Kindergarten Homework Ideas For April

Homework for Preschool, Pre-K, or Kindergarten

Homework in Preschool and Kindergarten

Homework from vanessa on Vimeo.

Preschool Homework

To do or not to do, that is the question! The topic of homework for young children is one that is fiercely debated in the field of early childhood education. Many parents and administrators are all for it, many teachers are against it.

Some schools mandate homework for Pre-K because they think it’s going to close the achievement gap, others do it because they think parents “expect it” and still others assign homework because it’s what they’ve always done. There’s a little something here for everyone, no matter what your situation.

Different types of homework has been shown to benefit different populations. The type of program you work in may also dictate the type of homework you send home, if any.

Parents and Homework

My goal for homework in my own classroom is to support and encourage parents as partners in their child’s education. It is my responsibility as the teacher to teach the required skills, but it is the parent’s job to help support me in my efforts. In other words, “It takes a village…” Some parents need more help and encouragement than others, it is also my job to offer that help and encouragement to those who need it.

Reading Aloud to Children as Homework


I believe every parent and teacher should be required to read The Read-Aloud Handbook: 7th Edition by Jim Trelease. Jim explains, very clearly and with plenty of anecdotes, humor and wisdom, the importance of reading aloud to children.

If you’re interested in reading more on this topic I encourage you to check out the online book study I hosted for The Read-Aloud Handbook.

Meaningful Homework Activities for Parents to Do With Children

The book Just Right Homework Activities for Pre-K offers many meaningful activities that parents can do at home with their children. It includes detailed instructions for parents for each activity as well as blackline masters.

Structured Homework

When working with Title 1 and programs that serve at-risk populations it may be necessary to provide parent training through educational sessions. All parents want to help their children, but not all parents know how to do so.

I created the video at the top of this page to show to parents at our “Homework Help” educational session.

Printable Personalized Practice Cards


A useful tool that can help you not only assess students, but communicate progress to parents is ESGI. ESGI auto-generates personalized parent letters, in both English and Spanish, that you can use to easily show parents their child’s progress and provide them with personalized practice cards to help their child at home.

With just one click of a button in ESGI, you can quickly generate parent letters for each child in your class along with corresponding flash cards, specifically aligned to each child’s individual needs.

Click HERE to try ESGI free for 60 days and use promo code PREKPAGES to save $40 off your first year!

In the beginning, some components of a structured homework program might include:

  • First Name Identification & Writing Practice
  • Numbers and Counting
  • Color Recognition- for those that need it
  • Shape Recognition-for those that need it
  • Letter Recognition
  • Books for parents to read aloud to their child (See my take-home book program)

As young children mature and their needs change some changes to the homework may be necessary, such as:

  • Last Name Identification & Writing Practice
  • Sight Words (for those who are ready)
  • Number identification, 20 and up
  • Rhyming and other phonemic awareness skills
  • Letter sounds

Of course, differentiation for students performing above or below grade level expectations should always be taken into consideration when assigning homework.

How Do I Get Started Setting Up a Homework Program?

Step 1: Prepare your materials. Prepare the following materials to give to each child.

  • Name Card and Letter Tiles: Prepare a name card for every student using ABC Print Arrow font (see resources section) then print on cardstock and laminate. You could also use a sentence strip and a permanent to create name cards. You can use letter tiles from Wal-Mart or Staples or you can cut a matching sentence strip apart between the letters to make the name puzzle.

  • Number Flash Cards: You can use a simple font to type the numbers into a document in Word, print, laminate, cut, hole punch, and put on rings. The rings are highly recommended so the cards don’t become lost. You can also find free, printable number flash cards on-line.

  • Letter Flash Cards: The letter flash cards at left were made in Word using the ABC Print font, just print, laminate, cut, hole punch, and put on rings. Don’t forget to make one set of upper and one set of lowercase. The rings are highly recommended so the cards don’t become lost.

  • Color Flash Cards: The color flash cards pictured above were made by placing color stickers on paper. You can also find free, printable color flash cards on-line. The rings are highly recommended so the cards don’t become lost.
  • Shape Flash Cards: You can also find free, printable shape flash cards on-line. Just print, laminate, cut, hole punch, and put on rings.

Step 2: Next, you will need to create a system to communicate what activities you expect your students to do each night. One of the most effective ways to do this is by creating a monthly “Homework Calendar.”

You can download free calendars online that you can customize to meet your needs. In each space on the calendar indicate which activities you want parents to focus on each night, this helps parents from becoming overwhelmed. At the bottom of each space on the calendar there is a place for parents to sign indicating they have helped their child complete the assigned tasks. You can mark each space with a stamp or sticker to indicate your acknowledgement of homework completion. The homework calendars are kept in our BEAR books and carried back and forth by the child each day in his or her backpack.

If this method is too much for you then you may prefer the simpler Reading Log method.

Step 3: To implement a successful Pre-K Homework Program in your classroom you must meet with all the parents to explain your program. Do not expect your program to be successful without this critical component. Have an informational meeting or “Parent Night” and send home flyers to invite the parents. Make sure to include this event in your weekly newsletter as well.

