Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Turkey Trouble Freebie

Fall is my absolute FAVORITE season! I love teaching young children as they observe the seasonal changes and look with eager anticipation to the holidays. Fall has become the season to give heartfelt THANKS, cherish time with friends and family, and for many… EAT TURKEY!

I’m sure that everyone is aware of Wendi Silvano’s book, “Turkey Trouble”… right? If not, order it today! Children of all ages love this story of a turkey’s attempt to disguise himself so as to NOT be Thanksgiving dinner. As my little ones like to say, “Mrs. Kane, this book is hilarious!” 

In the spirit of the season, I wanted to share with you a follow-up activity to the book. The children disguise their own turkeys and write clues so that their classmates must use critical thinking skills to guess the disguises. It is a fabulous activity and it makes an adorable Bulletin Board too. The directions and the patterns are free at my TPT store. 
Last year, I shared a Thanksgiving Day Card that I have sent home to parents for many years. There is NOT a single parent that didn’t LOVE receiving this card from their precious little one. It is treasured for many years to come. I wanted to share it with you again this year. You may read about it on my blog: A Season of Thanks. The freebie may be downloaded from my TPT store.
I want to share my LOVE of children and teaching with other educators. If I make a difference for even one teacher, I will have succeeded. Wishing you all a wonderful Fall Season!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

November Homework

Do you feel that you spend too much time attempting to find just the right homework for your young students? I do! Each month I seek to find the BEST homework to send home and it’s not an easy task! I want the work to be meaningful as well as review the class lessons.

I’ve found a variety of homework papers that focus on phonic skills or letter recognition, but my Daily ABC Program teaches these skills explicitly in class already. I want my students to actually practice READING at home under the supervision of an adult. I’d also like a little printing, coloring, and number practice to be included as well.

Last month, I created October Homework for Early Readers and it was very successful. Students practiced reading and printed words and sentences. That’s not to say that every page was perfect! For some students the reading was slightly too easy, and for others it was a bit too difficult. However, each page is intended to be completed with the help of an adult. Parents are asked to read to the children, listen to the children reading, and encourage BEST work. Some pages include discussions on various topics, such as nocturnal animals, and other pages have "FUN FACTS" for parent and child to read and discuss together. There is a place for a parent signature on every page.
Please do NOT believe that all my precious little ones have nightly support at home, because I don’t think any teacher is lucky enough to have 100%. Once the homework is returned it’s easy to discern if the paper was done solely by the child or if an adult contributed too. Is this fair to all my kids? Do the kids that have supportive parents gain a huge advantage?

Obviously, that’s a rhetorical question! Children with supportive parents that work nightly on reading and math skills obviously boost reading and math progress… and that’s wonderful! We WANT parents to assist with literacy and math development for their children. But what about the students that do NOT receive support?  What can we do to level the playing field and give every child the needed support that they deserve?

After sending home the homework and looking at the results, I may surmise that ten to twenty percent of my kids are not being supervised as they do their homework.  With 30 kids, this means I need to provide extra guidance to three to six students. Phew! Three to six students seems more reasonable than thirty! I may group these students just to give them an extra start on the homework during school time or I may even have them complete all the homework in class.  Of course, it depends on the child and the home situation.
October’s homework covered an array of topics: bats, owls, pumpkins, fall colors, and more. November’s homework touches on Thanksgiving, the Mayflower, Pilgrims, Indians, Veteran’s Day, scarecrows, hibernation, and nocturnal animals. You can take a peek at the entire set in my preview at:

What do you do for homework? Do you have resources that you think are fabulous? I’d love to hear what you think!