First Class – If you would like to supplement your child’s homework.

Lost in Thought Patrick Henry via Compfight

1. If you haven’t already, join the local library and visit it weekly.

2. Try an activity from the webmix for 1st class (see below).

In particular there are lots of Maths games on it. (There is some science too).

3. Try games such as scrabble, draughts, chess,

Monopoly and card games

4. Perhaps start an ‘extra work’ copybook.

In it you could …

5. Write a book review or a film review.

What was it? What happened in it?

Was it enjoyable?

What mark would you give it out of 10? Why?

6. Make a bookmark for your favourite book

or the most recent book that you have read.

7. Make a card or write a letter

to a family member or friend.

8. Beginning with the letter ‘A” list in alphabetical order

as many names you can think of.

(Other lists can include: places, animals, foods, sports,

hobbies, jobs people have, things you would find in school,

in the kitchen etc.)

9. Write a story or poem.

10. Compose tune. Write the words to this song.

11. Write down all the things you are good at.

12. Describe how to play your favourite sport.

13. Write down 5 facts about something that interests you.

14. Listen to some music and draw what you see.

15. List as many adjectives or describing words that

you can think of to describe yourself

16. Describe yourself for an alien. Can you write a story about meeting an alien.

17. Who is the person you would most like to meet?

What would you like to ask this person?

18. Design a useful invention.

19. List all the verbs (doing/action activities) you will do today.

20. Paint how you are feeling using colours.

21. What would you do with 3 wishes?

22. Invent your own super hero. Describe and illustrate. Can you put him in a story. What happens? Who needs rescuing? What happens in the end?

Supplementary Homework in Maths

Here are a dozen links to Maths Activities

that you might like to try:

 

Many of these games were sourced from 

Maths Primary National Strategy – Maths Activities

This is easy; practising ‘counting on’ with 

Online ‘Snakes and Ladders’

Snakes and Ladders
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: John Johnston via Compfight

As an alternative to the

Balloon Popping Game to practice tables,

you can practice addition tables on Circus Climber

 

This activity teaches about Data

 

These are more challenging:

Practising computation with

Swimming Lengths

Long Jump

 

Measurement;

Reading measure with Javelin Throwing

 

Measuring angles;

estimating or using an online protractor with Sailing

 

Practicing Addition using ‘Who Wants To Be A Mathionaire?’

 

This is a more challenging game;

 ‘Who Wants to Be A Mathonaire?’

Mastermind
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Steve Berry via Compfight

Like the game Mastermind this is an online game

called Code Breaker

Here is another version from Creativity Games.net

My child is not getting enough homework. What should I do?

Those of you with older children know

how the amount of homework

will build up over their years at school,

but if you feel your child

needs more of a challenge, 

here are some suggestions:

1. If you haven’t already, join the local library

and visit it weekly.

2. On this blog click on the link for ‘Educational Websites’

at the top of the page.

3. Try games such as scrabble, draughts, chess,

Monopoly and card games

4. Perhaps start an ‘extra work’ copybook.

I would be very interested any extra work done

and if your child brings these in will correct them.  

In this copy you could try some of the following:

5. Write a book review or a film review.

What was it? What happened in it?

Was it enjoyable?

What mark would you give it out of 10? Why?

6. Make a bookmark for your favourite book

or the most recent book that you have read.

7. Make a card or write a letter

to a family member or friend.

8. Beginning with the letter ‘A”

list in alphabetical order

as many names you can think of.

(Other lists can include: places, animals, foods, sports,

past times, jobs people have, things you would find in school,

in the kitchen etc.)

9. Write a story or poem.

10. Compose tune. Write the words to this song.

11. Write down all the things you are good at.

12. Describe how to play your favourite sport.

13. Write down 5 facts about something that interests you.

14. Listen to some music and draw what you see.

15. List as many adjectives or describing words that

you can think of to describe yourself

16. Describe yourself for an alien.

17. Who is the person you would most like to meet?

What would you like to ask this person?

18. Design a useful invention.

19. Draw yourself as a cartoon character.

20. Make up to quiz questions you know the answer to

and write them down.

Bring them into school and we will have a quiz.

21. List all the verbs (doing/action activities) you will do today.

22. Paint how you are feeling using colours.

23. What would you do with 3 wishes?

24. Invent your own super hero. Describe and illustrate.

If none of these appeal to you,

read or

read or ….

then again

…. read  🙂

 

Future bookworm
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: talkingplant via Compfight

Finally; some food for thought:

The following link tells the story of a school

that abolished homework and had the children read instead!

The School That Abolished Homework … and asked children TO READ instead.

It would seem to have had a positive effect.

Just a quick note about spelling for homework

Dear Parent,

1. First Teacher Pre Tests

We are starting with the Dolch List

of most frequently used words.

I am pretesting the children,

so that time is not taken up with spellings they already know.

I have stapled the Dolch List

into the Spelling/Free Writing copy.

 

I am also sending home an enlarged copy

of  list of the Dolch List  home.

You might find it useful to pop it up on a wall

somewhere at home.

 

Dolch List

I would suggest that the class levels at the top of this page

e.g. Pre Primer/2nd Grade are certainly American

and probably date back to the last century

when it was compiled by Dolch himself.

I don’t think it has any relevance to us.

2. Then she highlights the ones that need to be learnt

I have marked the misspellings from the pretests

on the photocopied page with a yellow highlighter.

I would like your child to learn five a night.

When they know them I would like them

to put them in sentences.