When having parent education sessions such as this it is best to have some sort of prior arrangements made for the students and siblings to be outside of the classroom in an alternate location so the parents can focus on the information that is being presented.

  • After parents have arrived and you have welcomed them and thanked them for attending, show them the homework video (see top of page).
  • Next, use your document camera to show them the actual materials they will be receiving. Model how to use the materials and how to do each activity they were shown in the video.
  • Show them a sample homework calendar and what to do with it.
  • Explain your system for sending materials home in detail, for example will materials be sent home in a bag or a folder?
  • Make sure parents thoroughly understand the purpose and expectations for your homework program as well as your system.
  • Allow parents to ask questions and thank them again for attending.

You could also create a video like the one at the top of this page to show to parents.

Additional Information:

  • Homework should last no more than 5-10 minutes total each night including the book that parents read to their child.
  • Worksheets should never be sent home as homework. This sends the message to parents that worksheets are an acceptable form of “work” and it is a good teaching practice when the exact opposite is true.
  • Homework at this age should be fun and children should enjoy doing it. Advise parents that if their child does not seem to enjoy homework time they should make an appointment to see you so you can help them determine what is wrong and how to make it fun.
  • Emphasize that reading to their children every day is the single most important thing they can do as parents. It is also highly recommended that you show the parents one of the following short video clips about the importance of reading to their children:

How to Help Your Child Read (English)
How to Read Out Loud to Your Preschooler (English)
Como ayudar a tu hijo leer (Spanish)

Homework Links

More Teaching Tips from Pre-K Pages

Sorry about being MIA for a bit. To say that I have been stressed is probably the understatement of the year. Someone stole my husband's identity. If you have been through this, you know how horrible it is and I truly feel for you. If you have not, holy cannoli, all I can say is SAFEGUARD all of your important numbers like they are a child's life! Someone took his important info and has had a field day with it. Money Our entire savings is gone. Bank statements have been hacked into. The amount of time that has gone into the whole ordeal has been crazy. His bank has been, to say the least, less than helpful. We had to file police reports, close accounts, will have to hire an attorney to sort it all out, had to contact the States Attorney, put hold's on credit reports, and will most likely need a new social security number. To top it all off, his job is still rocky. (I crossed all this out on July 12th... I am not sure if I will ever know the truth about how my life fell apart.)

The only things that are keeping me from completely drowning right now are my cute lil' pumpkin's face

and all things school related! School is one of the best distractions for me. It gives me focus. I am ever so grateful to have a job that I love. I'm creating new things for the end of the year, working on wrapping up the end of year with a bang with my Kinder-Hoppers, and also, thinking about all the new and fun things that I will implement next year!

I believe that once upon a time I had said I would post what I do for homework in my classroom, so today is the day! I begin sending homework home in September. It's a HUGE packet for the entire month.

Here is the explanation of homework that I send at the beginning of the year.

Homework



The Homelinks are part of Everyday Mathematics. I cannot post the Homelinks, please do not ask me to post them or send them to you. They are copyright protected. Beginning in October, I have students practice writing a letter each week. I send the practice sheets home attached to the homework calendar. We use Zaner-Bloser Handwriting. These are also copyright protected, but I am sure you could find practice pages to use.

I've gotten LOADS of questions about how to get parents/students on board with completing their homework packets, and unfortunately, I have no miracle for you. I will tell you that each year is different. Some years I have wonderful participation and others are not so great. I give a very lengthy talk at Kindergarten Orientation about why homework benefits our kiddos and my expectations. I also give students incentives to complete their packets. If they return the calendar with 5 initialed assignments a week, they get stickers stapled to their calendar. When they turn in their family project, I usually will give them one Smartie (that's right...a single Smartie, lol, it does the trick). Their Book It count is also on the bottom of the calendar, which is a motivator, as well. I really try to make a big deal out of homework that is returned, but to be honest, I do not make a big deal out of homework that is not returned. I just don't believe that holding a five or six year old completely accountable is appropriate for my classroom dynamic.

Here are the calendars for next year, yipee! One thing I can cross off for next year, exciting!! I have attached the games and such that I have, some I haven't had the chance to adjust yet or create yet. I hope you find something that you can use for your classroom. I don't mind if you change them or just use pieces to suit your needs, but please, please, please, give credit when it is due and do not sell or post them as your own.

I love all the comments and emails, you all make me feel so loved. I truly appreciate it! If you download or use anything, please leave a comment. Thanks so much!

Shannon

September Homework Calendar(September )Letters and Sounds Go FishOctober Homework CalendarNovember Homework CalendarNovember Homework Sight Word UnoDecember Homework CalendarMeltdown (December Homework)January Homework CalendarSight Word Memory (January Homework)February HomeworkMeltdownPig Game (Feb Homework)March HomeworkPopFlip It DownApril HomeworkCrazy Carrots (April Homework)May Homework Calendar

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