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Teachers involve first graders’ families in homework

Posted Date: 10/09/2017

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Teachers involve first graders’ families in homework

It may be called “homework” but there is a lot more going on with the optional assignments given to first graders at Chanute Elementary School this year.

What should thesetasks be called?

Use a flashlight to read a book in the dark.

Watch the sunset and draw a picture of what it looks like.

Play a board game with the family.

Spell your name using materials found outside - sticks, rocks, and leaves.

Help make dinner or set the table without being asked.

Read one of your library books with a family member.

“It’s not all about reading. There are a lot of social skills built into it,” said first grade teacher Brooke Wire. They are working on skills in tactile ways, writing names with rocks, or searching for Chanute rocks with a family member.

The overall goal is student engagement or family engagement and making it enjoyable, the teachers agreed.

Several first grade teachers created a “homework choice board” that listed 16 activities that parents could do with their child over the course of a month. They could choose what they wanted to do, color the square of completed activities and share pictures of their “great work” with their teachers.

“The kids are so excited, “Ashley Ausemus added. “They aren’t really thinking about it as homework,” said another.

“A lot of them are reading to their stuffed animals,” Heather Frese said.

The project is prompting conversations.

“The kids talk about it, what they did at their house with their families,” Valerie Palmer said.

After looking at the list of choices and seeing “help a family member make a grocery list, one parent said, “I didn’t think to have my kid help with that, but now the next time …”

Besides reading and spelling the activities involve social skills and interaction among family members, like when the first graders need help building a fort with a blanket, table and chair, or calling a family another member to talk about their school day.

“There’s a lot of carry over,” Wire said.

Beware, this project extends past September. There will be a new homework choice board every month

Ariel Beam began working on October a couple weeks ago and collected a variety of suggestions like raking and jumping in leaves, making a leaf rubbing, drawing in sugar or sand, or reading a book in a Halloween costume.

“That’s fun. We’ll probably get a lot of pictures of Halloween costumes,” a teacher said.

Story by: Connie Woodard