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Homework in Kinder
Old 02-21-2018, 09:54 PM
 
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Hi PT-ers,

I am a new-ish teacher, currently in my first year teaching kindergarten. In my little corner of the world we're only up our fifth week of school.

I have decided not to assign formal homework as I don't believe it is developmentally appropriate for these little ones. I send home a weekly newsletter though, and do include one idea for optional extra practice each week e.g. this week it was practicing writing numbers in shaving cream or sand.

However, a bunch of parents have asked me about homework so I've decided to address the topic with a note to go home to all their families. I'd appreciate some feedback from other teachers on what I've written so far, as it is a bit of a hot topic at my school and I don't want to offend anyone.....including other teachers! Here is what I have so far:

"
Formal homework (other than reading) is not assigned in kindergarten. Children in this age group learn best by playing, exploring, and being engaged in real-life activities e.g. chores, gardening, baking, and family conversations. Reading with and to your child is also a powerful way to enhance your child’s academic ability. Reading helps to build their comprehension, general knowledge, social and emotional skills, and familiarity with language conventions.

I encourage you to ask your child thought-provoking questions whilst reading books or watching movies.
Questions like:
Why did that character do that?
What would you do differently?
What do you think is going to happen next? Why?
What was your favourite part of this story? Why?
Did you like the ending?
Who is your favourite character in this story? Why?
Lots of ‘why’ and ‘what if’ questions. J

In term 2, I will begin sending readers home so that your child can practice reading aloud to you. I will send home some extra information about this closer to that time.
If however you are still keen for your child to have extra practice reinforcing skills at home, please don’t hesitate to speak with me.

Kind regards,
Me. "

Thoughts?


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Old 02-22-2018, 02:21 AM
 
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I think it's great. I am definitely bookmarking this. The only change I would make personally is redirecting them to practice activities as opposed to speaking to you.

I teach first. The only homework I assign is nightly reading and a monthly book talk that they present to the class. On my homework page towards the bottom is an "extra credit" section which includes links to word lists on Spelling City, a link to math fact practice through xtramath.org, and also a link to game site connected to our math program. Parents know to use those sources if they want to do more at home. If you want non computer options, there are monthly calendars that can be found online that include an activity for each day of the week to try at home. You could send that home or post online as an extra activity as well.
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Old 02-22-2018, 05:35 AM
 
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Are you the only K teacher at your school? We felt it important all K teachers at my school be on the same page regarding HW because parents talk and compare.
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Old 02-22-2018, 11:48 AM
 
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I completely agree with you and think your letter is great (although I'd just leave out the last bit about seeing you if they want homework - just shut that door).

Quote:
Are you the only K teacher at your school? We felt it important all K teachers at my school be on the same page regarding HW because parents talk and compare.
This is important for my team as well, which is why I send homework even though I don't believe in it. I just tell the parents it's optional and I don't ever want to see anything turned in.
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I agree with you
Old 02-22-2018, 04:35 PM
 
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that homework is not needed in K. However, you do want to keep parents happy as well.

From my experience this is what I think your students would benefit from the most. I have raised two sons of my own and taught PK through HS. I am now retired. I am no developmental expert but I have a lot of experience with children of different ages.

Make reading a daily experience in your home.

Give your child a note to read from you each day.(by toothbrush, breakfast plate, lunchbox......)

Read to your child everyday. Discuss what you read.

Have a bookshelf in your child's room and add books as you can.

Listen to your child read each day. Discuss.

Go to the library together at least every other week to check out books. Also take advantage of other offerings your library has to offer.

Keep books in the car for reading.

Keep books in the bathroom for reading.

Have a magazine subscription for your child to read.

Buy your child books for gifts.

Read outdoors. In the treehouse? In the tree? On a hike during a rest? At the park while you snack?

Cook easy recipes with your child. Allow them to read and do some math. Cut the recipe in half. Cook a double recipe.

Share the newspaper with your child. Cartoons at this age probably.

Have them read street signs and billboards.

Show them how to read the map when you visit an amusement park or zoo.

Have them help you with the GPS.

Write letter to grandparents. Read letters from grandparents.

Play board games together. This is reading and math, plus so much more.

Have them read labels while grocery shopping and find items for you.

Show them how you compare prices at the grocery store.

Share weekly grocery ads with them and have them help you plan a healthy affordable meal.

Give your child cash to pay for small items. Help them count the change. They also need to learn the names of the coins or bills.

Play store and use real money. Make change. Model for them until they can do this for themselves.

Point out the time on the clock. This is especially true for on the hour and half hour. Warn that in 10 minutes or fifteen minutes you will be leaving or whatever. Set the timer so they learn how long 5, 10 or 15 minutes is.

Buy a book with children's crafts to do. Paper crafts will be the least expensive. Make sure it is written well and is easy to understand. Then each week allow your child to make something. Challenge them to read and do as much as they can independently. They are learning to read and follow directions. They will use this skill the rest of their life. What could be better? They will be so proud of themselves when they complete the task. This is a great self esteem builder.

Teach them to build and make things. Teach them the names of tools they use. (dog house, bird house, bird feeder, throw pillow, apron, pot holder....)This is a great time to teach them some measuring skills to make sure the item is the right size.

Have them help measure for new curtains, rugs, carpet, to frame something....

Give your child the task of cutting out coupons or cartoons from the newspaper. This builds fine motor skills.

Buy your child mazes to solve with a pencil. This also build fine motor skills.

If your child is motivated by music share lyrics with them and sing songs together.

Write scavenger hunts for them to do in their home for small rewards. Could be ice cream in the freezer, a small stuffed animal under the covers in their bed or something under the couch cushion. They won't even realize they are practicing their reading. They will just be having fun.

When clothes shopping have them find the correct size, read the price tags and compare prices.

Doing puzzles is good for kids. Start with a small amount of pieces and work toward larger ones. Puzzle build spatial reasoning and also patience. Sometimes reaching a goal takes time.

Parents are the first teachers for their children. Sometimes they just get so busy they forget to capitalize on these opportunities with their children. But a reminder from their kindergarten teacher will do the trick for many of them.



Last edited by 1956BD; 02-22-2018 at 05:20 PM..
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Hw
Old 02-22-2018, 08:27 PM
 
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Quote:
my homework page towards the bottom is an "extra credit" section which includes links to word lists on Spelling City, a link to math fact practice through xtramath.org, and also a link to game site connected to our math program. Parents know to use those sources if they want to do more at home.
I love this idea thank you! I had been thinking of making the kids accounts with Studyladder.com, so I think I'll use that.
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HW ideas
Old 02-22-2018, 08:27 PM
 
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1965BD, your ideas are great. I'll definitely be incorporating some. Thank you!
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Hw
Old 02-22-2018, 08:29 PM
 
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Quote:
Are you the only K teacher at your school? We felt it important all K teachers at my school be on the same page regarding HW because parents talk and compare.
One other K teacher, and yes he's doing the same thing I am. Both classes will begin the home reading program next term.
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Good Luck!
Old 02-22-2018, 08:53 PM
 
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Let us know how it works.
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Old 02-23-2018, 03:31 PM
 
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I'd firmly slam the door on the idea of them asking you again if they really want homework, because they will, and you'll be right back where you are now. Don't make it an option. Otherwise, it's very similar to what we do.

I hate homework anywhere in primary school, and only assign it when it's required. We'd abandoned it at my last school, and I find I am resenting the time it takes at my new school, especially seeing most of the kids actually do it!


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