Saturday, February 25, 2012

additional support for homework journals.

Instead of a long weekend for President's day we had 2 days of Common Core training.  {yippie.}  But we did get to work in our rooms and I took advantage of the afternoon to clean out and oRgaNize.  Which, for me, means actually filing the stacks of paper on top of my filing cabinets.

My neighbor has this awesome sentence book from Key Education.  I've used it in a literacy center for the past couple of years, keeping a copy of each in a file.
But...apparently I've kept multiple copies because my file was a mess.  I went through it and got rid of so many blank recording sheets {where the kids glue down the sentence & picture} that I was disgusted with myself.  I had to do something different.  Starting with not wasting copies on recording sheets anymore. {new idea on that coming your way when I get it together.} I kept one copy of each page of sentence puzzles but couldn't bring myself to get rid of those good reproducibles.  Then it hit me...double whammy...don't waste and provide additional support in writing!

Let me back up for a minute.  Every year after Christmas we switch from monthly homework calendars where students choose 20 activities to writing journals where they write at least 3 times per week.

I always teach how to use it in my guided reading groups before sending it home.  Important reason #1: so the kids know what to do.  Even more important reason #2: so parents can see what their child is capable of doing on their own.
{...because... writing}
{Responding to text writing}

I check the journals each Friday, make comments and corrections based on the individual child's ability & give suggestions on what parents should work on the next week.  The hardest ones to grade are my struggling students, who need the practice most...and usually turn in perfect sentences that they've copied from a parent.  :(

Ok.  Back to the surplus of copies!  I took all of those sheets and cut them apart then put puzzle pieces for multiple sentences in a baggie.  I typed up a list of the sentences that could be made from the puzzles to avoid confusion.
I also made a sample, took a picture and included it with the directions.  The students find the pieces of a puzzle, glue them down and sound out their own blanks.  Then use the model to copy the sentence on the lines, write one more sentence and illustrate.
Only 1 of the 5 students I provided with this additional support actually used it and turned it back in this week, but all you can do is give parents the tools...and bribe the kids with a prize for bringing back their work.

If nothing else, it's another tool to support sentence structure that I can add to the other tricks up my sleeve.  How do you help your struggling writers who are still working on sounding out and basic conventions?


  1. It is SO SO frustrating when I get homework back from really low kids that is written in their parents' handwriting. Come on people!!!! Let your first grader do his or her own work and get smarter!

    Marvelous Multiagers!

  2. Awesome share...homework is a thorn in my side...but I guess it is necessary to at least provide the opportunity for those who will do it =)

    First Grade Blue SKies

  3. Homework really is a pain. THe kids that can already do it - do it. And the ones who need the practice - dont. :0(
    I love your super cute blog! I am your newest follower. I'd love for you to come visit me too if you like :0)

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  4. What a great homework idea!!! The writing skills example is very beneficial to the parents so they can see where their child is and what their child can achieve. Is this something you found or something you made? I would love to have one!! What a great resource!

    Danielle Brown

  5. Don't you love that rubric?! I found it on Pinterest but unfortunately can't track the original site, it just opens up in Google Docs. But it's available...hope you can use it! :)

    Here's my literacy board. Scroll down to find it!

  6. Great thoughts you got there, believe I may possibly try just some of it throughout my daily life. Journal support


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