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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Giveaway Time!

Things were looking shaky for a while there, but we did it! Go Broncos! That's good news for us, and good news for you! Below is the link for the Rafflecopter giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday is always an important day here in the Mile High City... it's game day! If the Broncos win tonight, you win! Up for grabs are some Broncos car magnets and a $25 dollar Teachers Pay Teachers gift card, just in time for the big sale Monday and Tuesday. =) Stay posted for the Rafflecopter link if our Broncos win!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Homework Made Easy

I had been pondering for years the ideal way of doing homework, and my move to a new school this year and a new grade level prompted me to finally take the plunge and make a big change.

Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all worksheets for homework! Gone are the days of endless hours of grading! Gone are the days of families struggling to balance nightly homework with busy schedules.

I dreamed up the idea of a homework menu while thinking of new ways to give my students academic choice. Where was the choice in the worksheets I was sending home? Where was the personalization? And as a mother to my own two children, why create an additional unnecessary stressor on busy families that already struggle to simply eat and bathe each night?

Of course, your administration might have requirements for homework, but I'm lucky in that my administration realizes that required nightly homework is for the most part unnecessary in the primary grades, and they allow us flexibility in how we deliver homework. Our little first grade babies have already worked for hours upon hours all day at school, it's just not developmentally appropriate to expect them to continue that pattern at home.

My answer- a monthly homework menu! A list of choices and options that children and their families can choose from, and can also choose when the tasks are completed.

We change and update the tasks at the beginning of each month, and have students turn in their signed menus at the end of the month (with any paper tasks stapled to it). We grade for effort and responsibility, because in first grade that is the bulk of what we are trying to establish.

A key component to our homework menu is the “other” section, where we encourage families to enter valuable learning they do on their own (reading about animals at the zoo, discussion of a mountain habitat on a family hike, etc.).

Of course there are always people who are hesitant to try something a little outside the box, but by and large we have had rave reviews from our families about the homework menu.

Head on over to the store to pick up my FREE Editable Homework Menu (click below)! =) And if you give it a try, please sound off in the comments, I'd love to hear how it goes for you!