Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Kindergarten Homework Journals

It's hard to believe that we are beginning the second quarter of the school year! I typically love this time of the year with my Kindergarten crew! Those first couple of months can be exciting yet grueling for Kindergarten teachers. The upside is that by this time of the year the little darlings have finally adjusted to being in big kid school and are really ready to absorb as much as they can from us and bloom!

Now is also the time that Kindergarten teachers have a much clearer picture of which kiddos need extra help and who is ready to really take off with their reading, writing and math activities.  I am not a believer in loading kinder kids with loads and loads of homework each night. I have however found a homework routine that has worked for me for several years though!  This routine not only seems to help my struggling learners by reinforcing what we are working on in school.....but also allows my shining stars a chance to work on enrichment activities at home.


In August I posted about parent communication journals.  I've used some form of these journals many times over the last few years. Our school also uses student planners and I've been trying these out as well for the past two years.   Last year I only had my kids complete the student planners and I really missed having my students complete their homework/communication journals.  It just seemed as if the connection between what we working on at school was not transferring back to the parents despite the fact I sent weekly newsletters informing them of what we were working on.

Sooooo..........

This year I decided to try both. So far so good!

In our student planners I mark behavior for each day and the kids complete the focus letter activities for that week.  It's pretty repetitive so the kids typically have no problems at all completing the handwriting and activities for the focus letter each week. If I have any quick notes for parents I can include this where I mark their child's behavior for the day.

For the homework journals I actually change the activities each quarter.  We start out very simple for the first quarter. It takes us several weeks just to get into the routine of completing and turning in homework!

Now that we are "big kids" we are ready for some more challenging work.  Here is an example of what I place on the front of the journal for second quarter......


Obviously it's nothing fancy but it holds up for the entire quarter! It also helps to just put it on the front of the journal...then there is never a question about what they need to work on for homework.

Here is how our routine works:
  *  Planners are sent home daily and sometime during the week the children are expected to complete the activity for that section.

 *  Homework journals are sent home on Tuesdays.
 *  The kids just have to complete two options.
 *  Options can be repeated throughout the quarter.
 *  The homework journals need to be returned by Friday of each week.  I have several parents with work schedules/times that vary each week. This gives them some flexibility in deciding which nights they would like to help their child with their homework.

The above pic is a bit blurry but you can get the idea of the types of activities that I'm asking the children to complete.  The first section includes activities which focus on using a book....either a leveled reader they brought home or even a book they already have.  The second section includes activities that do not require a book like writing numbers and shapes.

The second section also includes practicing SELF HELP SKILLS!!! By including items like practicing tying shoes and zipping coats in our homework routine I have seen such an overall improvement in how quickly my students learn to complete these skills independently!!! Yay!!!!

I also love it when my parents leave me a comment in the journals about how their child read to them or various other notes about the activities they worked on!   Later in the year when my guided reading groups and math groups are really in full swing I also try to include notes to the parents about how their child did in small group activities for the week.


As we dive deeper into this second quarter of the school year I'm really looking forward to watching my little smarties become excited about all of the fun learning activities that take place during this time of the year.  What an exciting time to be in a Kindergarten classroom! I hope you have an exciting week rest of your week!
                                                                                                                        Mrs. M

3 comments:

  1. Why can't we see the pics of the journal letter? I really love this idea! Hoping to use one for the second half of the year. Would like to see the pics so I can get an idea of some of the homework activities.
    Thanks! Lynne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lynne,
      Somehow pictures on my picasa album were deleted and therefore deleted on my blog as well. However, I've been re-linking them one by one starting with the most recent posts. I'm going to begin re-linking the most viewed posts next. Anyhow, I just re-linked the photos for the homework journals for you. I'll be posting more on these again in January when we begin our 3rd quarter homework options. Thanks for reading the blog!
      Bobbie

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  2. Oh great Bobbie! Thanks so much. I am not a big homework person, but thought this had just the right balance for kindergarten. I am going to try it with the start of the new year and let you know how it goes. Thanks again for re-doing the pics! Love your blog!
    Lynne

    ReplyDelete

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