Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Great Homework Debate & Saturday Centers!

I enjoyed this week SOOO much because I didn't have a single assessment to complete.  In fact, I can't remember another week this year where I haven't had an assessment to do.  We distributed report cards on Tuesday so really, there was nothing to assess.  YaaaaaaHOO!

Since it was the end of the 2nd marking period, I decided it's time to start providing differentiated leveled homework.  I know differentiated is a huge buzzword in Education these days but let's call a spade a spade.  I have some little kiddos who just aren't catching on as quickly.  And quite honestly, I don't find it "cute" when homework gets turned in and it is obviously completed by the parent.  I mean, c'mon, how dumb do they think we are?!?!?!  Your child spends the entire day with me and can't write their name correctly yet they can go home and magically write a full and complete sentence.......REALLY?

The point of homework in Kindergarten is to provide practice activities.  Our homework is minimal and is an extension of what we do in school. There is always a debate going on about whether or not homework is necessary or even useful.  To a certain extent I think it's both.  I basically have no say in the homework we give.  All of the Kindergarten's give the same exact homework packet.  This is where I disagree.  Not all of my kiddies are where the other classes are and vice-versa.  If I find my students are struggling with a certain skill, I would like to provide an extension activity on that skill.  On the flip side, our homework is benchmark related.  These are the skills the students should be able to complete based on the instruction they receive.  In my opinion, it's a double-edged sword.  You will always have your kiddies that breeze through it and aren't challenged at all, your kids who do "get-it", and the kiddies who just aren't there yet.  So homework is typically only benefiting a third of your class.  That is where I disagree.  But who has the time to create individual homework packets for each of 25 students?!?!?!  Certainly not me, so change will not come completely right now :(

Change will come for 4 of my struggling students.  I decided they are just not getting anything out of the homework I provide for the group.  They still haven't mastered sight words from September and are having a great difficulty with writing.  I decided to get rid of the traditional homework for them and provide printing practice sheets, sight words from the beginning of the year that we are also focusing on in GR, and basic Math printables.  I just finished creating my RTI Math for Kindergarten product which is pictured below.  I am including some of these pages weekly for these struggling kiddos.  Click on the picture to view the product on my TpT page.

This product has 5 pages of activities for each number 1 through 20.  It also includes activities for shapes and patterns as well as an assessment page and recording sheet.  It is designed to help students become secure in identifying each number as well as developing number sense.

Now for Saturday Centers!  In our classroom we are still focusing on those tricky teens to help students who still transpose the numbers.  We are also focusing on addition and ten frames. Here are my Math Centers for the week:

 I made these from a mug template I had.  I simply  inserted
2 tens frames to practice teen numbers.  Students place the correct
number of marshmallows on the "hot chocolate" mug. 

This activity can be found in my Valentine's Day Math Centers packet.
Students choose 1 pink ten frame and 1 purple ten frame to create
and complete an addition problem.  We are on a 6-day center rotation
so this is a carry-over activity from last week.
This is an activity from The Mailbox magazine.  I have wooden
cubes stamped with each coin image. Students roll the coin and
graph the results to see which coin they rolled the most.


This center focuses on building current and former sight
words.  These sight word mats are available for FREE by clicking here :)

We are still working on writing two sentences and adding more details. 
I prefer to allow the kids to use the whiteboards for this activity
instead of going through a ton of paper.  I provide a topic or
they can choose their own.
I created this poster to model 3-Star sentences & adding more
details.  This is the focus of our writing right now.
Hope you can get some ideas from these.  Where do you stand on the homework debate?


  1. I totally hear you on the homework debate. I have a few who their moms are def. doing the work for them. It really frustrates me when I see this happen b/c in my head I wonder what these parents think they are teaching their kids. :( Thanks for sharing your centers. I really like the mugs and addition. Those are both skills that we are really pushing right now!


  2. I agree Erin! These parents are showing their kids it's not important for them to learn it. I still have kids who haven't learned their sight words from the 1st week of school! For one of my students, I made index cards for EVERY sight word so she could work on them at home with mom. She never did and now says she can't find them :( It's so sad! Thanks for your comment :)

  3. Your centers are so adorable! I just LOVE the marshmallow one! I want to implement that one just so we have an excuse to eat a few marshmallows, and because it is so stinking cute. I have been working hard to find new math centers lately and your post has given me some great new ideas. Thank you!

  4. I'm so glad! I really work hard to keep my centers interesting and fun for the kiddies! This was one of my biggest goals for myself this year. I still have a long way to go but I'm enjoying learning what they like and creating new things :)

  5. I agree that your centers look like so much fun! I can only imagine the learning that goes on there! I love, love, love the duck poster detailing the types of sentences. It is such a great visual example of what you are looking for. Excellent work!

    Oh, How Pintearesting!


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