Writing Lesson Plan: Homework Books
This is an activity I do with my grade 1’s and 2’s at the end of each day. It’s a way to communicate with parents, letting them know what’s been done during the day. (It’s a “what I did” book. I tell grades 1 and 2 that getting mom or dad to sign this book and bringing it back every day is their homework.) It also gets students to practise their printing. During the year, you can look back through the books and see the improvement in neatness and letter formation. Parents read them each night, signing them and sending them back to school each day. If parents need to send a note, they write it in the book. Nothing gets lost and the lines of communication are always open.
**In your introduction letter at the beginning of the year, write a note about the purpose of the Homework Book…daily communication between home and school. Tell parents your expectations…I let them know about their student’s daily activities, they acknowledge having read it by signing and returning it as well as letting me know of problems student’s may be having. Tell parents the objectives…what their child is learning by doing this book. (see below)
- keeping a daily line of communication open with parents
- letting parents know what students did during the day
- learning to print the date
- making a list
- printing neatly
- printing whole sentences
- copying correctly
- learning short forms for days and months
- practising RECALL of daily events
- student workbook
- pencils and erasers and rulers
- chart paper and markers
1. At the end of the day, “Homework Books” come out and we talk about our day. Allow at least 30-45 minutes at the beginning of the year for this activity (it’s worth it, call it printing, recall time). A few months later, we only spend about 15 minutes doing this, and the sentences are much longer.
2. At the beginning of the year, I write the simple sentences. An example might be:
Wed., Sept.1, 2010
- Today we played games in gym and math.
3. Parents and students now have something to talk about. Parents sign the book, put it back in student’s backpack, and it is returned to school the next morning. Students hand in their books each morning, I check for signatures and notes (plus field trip notes and money when necessary), check mark them and return books to the students. I give students a sticker to place on their Homework Book cover each time it is signed and returned. **Single workbook pages are given to students who “forget” their books. They are signed and returned and taped into books later.
4. Very soon, students are telling me what we did and dictating the sentences to me. I print them neatly on chart paper and students copy them into their “Homework Books”. (Different colors for each sentence.) Grade 1’s start out with one sentence, Grade 2’s have two sentences, but by the end of the year, we are doing at least 5 sentences – neatly, quickly, and accurately. Examples might be:
Mon., Sept. 27, 2010
- In gym, we played Mummy Ball.
- We found rhyming words.
- In math, we did regrouping.
- We had library.
- In art, we used pastels.
5. Each sentence is done in a different color. The date is one color. The first sentence is a different color. The second sentence is a third color. This makes it easier for students to find where they are when they are copying the sentences. **When they can’t read well, this is the biggest problem…copying carefully.