Wednesday, January 23, 2013

From HomeWORK to HomeFUN with Whole Brain Teaching!

Here is a post I did as a guest blogger on Hippo Hooray for Second Grade, a few weeks ago.  I wanted to share it here in case you missed it.  It's been a wonderful solution to the homework struggle I have faced in the past.


I am a HUGE fan of Whole Brain Teaching  and that’s what I want to talk to you about today. 

Whole Brain Teaching is just amazing.  It has changed my classroom for the good and I will never give it up.  I have written several posts about it {HERE}, so if you want more information, please check it out.  Now, as the title states, I am going to help you with the huge headache we call homework.  My daughter’s school calls it homefun… I have never seen a child have fun doing homework, until I started using the homework model from Whole Brain Teaching!  Seriously.  I’m not kidding.  My kids rush in the door every day to tell me about their homework experience the night before.  It’s pretty amazing to see and it makes my heart happy to hear them excited to work on skills at home. 

My team and I were tired of making all the extra copies that homework creates and we were also looking for a way to cut down on grading so. many. papers!  -Less grading, now I’ve got your attention, don’t I?!  Ok,  ok, I have built it up enough? Are you ready to hear all the juicy little WBT secrets? Ha!
 WBT calls it the Universal Homework Model.  I call it Star Homework.  The beauty of WBT is that you can customize it to fit your needs and your classroom.  I first read about Star Homework over on Third Grade Thoughts.  This method allows the students to choose what they do for homework.  We all know students take more pride in their work when they have ownership- well this allows that.  Each night, our students can choose to practice math, vocabulary words, or spelling words.  For each task they complete, they earn a star for the class.  They can do 1, 2, or all 3 activities.  In addition to these tasks, we require 10 minutes of reading.  Students do not earn a star for reading, because, as I said, it’s required.  You can set the tasks to be anything you want.  If the majority of your students don’t have internet access, that’s ok, get creative.  Check out the WBT website for ideas!  The form below says XtraMath.org for math practice.  This is a free website!  You just have to go in and set up your class.  Maybe you do IXL,  that works!  For spelling practice, our students can go to spellingcity.com or practice their words aloud with someone.

Here is a look at what we use. As you can see, the parent circled and initialed the tasks that were completed.

Stephanie at 3rd Grade Thoughts was kind enough to post an editable version of this form, so all the thanks go to her!  Click {HERE} to go to her forms.
We also graph the number of stars throughout the week and on Friday, based on how many stars the class as a whole has earned, they receive some type of treat or special activity- whatever you choose!  WBT has many suggestions, including a great review game called Mind Soccer

Here is a look at one of our weeks.

 I have 225 boxes in my graph.  If every child does all 3 tasks EVERY night, they would all be colored.  Of course, that is not going to happen, but that’s ok!  We always talk about how it compared to the week before, if we went up or down.
I have only received positive comments from my parents about this method.  If you are getting tired of your current homework routine, I encourage you to give this a try!  

If you try this or already do something similar, I'd LOVE to hear about it!

12 comments:

  1. This is FABULOUS! Thank you so much for sharing. I've been really interested in WBT for a while now, and you've inspired me to really research it out. Thanks! :)

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    1. Michaela, I am SO GLAD!! I love it!! Here is a like to all of my WBT posts: http://funin1stgrade.blogspot.com/p/whole-brain-teaching.html
      Please let me know if I can help or answer any questions for you!!
      :) thanks for stopping by!

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  2. This is a great idea! I may have to figure out how it can work in my classroom. I am very tired of begging parents to practice spelling and reading with their children at home. This gives them a daily reminder and really would encourage my students to practice. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. I really like how you tally the homework as a class, not as an individual. I'm going to have to give that a try!
    What i have learned

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    1. Thanks! I hope it works out for you!

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  4. This is really neat! I love the ideas. I hope it is ok, but I did a post on homework at my blog so I linked up to this post (my post is here http://readingandwritingredhead.blogspot.com/2014/04/homework-personal-reflection-from.html) because I think my readers would love your ideas. Thanks for sharing!
    Bex
    Reading and Writing Redhead

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    1. Of course I don't mind the link up! I am glad you found my post helpful!

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Thanks so much for your comments! I love reading them!