Homework *UPDATED*

My first graders get homework each week. I do a weekly homework packet, though I don't really know why. I guess it's easier and more convenient for me to do a once a week thing rather than an everyday thing.

I want to revamp my homework as well. In years past, I would copy everything for my kids that I wanted to be done. Write your words 3 times each - copied. Put them in ABC order - copied. You get the idea. It was taking way too much paper - paper we didn't have anymore thanks to budget cuts. So, I decided to do a homework menu (which I don't love...need some help people!). For each day, there were 3-4 activities that the kids can choose to do. One day was spelling words, one day was writing, one day was math and one day was reading. I attached blank paper to it and sent it on its way. Then I started noticing that the kids were bombing their spelling tests because they didn't practice enough with their spelling. I made up a new homework menu that just listed all the things they needed to do during the week. But, I don't love it. I need something that will get them practicing their spelling and vocabulary, but something that isn't boring and monotonous. Math pages go home each week from our math program, so that's taken care of and I send home books nightly for nightly reading, so that's taken care of. It's just the spelling/vocabulary that I am lost on. Any suggestions? I will take them all!
On another note with homework, each year, I slave away over vacation making homework folders. Ok, I don't work that hard, but it's still time consuming. I'm going to start today and see how many I can make! I use the large legal size file folders. I put on my homework guidelines, some sticky charts from Dollar Tree and then add some cute monkey name tags and stickers. I will laminate them when I get back to school. It bums me out when kids ruin them within the first weeks of school since I did spend so much time on them. The kids don't care and the parents don't care. But the parents do expect me to give their child another one, which I would like to answer with "WTH? Are you freakin' insane?" But I normally just tell them they get one a year and if they want to send in a folder for their child they can, but it won't be coming from me. Most of the time, they don't being in another folder, nor do they return the homework often because they lose it. Oh well, it wouldn't be teaching if all the kids had their homework like little angels and did what they were supposed to do, would it?

I made my folders today. While they aren't anything fabulous, they work for me. Besides the coloring on the sheet on the top left, they took about 2 hours to cut the papers out (by hand). I watched UP with my daughter doing them, so it wasn't that bad!


  1. Here I am reading your blog with my morning coffee! Bear with me as I teach middle school, and my suggestions may not work with 1st graders. Can the kids do illustrated dictionaries? Word, correct spelling, definition, picture, words that sounds like it, and the word used in a sentence, etc?

    What about practicing with reading by finding the word in anything they run across like a magazine or something?

    Cutting up magazines to spell letters to make it colorful?

    Have the kids create their own game (they will have the idea, but will need your help), bring in scrabble pieces or student created bulletin boards where kids can decorate with your vocabulary?

    Incentives or homework for finding these words in real world applications? Again, Bear with me as I teach middle school.

  2. I can things like this. I know the magazine idea won't work as most kids don't have magazines at home and I so don't want to provide magazines for the kids to take home. For some parents, if the kid can't do it all by themselves, it doesn't get done at all! :( Thanks!