited for his math facts test."  They are not fancy notes...  instead they are personal.  And I truly believe the personal connections are what education is missing.

So, that's it folks... Homework I LOVE!!  When I assess students it is personal.  I am hearing them read.  I am spending one-on-one time with that child to see how far he or she has come.  It is differentiated, organized, self-paced and most of all, personal.

Endless Possibilities,

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