Monday Motivation - Homework

So this week's Monday Motivation is all about homework.

First, let me say... I am NOT a huge advocate for homework. 

As a parent, I hate it! (and my kids are only in K and 2nd grade - I can't wait until the later years lol)

as a teacher, I hate grading it... and I never even know how much of the work the kids actually did.

BUT, I do see the value in homework for the sake of the parents are able to see what their kids are struggling in. 

SO let me show you what I do for homework.

Since everyone's schedules are different.... homelife is different, I do a monthly homework folder.

These are my folders from when I taught first...

I staple together 4 reading and 4 math activities (one for each week of the month)

Inside the folder, I have 4 reading passages with comprehension questions and on the back, there's a phonics or grammar component.  

I put one of these in there for each week of the month (I try to match my themes for the week).   These are Jodi's Fluency passages. I love them. I use them in class, too. There are so many to choose from, you can use them all over!

For 2nd grade, I'm going to use her Reading Comprehension Notebook for 2nd grade

And for math, I send home the Evan Moore Daily Math pages.... I'm going to do this in 2nd grade too, but just their 2nd grade version.

Again, I do 4 "week" pages, 1 page for each week.  I don't send home nightly homework reinforcing what I taught in math that day, because honestly.... I don't really know how that day's math lesson is going to go. If they really don't end up getting it, or sailing through it (we can all wish for that, right!?), then I might need to change up my math plans a bit.  Now, these pages sometimes have questions that the student and/or parent might not get... sometimes I tell them to "cross it off" and other times we work through it as a class.

They can turn it in whenever they like throughout the month. I just mark it in the book that they turned it in. In fact, I'd rather they turn it in throughout the month so I don't get a whole bunch at the end of the month. lol 

For Spelling, I toggle between these fun Tic-Tac-Toe boards I found from Sailing Into First and the spelling homework found in my Spelling Packets.

They put that paper in a page protector in their binder, and keep it there for 2 weeks and then I switch to the other version.

If you'd like a the Homework Cover letters, you can download them HERE for free!

I also created different ones for my 2nd grade ones (the other ones are so cute for K and 1st grade, but I felt like 2nd grade might need a little bit more grown up feel??)


You can grab those HERE.

As far as reading?? Yes. I do want my kids to read books. We send home leveled books in their book baggies. But I don't require them keep reading logs, especially in 1st grade. I just want them to learn to read... and love to read. I don't want work to always be associated with reading. I want them to learn to love reading. Plus, as a parent, I'm really bad at signing things on a nightly basis. I'm not even going to lie about that. lol.

 When I taught 2nd and 3rd, I had them do reading logs a little different. I tied it to a skill of some sort...

You can see more about that in THIS POST

So, what do you do for your homework?? What do you do that you just love?? 


Tasty Facts - Updated and Explained!

I wanted to share with you a major update that I just did! 

One of the products I use almost EVERY single day in my class, is my Tasty Facts Math Quizzes.  This is such an easy and fun way to differentiate for the kids in your class - and really challenge those kids who might want or need it!

BUT, before I start doing these in my class, I make sure they really get the concept of what adding is. By 2nd grade, they usually come in knowing these concepts. When I taught 1st grade, I would wait until I had taught the concepts - usually Novemberish, or even after Christmas.

I store them in a binder (this is the old cover...I just haven't reprinted the new cover) and keep the checklist of who is on which quiz in the front. When it's time to pass out quizzes, I just pull out the check list, and we're ready to go!

 I copy off a bunch of each quiz, cut them apart and store them in the page protectors - that way they are ready to go and I don't have to make copies every day!

NOW....I've had a lot of questions on how do I handle the quizzes - pass them out and everything.

Well, IF it was a perfect world, I would have had time to pull out all the quizzes earlier in the day, BUT, that doesn't usually happen...I usually pass them out as we do it...I just go down my check list and call out everyone that is on the same quiz, and I just flip through my binder and pull the quizzes out from the sleeves as we go. 

I usually start everyone off with +0 just so they can have a "practice" round. Since I have already reviewed the concept of +0, then they usually all pass it the first round, which also gives them a boost of confidence.

The kids take the quiz back to their desk, keep it flipped upside down, and write their names on the back. Once everyone has their quiz, then we can get ready to start. It literally takes me like 1-2 minutes to get the quizzes all passed out. 

I have the timer in my hand, set for 1 minute (you can set it to however many minutes that works for your class!)...when I say GO! they flip over their quiz and start!

In the beginning of the year, everyone starts on the same quiz (+0), but then as some pass and move up the ladder, then everyone will have different quizzes.  So in one group there could be someone on their +6, +3, and +8. 

When the timer goes off, they know to INSTANTLY put their quiz in the air, and to keep it there until I come get it from them. There have been a few time when I've had to demonstrate what happens if someone tries to "finish" their quiz after the timer has gone off....but after that, it doesn't

I usually grade them while they are working on their math journals, that way the kids can take them home that day to know which quiz they'll be doing the next day.

Do you see the yellow highlight in that checklist?? That means that person passed all the addition quizzes and moved on to subtraction!

Students also have access to flashcards throughout their journey to practice. 

To prep these flashcards, I make about 4 sets of each, all different colors. They go in separate baggies. I use a door shoe rack to store them in. I label each pocket with a dot sticker. As the kids pass their quizzes, they move their clips and they can grab those baggies to practice during their “free” time throughout the day. If a student is struggling with a certain fact set, I’ll let them take it home to practice with their parents and bring back. 

