Thursday, June 20, 2013

Homework Sucks.

I cannot...can. not. stand the homework conundrum. i mean i hate packing it in their little folder during prep. i hate taking it out of their little folders in the breakfast-attendance-book shopping-lunch count foxtrot. i hate when it's 2:45pm and you see the busses pulling in the lot through your window and you realize you forgot to run the friggin' copy because you had something else to do during prep.

you know what's next don't you? one of two things:

1. run to the nearest file cabinet and hope to the lord on high that there is a stack of extra copies from a copier mishap from the past or

2. have the kiddos pull out a workbook while you do a five minute mini-lesson on "perforated page lines" and hope that they don't rip the page clean in half while trying to tear it out.

have mercy. it's june and i've been on an 8 month maternity leave and i'm already over homework.

must. do. something. new.

at a training last week, we were given an article by richard allington and it was all about what he has learned after studying exemplary classroom teachers for an entire decade!. the part that we all took away from it was the fact that in the thriving classes where the students were growing and performing, the kids were reading and writing as much 50% of the day and not doing the other "stuff" as he states.  he says that in the ineffective classrooms, it wasn't uncommon to find the children reading and writing (but like, really reading and writing- not worksheets, not "building background" for a half an hour, just reading and writing) for as little as 10% of the day.

shut. up. tenpercent?

so i naturally started to look at my school day and ask myself about my reading and writing versus crap ratio. not real sure i'm giving them as many opportunities as i can to read and write in the classroom. we do a full readers and writers workshop but i could probably get in even more if i tried...

which brings me back to homework. i got to can i transfer that research to homework? how can i get the kids to read- really read and write at home? how can i keep homework simple and predictable because now that i'm a parent, i can only imagine having to fit homework in our already busy schedule- and i only have one kid at the moment!  i know a lot of parents appreciate predictable.

so i'm thinking i'll give this a try and see how it works. this will be dependent upon how well and how often i model these activities in front of students. the more i model it, the better they will come back. i'm even thinking about unrolling one skill at a time and building them up to being able to have a choice.

I'm envisioning this in a sheet protector...maybe any rate, the idea is less photocopying because we would use this everyday.

check it out and let me know what you think. i think this plus a math practice sheet (no real easy way out of math homework....amirite??) will be an easy way to get kiddos reading and writing at home every night. parent and teacher opinions welcomed.




  1. I LOVE this idea! I've thought this over myself a few times, too. Currently I send home a paper book and comprehension packet weekly. I only send homework home on Mondays and it is due on Fridays. This year, I'm thinking of scrapping the whole comprehension packet (it's really easy for older siblings or time crunched parents to 'help' just a little too much when it is multiple choice) and just doing a sort of response choice board like the one you posted. Thanks for posting this to get me started on my decision making! :)

    Mrs. Thompson
    Adventures in Teaching (A First Grade Blog)

  2. We did RRJs (reading response journals) for our homework this year and the kids wrote about their reading each night. It was FABULOUS. There was HUGE growth this year for our kids in writing and I could really see if they understood their reading, as opposed to them just filling out a reading log. I loved it!

    I'm in 3rd now, but wish I would have thought of that when I taught 1st and 2nd!!!

    *BUnting, Books, and Bainbridge*

  3. I love this idea! I completely understand your homework issues and have felt the same way. Thank you for sharing!

    Team V's First Grade Fun

  4. I love the idea. Can you please explain your nightly reading bag? THANK YOU!!!

  5. I love the idea. Can you please explain your nightly reading bags? THANK YOU!!!

  6. This is a great idea! We use reading response journals but only on Wednesday. Aside from reading and practicing spelling words nightly we only have "homework" on Monday- Monday Math- a math game that the kids are asked to play with a family member at some time during the week, and Wednesday Writing- where they write in their reading response journal about one book they've read (or a chapter of a book) during the week. Implmenting Daily 5 this year really helped to get my kids engaged more and they are now doing a lot more reading/writing than in the past. It's been great and has made me wonder how I can make that change in other areas too.

  7. I love the idea. Can you please explain your nightly reading ? Thank you

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  9. I am with you on seriously disliking homework. I know they need the practice, but I fell like I need to get them to buy-in to it and realize it's not just busy work or because I hate them, but because I want them to practice on their own...just like they would practice their free throws before a basketball game! I teach middle school math, so there's no getting around it.

    I am a big fan of writing across the curriculum and I think your new plan sounds excellent!

  10. I so understand your extreme dislike for homework. It's a necessary evil...or is it? I wich I could get my kids to buy in and know that it's not busy work or because I dislike them...but because they need to practice on their own...just like they would practice free throws before a basketball game. I teach middle school math, so there's no getting around homework. I just have to find what works and it seems to be different every year until I figure it out.

    I am a big fan of writing across the curriculum and reading is fundamental for every content area. I think your new homework plan looks amazing! Looking forward to hearing how it goes!

  11. Great idea !!!!! Homework is bad .Homework causes stress in many students. Homework is time consuming , and it keeps students up late at night getting the work done. Free Homework Help