Tuesday, September 6, 2011

This is How We Do It: Homework!

Raise your hand if Montel Jordan immediately began singing in your head when you read that title.  Me, me, me!  I used to rock out on the stair stepper to that very song on my fav Jock Jams CD circa 1998.  And I could totally *still* bust out a verse or two.  Ha!  {The party’s here on the Westsiiiide! I couldn’t help myself.}

So, I hope not to bore you to tears with the way we do homework around these parts, but I figured that it could be helpful to new teachers or those mandated to enforce homework packets in their buildings. 

Brace yourself, it’s detailed…

I have done homework as a packet since I taught kindergarten, and find it to be a great tool to connect school and home, and keep everyone organized.  In K, I didn’t start homework until after Christmas.  With my firsties, however, we start the week after we’ve had our first full week of school.  I find that this allows me, my kids, and their parents adequate time to get the hang of our daily routine before I start sending it. 

The packet goes home every Monday and expect it back to school on Friday morning.  The front page lists the assignments for each day, Monday – Thursday.  No homework over the weekend, of course :) 

Each night lists nightly activities for math, spelling, and reading.  I also include our spelling list right on the front.  The math and reading homework changes as we progress through the curriculum, while the spelling activities stay the same (the words obviously change each week).  Besides having to bring home their reading anthology (Treasures) each night, all other assignments are expected to be completed within the packet pages.  The whole packet is double-sided, stapled and hole-punched, so students can slide it right into their binder and keep it there throughout the week.  This prevents squishing/ripping and lost homework, of course. 


The second page is a word list that students are expected to read to their parent(s) each night along with their reading anthology story.  Becoming familiar with spelling patterns and sounds helps build word automaticity, thereby assisting in fluency.  This list is also used during the weekly assessment that I complete with each student during the week.


The next two pages (double-sided) are where students complete their spelling homework. 

Monday – Write words 3x

Tuesday – Spell words aloud to an adult

Wednesday – Write a story or sentences using at least 5 spelling words (that’s what the lined paper you see below is for)

Thursday – Complete a practice spelling test


The pages that remain support our math curriculum (Math in Focus) and are considered “Extra Practice” to go along with whatever we’re learning in the classroom. 

If you’d like to see a PDF of this document (not editable), click HERE

If you’d like to use this document and edit it to suit your needs, click HERE where it is free on TpT.  Please note that the font I used is CK Handprint (free for download HERE) and I made the document in Word 2010, so it is a .docx.  Thus, it may download/appear differently depending on the version of Word that you own.  

{Sidenote: photographing worksheets is just plain booooring! Sorry I couldn’t make this more exciting!} 

Let me know if you have any questions :)


Mrs. Lochel said...

My hand is raised and I'm still singing!! Thanks for sharing!

Rachel said...

Wow! I love all the writing you have your kiddos do! And yes, I now have that song stuck in my head. Thanks for that one! :o)

Jess said...

This is how we do it it's Friday nightttt. Memories...thanks for that one! I like the homework packet idea...nightly homework is getting to me. I'll have to think about it more because I like to see there are doing something each night. Some teachers on my team do this though so we'll see how it continues to work and maybe I'll make the switch at Open House and explain to parents. Thanks!
Rambling About Reading

Miss J said...

Abbey thank you so much!!

~Miss J

Smiles, Crayons, and Endless Stories

S. Parker said...

I do homework almost exactly the same. I give it out on Friday and kids return it the following Friday. This gives families a little more time to spend on the homework; many work several jobs. I get a lot less incomplete assignments this way.

I also love that I do not have to look at homework on a daily basis!


Mrs. Scoma said...

Love this post :) We started a packet-type homework this year after realizing that kindergarten does this, so our first grade parents *should* be used to it! But... we have gotten SO MANY COMPLAINTS! They say having nightly homework is too much, and they'd rather us send it home over the weekend instead! We do it like you guys - save the weekends for family fun. Have you come across this? If so, how do you handle it?

Thanks in advance for any advice!


Booky4First said...

Thanks for sharing! I use Treasures and never thought about sending a fluency list home. :(
Do you choose words from the fluency chart?
I foresee using these forms!

Julie said...

Hand Raised...and this has nothing to do with teaching, but I"m pretty sure I have the exact same countertop in my kitchen! :) Like your homework sheets! Good idea!

Kim said...

I don't know how you do it all but I love you for it! Do you watch Project Runway? There's a girl on it that totally looks like you. You know, based on what you look like in your little picture!! (I think her name's Lauren and she's adorable by the way.)

Sha'Wakanee said...

That song will remain in my head all night! :-) Thanks for the wonderful resource.
Sha'Wakanee Willis

Team Carroll said...

Bahahaha!! That's EXACTLY what I was singing when the title popped up in my Google Reader :) LOVE IT!!! And LOVE all this homework stuff!! Thank you!!

Cara :)

California Wife said...

