Sunday, August 31, 2014

School Has Sprung!

School has definitely begun! We've been going strong for 3 weeks now. Boy, is back to school time busy or what?! I've been having a great time getting to know my new class. It's going to be a challenge, but they are a sweet, little bunch. We are getting in our groove and really getting going now.

I'm pretty much keeping everything the same this year as I did it last year. Our schedule completely changed and that has been a struggle, but we are making it work. I'm usually good with schedule changed, but this one is throwing me for a loop. We changed our Math pacing this year as well, so that's always fun. Not! :) We'll get it. I hope sooner, rather than later. :) I did add Class Dojo this year. I'm loving it and so are the kids. In fact, we love it so much, I haven't really been using our clip chart or other incentive things. They love hearing the little ding that tells them that someone got a Dojo point. Occasionally I do the "oops" sound, too, and that gets them right on track. It is a fun little tool to help with behavior management and positive reinforcement. We have so many positive things they can get points for and only like 5 things that might have them lose points. Hooray for a positive classroom!

I revamped my homework packet this year and made it work for you guys, too! If you use the Wonders Reading series, you should check it out! Let me explain what I do.

I like to send home one packet on Monday and then not see it again until Fridays. :) It's easier for them to keep up with and for me, too! I also like that they can have more freedom within their family on choosing when to get their homework done. I'm a parent, too, and I know that some days are busier than others. It is so hard to do sports, music, school and everything else nowadays. I tell my parent right from the beginning that if they can't do homework on Monday because they have Baseball practice, then do it on another day that works for them. I don't care when they do it as long as it has been done and gets to me on Friday. :) They are still getting the practice in, it just works better for them. I do have suggested days of Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday for homework, but again, do what works for your families!

I like them to have practice in everything. I include Reading the weekly story and answering questions related to the story, We do fluency practice with the words and phrases from the reading series/spelling pattern each week. We practice the spelling pattern in various ways. I also made the spelling editable so you can choose your own words if needed. I do Challenge words in my class, for those that already know the spelling pattern. We take a pre-test for the next week's words on Friday. If they don't miss any, they are in my challenge words group and have a more difficult version of the spelling pattern. Those words are included for you, but if you don't use challenge words, then they can be deleted. Finally, we
do math practice. Math builds on itself, so it should flow from one skill to the next. I also didn't label it, so if there is a page that works better for you, then that one can be printed, instead of the one that is with the story for the week. Or it doesn't have to be used at all and it can be a workbook page or whatever works in your classroom. .

I am going to do a packet for each Unit and then I will combine them all into a yearly homework packet later. I also include a fluency passage from Tamra Russell's "Differentiated Fluency for Firsties" Packet after Christmas. This pack is awesome and I recommend it for every 1st grade classroom!!

I have used a homework packet like this for years and it works the best for me. I hope it helps you out too! It's an all in one packet, so you can just print, staple, and home it goes!

Hope your school years are starting off wonderfully!

Be fun and fabulous!

~Mrs. Sweeney

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