Written by Holly (Teach Starter)
Posted Tuesday April 3, 2018
Homework ideas… Yep, I’m going there! It is always a hot topic of debate between everyone involved in the education field. Here at Teach Starter, we want to help you ensure that the homework you set meaningful and manageable for your students, their parents and yourself! Deciding on how to set homework, or whether to set homework at all, can be hard when there are so many different opinions and factors pushing and pulling against it.
Parents, either love it or hate it!
Principals and leadership teams, either love it or hate it!
Teachers are usually the ones stuck in the middle, trying to balance these external pressures with their own beliefs about homework and what is best for the children in their class. We know that it can be a tricky position to be in…
It’s very easy for teachers and schools to say, the research states that homework is not beneficial so no work will be going home! However, there are definitely aspects of the ‘homework’ concept that are beneficial to children and their parents. This blog will outline some helpful homework ideas and concepts that are suitable for primary teachers.
Homework Ideas for Teachers
Here you’ll find practical ideas, homework activities and printable resources. This collection of homework ideas will help you to send your students home with tailored homework activities that will be beneficial to their learning, reinforcing and practising the skills and knowledge they are currently exploring in class. They are homework activities that will help to inform you about student understanding and ensure that students experience success and a degree of independence, which is so great for their confidence as young learners!
Reading is Essential
Reading for homework each night is a no-brainer! All children should be given the opportunity to take home something to read. This means weekly readers for lower years students to read with their parents and a library book or another appropriate book from home for middle and upper years students.
When I was teaching in the lower years, I provided the students in my class with a homework activity sheet, home readers and sight words at their level. I would always reinforce with parents that if only one thing gets done in the after school chaos that I now know (having school-aged children myself), it’s reading! Reading was always the highest priority.
I found that if students were held accountable for their reading by having to log each time they read with a parent, they were more inclined to do it. Middle and upper years students may also benefit from maintaining a home reading log. Check out our Home Reading Journal to send home with your students.
In this day and age, most children will have access to either a home computer or an iPad.
Why not encourage your children to practise their maths and reading skills at home, using apps that they are already exposed to in your classroom?
Mathletics for Homework
Mathletics is a web-based homework scheme that a lot of primary schools are utilising. This app empowers classroom teachers to set activities for homework which their students must complete before students can then go on to choose their own activities. This enables the teachers to set mathematics tasks that are suitable to each students level of ability which is so important when it comes to setting meaningful homework.
More and more Australian schools are adopting the use of the Reading Eggs scheme as a homework option. The multi-award winning online reading program for school students has been designed by Australian literacy experts and makes learning essential reading and phonics skills easy and fun. The online reading lessons, activities and books are sequenced to ensure students are working at their level!
Homework Activity Baskets
This idea came to me after writing about English rotations and Mathematics rotations for other blog posts. Why not create a similar concept, but for homework activities? Yes, it would take some time to collate the activities and set up them up, but what a fantastic way to engage your students in levelled homework activities!
- Firstly, divide your class into smaller ability groups, 3 or 4 groups would work. Each group can be given their own coloured homework basket.
- You then fill the coloured homework baskets with activities, games and task cards that the students can take home and play with parents, carers or older siblings throughout the week.
- Each Monday, students return the activity they had for the previous week and choose another one.
Check out our homework basket activities collection for a range of great hands-on activities that would suit this style of homework set up.
Homework grids have been around for a number of years now! This is a fantastic concept that can usually take a lot of time for teachers to plan and set up…
Editable Curriculum Aligned Homework Grids
Well, we have done the hard work for you! Check out our editable homework grids, each with matching activities that link with the Australian Curriculum for every year level.
Editable Spelling Activity Grids
Our editable spelling activity grids are another fantastic way for students to engage with their spelling words without simply writing them out on a piece of paper or rote learning them.
Creating homework folders for your students to keep their important homework information in is a fantastic way to encourage a sense of ownership and develop their independence.
Below is an example of what you might like to include in a lower years homework folder including a ring of sight words for students to practise at home.
Middle and upper years homework folders may include their homework grid, reading log and other relevant learning prompts such as editing guidelines, generic comprehension questions, times tables and grammar and punctuation reminders.
Homework Task Cards
Sending home a challenge or a task card with one activity for students to do that week is another way to engage kids in a meaningful task that they can complete with their family members.
We have a range of task cards that could suit this homework style and make great additions to the levelled homework baskets described above.
Create Homework Booklets Using Teach Starter Widgets
Tailored activities aside, if the above homework ideas don’t really suit what you need for your class and a traditional homework booklet/worksheet is something that you would prefer, we do have a few options that suit your needs! Our Maths Mentals widget can be used to create weekly maths questions for specific year levels. These are a great way for students to practise their all-important mental maths in a homework booklet style.
Communicate to Parents
Sending Home a Homework Information Sheet
After deciding how your homework will look in your classroom, it is important that you communicate this to the parents of your students, especially in the early years. Sending home an information sheet at the beginning of the year will empower your students’ parents and carers, helping them to feel comfortable with how the year will look and what they can expect to be doing with their kids at home.
You may like to use our Editable Homework Information Sheet to give you an idea of what information to send home to parents.
Include Homework Information in Classroom Newsletters
Another way to communicate to parents is by sending home weekly classroom newsletters. Although this seems like a lot of work, once you have the template ready to go, it really doesn’t take long to fill in the bits of information for the week.
By including a simple homework task in your classroom newsletter, you can steer away from the traditional homework sheet, instead providing a relevant and engaging task for your students to complete that week.
You may even wish to set up a show and tell timetable for the students to present their findings or talk about their experiences from homework task each week. This also encourages them to talk in front of the peers and gives you more opportunities to sort out that speaking mark for report cards!
Use our editable classroom newsletter which is available in colour and black and white.
Do you prefer traditional homework styles or new concepts?
Let us know in the comments section of this blog.
Comments & feedback
Posted Wednesday August 30, 2017 by Cassie (Teach Starter)
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