This will be my second year that I've done homework completely as a packet! I absolutely love doing it this way, and my packet is very similar to yours. Parents love it too!

Renée Louise said...

You rock! I'm a second year teacher trying to revamp some things- HW being one of them. I might give this a go! Thank you so much for all that you do.

apricot21 said...

I love the weekly packet. When I was a group leader for Afternoon Fun one of the teachers did this, and I loved the idea. The kids could complete everything on Monday, or take a few days to get things done (it was mostly worksheets and they had a spelling tablet). I also thought it helped parents keep track of what their children needed to do since it was all in one place. The school I teach at now, however, switches for math so it would be pretty much impossible to do this type of thing, unless everyone was on board. A girl can wish I guess... :-) Saving this for the future, though.

Kerri said...

My hand is definitely raised and that song might be stuck in my head. Thanks for sharing. That's how I do homework in First grade but for some reason never thought to hole punch so thanks for that thought!

Miss J said...

Abbey~ I added your blog to my Top Ten post!
Go here to pick up your reward button

Your always have great idea!! Thanks for sharing.

~Miss J
Smiles, Crayons, and Endless Stories

Rachelle said...

Hey Miss Abby! :) Do you know the TOU for CK Handprint? I love that font a lot, but I can't find the TOUs for it! I found it on another website, but I don't know where the original is at!

Love your homework and no I didn't think it was boring. You did start it off with one of my all time favorite songs!

Miss Griffin said...

I do homework the same way, minus taking home treasures. I'm not sure my books would make it back and with them being brand new last year, that would be a problem! Thanks for sharing!


Fantastic First

Abby S said...

Hey Abby!

I love both of your blogs! I was introduced through Lindsey Perkins and have been addicted since. You have such wonderful ideas for teaching but was wondering if you knew of any great middle school blogs. I teach 6th grade and am always looking for new ideas :)

Thanks for sharing all of your ideas. Your kiddos are lucky to have you!

angie said...

I am going to try this. Thanks so much!

Lory said...

Bahahaha! I'll be dreaming about the song all night... that was a era ;)
Thanks for the great ideas!!
Lory's Page

According to Ashley said...

That song came out when I was in 5th grade, I think....and I used to giggle every time it came on because it said "do it". Hahahaha! Ohhh to be young again.

Jen Mulloy said...

Thanks so much for sharing! I do something similar and would love to incorporate some of your ideas.

Side note: I send my packets home Friday and they're due the next Friday. I don't expect homework to be done over the weekend, but I've had a lot of working parents tell me they appreciate having the option to do it on the weekend. After a long day for everyone, they usually just want snuggle time with their kiddos during the week.

Pam said...

Thank you for all your work and the willingness to share it! You are an amazing teacher and a wonderful blog-world friend!
I was wondering if you'd be willing to add a "Follow Me by Email" button to your site so that I could be notified whenever you post??
Thanks for considering it~~

Jaymee Laymance said...


Love it! Just downloaded and tweeked it for my school!
Thanks so much!


Donna said...

First I have to say that I love your blog and check it daily! I also use homework packets, they sure make life easier. Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas!

Anonymous said...

I'm suprised you use anthologies with your kiddos and not leveled readers. Great ideas though.

Kelli Rye said...

Thanks for sharing all of your amazingness with us!!
I was curious if you may have some ideas for Open House coming up? I have mine on September 20th and I was hoping to get some creative juices flowing from ideas you may have! :)

Abby said...

@ Anony...

I use the leveled readers during RTI/small group work/book boxes, and since the anthologies are more durable they're better for sending home :)

Little Lilly Polka Dot Bedtime Blog said...

Hi! Thanks so much for the great blog!! I wanted to let you know that TEACHERSFIRST.com recommended that my fun interactive website be used in the K-1 classroom. I do hope you get a chance to try it out!!www.littlelillypolkadot.com



Mrs. Slyter said...

Yep... I remember that song! :) Thank you for the homework inspiration! :)

California Wife said...

I'm doing Cara's Calendar/Number of the Day with my second graders to start the year, and I can't tell you what a great review it has been for them!

Brittany said...

I've started using homework packets this year too, and I'm loving it! Thanks for sharing your great packet ideas!
A Day in First Grade

cc said...

Thanks so very much!

Mrs. Wright said...

THIS IS HOW WE DO IT :), I love it although I have been teaching for yrs (intermediate) I am new to first, and my process is a mess, I am spending most of my prescious prep time taking and stuffing folders daily. Thank You for sharing. I am new to the blog world, and I am loving it. http://firstgradejournal.blogspot.com/
I will start this on Monday :)

Mrs. Silva said...

Oh my gosh, I am so happy I found this! Your spelling homework ideas are great! I am thinking about using it for my classroom. Thank you so much for sharing and for making a editable word document!!

Salazar C. said...

Thanks a bunch for sharing! I'm a first time teacher, so this will help me dramatically!