Trick or Treat Blog Hop

Trick or Treat Blog Hop!

I am so excited to be able to participate in this blog hop hosted by Rachael over at The Classroom Nook.  She has done a fabulous job of organizing this hop AND we have OVER 50 participants. Woo HOO!! Thanks Rachael!

The treats in this hop will only last until October 31st, so be sure to complete the hop by then to grab  your treats and enter to win some fabulous products from all the bloggers!  Are you ready?  Let's go!

Here's my trick.  I really don't like the whole homework thing am not a huge homework fan (please don't say anything mean to me).  I have tried many systems over the past 23 years. The thing I've noticed from my 
years of teaching is that it seems to have gotten more difficult for families to sit down to assist their first grader with homework.  Many students have no help at home. I decided to evaluate why I was giving homework.  I know it's often expected and many parents do enjoy it.  I also know that last year I didn't even get back one half of my homework packets each week.  The thing that is the most important to me for my students to be doing each night is reading.  When they have books at the level they can read independently, they can do this without a parent.  I like them practicing their spelling words and high frequency words.  With the right activities, these are also things they can do alone.
I decided to try a new system this year.  I created homework packets that require NO PARENT signature and minimal (or no) parent help.  
I created  a packet where the students hopefully monitor themselves.  I talk to them daily about the importance of practicing reading at home.  My homework packet now includes happy faces for them to color as they finish reading, practicing spelling, or practicing their sight words. 
Here's a picture of my actual homework packet:
The front has my expectations of what I want them to do for homework and the back has our spelling words (these always focus on the phonics skill we're learning that week).  The next page of the packet has a grid with ideas for practicing their spelling words each night.
After this page is a page of what I call Superhero Words.  These words are just a grid of 10 Fry's sight words repeated over and over in the grid.  I like them reading these words nightly to build fluency in recognizing and reading sight words.

(I made these grids of the first hundred Fry's words and another set of the second hundred words.  They are one of the activities that are included in my Superhero Sight word units if you're interested).

After this, I include practice sheets for them to do nightly that are a review of skills.  I tell the parents at Back to School night that these sheets are for them to use with their kids, but that I won't be grading them as part of their homework grade (I don't tell the students this).  The practice sheets that I use are from a morning work unit I bought from Faith Wheeler's TpT store.  I used these units for morning work for two years. I love the daily practice because they give students a chance to practice  several different skills each day.  They are fantastic & you should check them out!  You can see them here:

Guess what?  I get more homework packets back now.  I give a homework score based off the amount of happy faces colored.  As I look through the packets, quite a few kids are doing the practice pages (morning work from Faith Wheeler).  My class is doing well with their spelling and reading.  
I decided to take my form and make it editable for you if you'd like to try this system.  You can add your name at the top of the form and type in the date (I always type in Monday's date as this is the day our packets go home).  The bottom of the page is editable also.  You can type in a note to parents about the skills you're covering that week or upcoming events.

You can click on the link below to download this trick that's also a treat :-)

I'd love to hear how you handle homework or how my system works for you (if you give it a try).

I love the treats of Halloween!  I don't know why, but there's something special about the candy from Halloween.  It's probably because I have so many pleasant childhood memories of Halloween.  I loved Trick or Treating around our neighborhood with my brother and sister (and my dad).  I love it when Target starts filling their shelves with Halloween candy.  I mean who doesn't love CHOCOLATE!!!  Well, I can't share any of my chocolate with you, so I thought I'd share a different treat!  
My class this year, and in years past, have all loved to write the room!  I love for my students to write the room! It gets the kids up and moving while they're learning.  Most of the time it keeps the majority of my students engaged the whole time (well, there are always those few..............). Anyway, I made a special Write the Room to give away to the participants of this blog hop!  This product is listed in my store, but shhhhhh, you can get it here for FREE.  I made this activity to review the phonics skills we've been working on from the beginning of the year up to
 Thanksgiving.  It covers short vowels, digraphs, beginning consonant blends, and consonant endings.  It'll be great to use to help your kids with all that extra energy they have right before Thanksgiving.  There are 24 cards and 3 different recording sheets.

I just listed a new product on beginning map skills.  I had so much fun creating the unit, then doing it with my class!  It's an introductory unit appropriate for first or second graders.  It could also be good  for a high kindergartner.  The information in the unit is not specific to any one geographical area.  It introduces what a map is, a compass rose, cardinal directions, map keys, and the difference between a map and a globe.  

You can see the unit here:

The unit includes a small informational book about maps.  It also has printables to help practice the skills covered in the book.  Here are some pictures of the kids doing some of the printables.

 After they complete that part of the unit, we move to creating a town of our own.  My class loved this activity!  Their towns all looked different from each other, but were all adorable.  The unit has a page of premade pictures to use and a blank page.  I had some students use some of both pages.  Here is an example of the activity.

Then the final activity for this unit is a map skills lap book. This is meant to be a lasting artifact that will help your students remember what they learned in the mapping unit! The kids were super excited to do this activity.  The pieces for the lap book come in black and white ink AND colored ink.  I ran some in colored and the rest in black and white.  I'd recommend running the map key part in colored ink if you have that available (hello, HP Instant Ink program!). It'll still turn out cute, but the pieces are tiny and not super easy to color in the lines.  

 This example I used all the pieces run with colored ink (except of course my lovely drawing- not!).

 Here's one with the pieces all colored with crayons.

Whether you use colored ink or black and white, I can guarantee your kids will love this activity (mine did!).

I am giving away two of these units at the end of this Trick or Treat Hop!  If you'd like a chance to win one, just enter the rafflecopter below.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Now it's time to hop on and see what other Tricks you can learn and Treats you can gather!  Have fun hopping!  Just be sure to collect all the treats before the end of October 31st because they disappear then!

The next stop on the hop is my very good friend Jeanie!

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