Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Star Homework & Freebie!

I am not a fan of homework.  My dislike has nothing do with whether or not it is beneficial...it basically comes down to management.  Coming up with assignments for 3 grade levels each night, copying the work, getting the assignments written in an agenda, all just to have maybe 1 student do it.  Then what?  Do I go over it when nobody did it?  Should I punish the kids who didn't do it or just reward the few who did?  Who has time for all that?!
*As a side note, my students generally come from lower socio-economic families and all of them have learning difficulties...you probably have a higher homework completion rate. 

Because of all this, I stopped sending homework home.  Do you know what happened?
PARENTS COMPLAINED!
I so wanted to send home the piles of blank homework from all of those kids with a note saying: 
"When you finish all the work you DIDN'T do so far, I'll start giving homework again."
But I didn't.

I came up with a system that works for me, the kids, and the parents.  It's super easy!
Homework is the same 3 things each night:
1. Journal Writing
2. Read for 20 minutes
3. Math activity

Each week they get a new bookmark in their folders
I had these printed, cut, and bound with that sticky stuff at the top so I can peel off each book mark (like a notepad).  I asked parents to initial next to each colored star to hold everyone accountable. 

Each month, I put the new journal in their take home folders.
I use these journals from Miss Kindergarten.  I like the list of monthly words at the beginning of each journal.

At the beginning of the year, the kids and I made math bags full of games I found for free on TPT.  We made dice, I had everything laminated and it took forever.  Then kids moved, new kids moved in and more than half the class lost their games in about 2 weeks.  Nobody every did the math games!  This year I am using these for the math activity: 
They are from Teachers Clubhouse.  I'm just waiting on the 3rd grade set and I'll have one for each grade level :) If someone loses these, it's easy enough to make up more.  I am going to add these to my math stations as well so the kids know how to play the games.  I also use reflex math in the classroom so that is always another option.  I will probably make up a card of math game websites to add to their game rings.

I made these posters to encourage kids to do their work.  We colored in a star for every star of homework the class did.  I'm going to be honest...I only used this the first 2 weeks of school.  Nobody was doing the work so I just stopped.



Why I love this: 
Easy prep...I can print everything over the summer and just add a new journal to the folders each month.  The parents who want to work with their children can but it's no pressure for the parents who just can't fight their children every night to do more work.  I don't have to check anything but journals occasionally so it doesn't waste my class time!

You can grab my posters and book marks here for free!

How do you feel about homework?  What does it look like in your room?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

I'm still here!!

What a year!  I've taken a big break from blogging for a lot of personal reasons.  I usually stick to just school topics but I wanted to share a few things.  First, I got married!  Dave and I have been together 10 years this July and we've been engaged for 6 years...yup 6 years!  We are not center of attention people and we are terrible dancers...traditional weddings were not for us!  We ended up doing a small wedding with about 17 people and went to dinner after in a private room in a nice restaurant.  It was no stress and perfect for us!  I would have pictures to post but my photographer/best friends computer was destroyed when lightning struck his house so I have to wait until he gets the computer fixed and re-edits all the pictures.

The next big news is we are having a baby!!  
(11 weeks)

It has been a rough road.  I got pregnant in February and miscarried in March.  We accidentally got pregnant again in April.  My hormone levels were very low and the doctor didn't think the baby would make it.  I started taking Progesterone pills twice a day and my levels went up.  To check your levels, you have to do blood work every 48 hours...it is extremely stressful waiting to see if my numbers were doubling.  Then I started getting all the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy so I had an emergency ultrasound.  They could see the gestational sac so all was good.  THEN I started bleeding which is terrifying for anyone but especially someone who just had a miscarriage.  I went in for another emergency ultrasound.  They found Subchorionic Hematomas...a fancy word for clots of blood in your uterus.  The clots can move up and separate the placenta from the wall causing miscarriage so I was told I could go to work and come home to lay down.  During all of this, I couldn't even begin to think about blogging!  I had my first regular appointment the day after school ended and we saw the baby flipping around and the blood clots are gone!  So hopefully I'm in the clear now and I can stop worrying all the time....well that last part isn't true, I'll always worry.

This has been my motto for the last few months.

Thankfully, now that I am less worried about the baby, I am starting to think about school and blogging again!  I can't wait to start sharing about some of my experiences over the last year!  Stay tuned :)