So....what's why is it called Tasty Facts packs?? 

Because every time they pass a quiz, they get another piece of their food! 

For the sundae, I copy off a page with everything on it, and label each item with a different fact, starting with whatever number you want to start with (I usually start with +3)…and then I work my way up the math facts! For instance, one ice cream scoop would be +3, another one be +4, the bowl would be +11 and the spoon would be +12.  I like to do the bowl and spoon last, but you can go whichever order you want!

After all the items are colored, they cut them out, glue it together on a piece of construction paper/cardstock, and I hang it on the wall.

Here are some examples of finished ice cream sundaes - I love how they're all unique and different!

and here are some examples of the Nachos we did for subtraction!

Here we are - all ready to celebrate our addition fact masters!

What else is included??

Included are the facts for addition 1-10, doubles, near doubles, ten frames, and subtraction 0-10. 

There is also an editable letter you can type on to send home to parents explaining what the quizzes are all about. I gave an example of what I send home, but you can change it to fit your need!

AND I have a 2nd set - Multiplication and BEYOND!

OR, if you teach 2nd or 3rd grade, you might want to get the BUNDLE... I know when I have taught those grades, I have gone through all of those skills before!

So... the BIG question: Why do you do these quizzes?

Well..aside from it being a common core standard to fluently know the fact up to 20 for 2nd grade...and when I taught 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade, I did it to keep them from losing it! 
  • CCSS.Math.Content.1.OA.C.6 Add and subtract within 20, demonstrating fluency for addition and subtraction within 10.
  • CCSS.Math.Content.2.OA.B.2 Fluently add and subtract within 20 using mental strategies.2 By end of Grade 2, know from memory all sums of two one-digit numbers.
I also do it because when we get to 2 and 3 digit addition and subtraction, if they don't know their facts, they have a hard time getting those problems correct....they can know HOW to do the problems, but if they don't know their facts, then they'll never get the answers correct.

You can see how I store and organize my Tasty Fact Quizzes here. It really is such a life saver! 

Check them out 


Wish List Wednesday - Memory Books!

Oh. My. Goodness.

You guys...
Today's Wishlist Wednesday is one of my favorite things!!

And guess what??

I've been giving them updates these last few days!!  

You can check out more of our Finished Memory Books in THIS post

The one thing I LOVE about these Memory Books is how much you can see their growth from the beginning to the end of the year. I start them the First Week of School, and we do them all year until the Last Week of School. 

(There are a few different grades - PreK, Kinder, 1st, and 2nd grade edition!)

Here's what is included - the original is landscape...

And I'm slowly but surely adding the portrait version to each grade!  You'll get both versions in the zip file you download from TpT.

The portrait version has a slightly different look to it too.... 

This one comes with editable pages too! 

I like to add pictures and type the names to the class page before I print them up.

Make sure to enter below to win your grade level that you need... but you can grab these Memory Books for HALF off until Friday in my TpT Store.

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Wish List Wednesday - Guided Reading Bundle

This week - it's all about Guided Reading!! 

I have done a LOT of posts on my guided reading - you can check out my favorite one {HERE}.  

I've also done some Guided Reading posts {HERE} and {HERE}. I have done a few posts on centers {HERE} and {HERE}. 

So what's on the agenda for our Giveaway and HALF OFF sale!? 

TWO things are included in the bundle...
1) The Guided Reading Rotation Powerpoint! Best thing EVER I have done in my room!

Each slide is on a timer, so I just push play and the whole thing runs without me having to get up and do anything!

I have 4 rotations.... Journal, Centers, Teacher, and Seatwork.

Every time the slides change, the wheel just turns. It works perfectly!

In between each activity slide, I have a "Clean Up!" slide that lasts for 30 seconds.

Now, let's talk about the Guided Reading Binder....

Included are grouping sheets...

I make a new one each month.   I don't always assess my AGL kids, but my OGL and my BGL I want to see if they're moving, so I do test them each month.

Analyzing sheets...
 I put them in the ORF data sheet as one of 4 different types of readers:


Sounds Boxes! (in my guided reading pack)

I've been using them forever!!

I mean... this picture is about 4 years old..and my computer crashed so I don't have the original to fix it, but you get the point! ha!

Whisper phones - I did a DIY post on those {HERE}

I also love EZ readers! I have a few different kinds that I've gotten from Really Good Stuff.

Another one of my favorite things I use are these little foam letters. I love them. They are smooth on one side and bumpy on the other it's easier for them to know which way the "a" goes or the other easily mixed up letters.

I pick a mystery word out of the book we are reading and then I make words out of that word and we practice phonics skills.  The students use the little foam letters and I use my own letters in a small pocket chart. I do Making Words with my kids every week.  This is one of the activities in my Guided Reading pack. There's a teacher planner page that really helps you to plan it out so all the words flow, and then there are student extensions like this page.

All these resources (and more) can be found in my Guided Reading Pack, including some sample lesson plan templates. 

The Rotations PowerPoint is in my {Small Group Pack}

Or you can get them both in the BUNDLE and save money!

Enter the giveaway (ends tonight!) ... or click the links to get the bundle while it's on sale for HALF OFF (sale ends Friday)!!

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