Saturday, November 10, 2012

Long Weekend and Homework Tips!

Hello on this beautiful Saturday, I hope you have some plans to enjoy this lovely long weekend.  I promised a few rapid updates on lots of subjects, so here we go!

At conferences so far, there have been a few parents who have asked me about homework and what homework is or should be coming home.  Here's a quick overview of most of our homework, there can and will always be small changes.  (This information will also be posted on the Homework page here on the blog.)

Reading: Your child should be bringing home a Reading Log every week.  I expect them to read for around 20 minutes a night, and to keep track of that reading on the log.  We will be doing this for our in-class reading soon, too.  When students bring them back to class I check them over, make comments, and then 3-hole punch them so they can put them in their Language Arts Binder to track their reading as the year progresses.  Since it seems to be the same students who are completing these on a regular basis, we are going to start tracking progress in a public space towards reading goals!  This is very exciting!

Your child should also be bringing home a "Word of the Week" half-sheet of paper each week.  We already do an "In-Class Word of the Week" each week, the at-home WotW is a word that your child has found in a book, conversation, sign, commercial... basically anywhere they hear a word they are unsure of.  Look it up, record the definition, and bring it back to school.  These get treated like the Reading Logs and we are going to make a class book out of them!

Spelling: Each week our new words for the week come home on Monday with your child's "Word Preview" showing what they have secured and what they should focus on that week.  On Wednesdays (usually!) there is also a Spelling Sheet that comes home isolating a specific skill that we are working on that week.  This sheet is not due back until Friday.  Some time during the week your child will get the previous week's spelling test back, with missed words circled and then highlighted on a review sheet.  You can practice with this sheet for future spelling checks.

Math: In general, you should get a math Home Link every night.  Some units take longer than one day to complete, and those days you may not get one.  These should be pretty quick to complete and will generally focus on a new concept and some review as well.  If they are causing stress, write me a note and send them back as-is.

Mastering Math Facts we do approximately two times a week.  We do the top half in class, and your child records how long it took and how many they got correct.  They bring the sheet home and try to do it faster than they did in class, getting the same or more number of problems correct.  We have completed up through letter J in addition already, so you should be familiar with these.  They do not come back to school, they are for your own reference/celebration.

Discovery Math comes home every Friday (unless I am not there or sometimes there are short weeks and strange schedules) and is usually on bright orange or yellow paper.  These are not collected until the next week, and get returned a week after that.  Since we don't teach directly to these, I cannot require your child to do them.  However, I will say that at Yarmouth we have noticed a correlation between completing Discovery Math and success in math in general.  These can be difficult, and should not cause too much stress.  If they become too difficult, then only doing part of a Discovery Math is totally acceptable.  Do what you and your child can, don't make it a stress-inducer.  As they are returned, students keep track of progress in their Math Message books, and receive "level" credits every four Discovery Maths they complete.  First four: Discovery Math Apprentice.  Second four: nobody's done it yet!  We'll see soon, I hope!

That summarizes the regular elements of our homework.  If there's something I've forgotten, I'll update it here and on the Homework page.  You will occasionally see additions/changes to this (such as the Sound Maker parade during NECAP testing, and other unit/theme-based activities) but these are the bones of our homework.  I hope this helps you keep track a little, and definitely check in with your child if some of this seems like news to you!

Enjoy the weekend,
Todd

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