Why Homework Is Important
With that in mind, I often look at the homework I assign to my first graders. As each new school year approaches I consider the objective of the assignments and think about if they’re making a positive impact not just in my students learning, but also in my student’s home school relationship with their parents.
To be a successful teacher, I attempt to enable my students with the knowledge and confidence to be successful in their academic and personal lives. Lots of the students I’ve worked with during my 10 years in Metz live in single parent homes with several siblings. Some students had one or both parents live in shelters due to homelessness or were removed from their home situation.
In spite of these shortages, our college still manages to achieve recognized and commended performance levels on Texas state tests. Our staff and pupils work very difficult for their successes. To further contribute to these successes, I always look for innovative ways to deliver quality learning to my students in and out the classroom.
Fortunately, I’ve always had the liberty to select what homework I assign to my students and I attempt to make purposeful and interesting projects throughout the year which will help extend the home school connection.
Home and School Connection:
One of the primaries aims of my homework assignments is to create opportunities for my students to interact with their parents and take the time to find out about what makes themselves and their families particular.
At the start of the year, instead of traditional homework assignments, I focus on the student and their loved ones. Two of the first special at home actions I delegate comprise the Family Page Project to show during Back-to-School Night and the Baby Name Job .The Family Page Project is a superb way to learn about your student’s families.
The instruction letter is full of ideas that families can use to decorate their page, but they are invited to complete it any way they like. It’s awesome how creative my families have been with these endeavors. In my third year of instruction, one of my pupils, Julissa, glued magazine images of people, but added her own family’s heads.
It was funny appearing, and revealed that her family had an excellent sense of humor. This year, my pupil Alex and his family worked together to make a remarkable family book. Another one of my pupils, Nathan, attracted homes for all his extended relatives and glued into the faces of the dozen of cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents.
I give the pupils time to present their family page in class. The things they discuss could be quite insightful, funny and touching.
He had a great deal to talk about what he used to perform with his uncle and it was evident that he missed him very much.
A former pupil, Lily, attached photos from a visit to Bolivia to see her dad’s family and this resulted in an impromptu lesson on South America. This year when Kerina revealed the picture of her mother she shared that her mum will have a baby “but she is not prepared to take it outside yet!”
I display these jobs in the school hallway so everyone who attends Back-to-School Night can appreciate them. Over the years it has grown in success and families that aren’t even in my class come by to see the screen. Two of my colleagues have started to do this project also, with the exact same enjoyment and success.
One of my other favorite family assignments is the Baby Name Job. This project gives parents the chance to share with their child the source of the title and information about the day they were born. I need to credit my own mother with inspiring this project.
I kept up the tradition with my son, Ian and I really like preparing the prospect for my student’s parents to do the same.
You would be surprised by how many children don’t have any clue how their name was selected or what happened on the day that they were born. I enjoy hearing students tell their stories and I use their parent’s written account to help them share more information with this course. The accompanying infant photos are always a big hit!
Obviously, I bring a photograph of myself as a kid and as a first grader so my students can hear my story and see what I looked like when I was their age.
What about Conventional Daily Assignments?
Research has consistently shown that parental involvement in a child’s learning is an integral element in that child’s success in school.
With the reality of this evaluation driven world of education, many parents anticipate what they have been given in school for assignments, comfortable daily or weekly assignments.
- Homework prepares students for upcoming class subjects.
- Homework teaches pupils to work independently and create self-discipline.
- Homework encourages pupils to take responsibility and initiative for completing a job.
- Homework enables parents to have an active part in their child’s education and allows them to evaluate their child’s progress.
- Homework activities relate what is learned in school to children’s lives outside school and helps to connect school learning into the real world.
But I feel these daily homework assignments should be diverse and purposeful, not necessarily rote practice work.
To promote real writing for homework assignments; I use a class mascot, his sleepover bag and a diary for students to write about the mascot’s trip to their dwelling. I send home the classroom digital camera so students can picture their home, family members, special events and holidays. We publish their photographs on the keyboard and use them to encourage their writing. We also write poems, lists, headlines, photo captions, book reviews and much more.
To fortify practice with their word wall words, students learn how to rainbow compose, triangle write, joyful face write, staircase compose, box it write and type their word wall words by number of letters, syllables, and vowels. I’ve included a Spelling Ideas printable with illustrations of each these ideas and much more so you can use it with your students.
To practice math skills and problem solving I send home math games with my students to play with siblings or parents. I assign homework that could easily be modified based on the pupils’ level of comprehension.
Students are permitted to borrow a board game from my classroom set to take home for the weekend. These matches include a memory match in the National Museum of Art, Boggle, and Clue for Kids, Scrabble for Kids and much more.
Students never understand they are learning about art, counting, problem solving, reading and following directions while they are having fun.
Most importantly I need my first grade students to be reading each and every night to increase their word recognition, comprehension, fluency and word attack skills.
I’m thankful that our college has a fantastic guided reading book library which just about all teachers in Metz use on a daily basis. Students read the exact books during independent reading time in class, so that they get additional literacy support with these exact books just if an adult can’t support their reading at home.
Even if your school does not have a literacy library of leveled books, you can use reading textbooks exactly the exact same way, search the Internet for web sites that carry professionally designed leveled readers which you can download and print for student use like Learning A-Z, or buy one of the exceptional guided reading applications from Scholastic.
If you’re short on funding to buy a program check out local instructor grants locally or join on Donors Choose or Adopt a Classroom. Homework is an important time to create connections and reflect; yourself, family, friends, new or familiar advice, and the world outside.
What you present to your students will choose the heights that they will climb to continue to keep their academic success. “What’s more important, quality or quantity?” Homework ought to be fun and filled with discovery, not just your students, but for you also!