 

3. Then the children learn them

Understandably children often ask me

can they put their five spellings in just one sentence.

I would prefer them to write five sentences.

 

One sentence for each spelling helps practice punctuation

i.e. remembering that sentences begin with capital letters

and end in a full stop.

Also putting five random words in one sentence

can result in some very random sentences.

 

I would like the children to work

on the quality of the sentences they write

when they are practicing their spellings

and so avoid very simple sentences

like ‘I am funny,’ ’Where am I?’ or  ‘I am here’.

 

A post about developing the quality

of these sentences will follow shortly.

When a child completes the Dolch List

they can do ‘free writing’ at this time instead,

for a period of time.

 

Reading the ‘free writing’

will be a good starting point for me

for establishing words

that are frequently spelled incorrectly.

 

These are the words that we will work

on when we have finished working on the Dolch List.

 

Spelling Homework in a nutshell:

Learn five of the highlighted spellings a night.

Use the approach to learning spelling

that you were taught last year

i.e. Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check.

When you are confident that you know the five spellings

write five sentences using each one.

Remember capital letters and full stops.

Good penmanship and presentation is also important.

 

Other homework this week:

The other homework this week is Mental Maths as marked

and reading one comprehension piece from

‘A Way With Words’

 

Further information:

Scroll down this link for additional information

about a year’s plan for spelling here:

Class Plan for Learning Spelling 2012

When planning for spelling this year

I came across this very helpful blog:

Johanna Stirling’s ‘The Spelling Blog’

Thanking you, Teacher

 

And to finish:

a quote from Terry Pratchett:

 

“Nanny Ogg knew how to start spelling ‘banana’,

but didn’t know how you stopped.”

– Terry Pratchett, ‘Witches Abroad’

 

I found spellings hard at school and remember the feeling well 🙂

Homework Policy for 2012 – 2nd Class, Room 6

INTRODUCTION

This year we will work hard in class. This will include improving

– writing and presentation,

– reading and comprehension and

– maths; computation, tables and problem solving.

When the children work to the best of their ability at school, I don’t like to give the children too much homework.

If the weather is kind I’m sure you agree that it is preferable for them to be outdoors, getting some fresh air and exercise. In this way they have a balance in their lives.

That said, it will be very unusual if your child comes home and says that they have no homework. This is because I would like them to read every single day at home. I can’t recommend this highly enough. Reading assists your child’s language development and their writing style. It also helps your child with their spellings.

To my mind reading homework and number patterns/tables are the most important part of the homework at this time in your child’s school career.

READING HOMEWORK

This first week we will be doing ‘free choice’ reading from the school library.  There will be some reading of comprehension texts from ‘Away With Words’.

This will be followed by ‘paired reading’, with which you are familiar with by now. Homework may involve reading the class readers. Later in the year we will be reading a variety of ‘real books’.

Reading Independently

We are working towards your child becoming a fluent and independent reader with excellent comprehension skills. When that happens your child is more likely to be bringing home a ‘real’ book than the class reader. To help your child become an independent reader, I also recommend that as well as reading ‘homework’ your child should have a period for reading built into their timetable, perhaps the twenty or thirty minutes before ‘lights out’. I know this is a tradition in many homes already.

Even when your child is an independent reader, it is beneficial to spend some time reading with them. I still read with my fourteen year old. Reading the first chapter of a more challenging book with your child motivates and encourages children. It sets them up for continuing with the book. He or she come to associate these good times and closeness with a parent with books and reading.

Spellings

Initially spellings will be from the Dolch List. Plan for Learning Spelling 2nd Class 2012

MATHS

For the time being the maths homework will be from the Mental Maths book. I will be sending home tables as homework from the end of the month. This is because I want to make a good start on them at school, before sending them home. As is good practice initially we will be revising last year’s tables.

EXTRA HOMEWORK

Sometimes your child will be asked to finish something they didn’t get finished in school. This will be clearly marked by me. Hopefully getting extra homework like this will motivate your child to finish work in school. I have also found a small amount extra homework effective when a child is misbehaving repeatedly. Where this would happen the reason for extra homework will be clearly marked in the homework notebook.

TIME

Children have different ways of working. Some have a longer attention span than others. Some are perfectionists and take great care in the presentation of their work. From experience I know that I can set homework that I would expect to take twenty minutes, and that for some it would take ten minutes and for others up to an hour. If you feel your child has worked to the best of their ability and the homework is taking longer than it should, please mark how long it took, sign this and allow your child to stop. I would suggest that in second, homework take between twenty and thirty minutes. Reading and memory work, especially tables are the priority. The written work is less important.

If the homework is taking significantly less than this, please note this in the homework notebook. Check that your child’s presentation of their work is all that it should be.  I can take it from there. For example if this is true of the whole of the class, I can give more homework. If it is just some individuals I can make suggestions as to how they might use the remaining time.

FINALLY

It is my intention that the homework is fairly predictable initially. Our aim should be to have the children able to work on homework independently. That is what I am working towards, though I do realise some children are doing this already. As the year progresses, and certainly by the last term, I intend that the children would do project work at home, but first I want to ensure that we have the second class curriculum in Maths and English covered.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR CO-OPERATION & SUPPORT FROM HOME.

Reading ‘The Snow Spider’ by Jenny Nimmo

As part of their homework, the children are asked to read four pages a night of their new class novel; ‘The Snow Spider’.

If possible an adult should do this with them, reading every second page.

In this way children ‘model’ their reading on that of the adult, attending to expression and punctuation.

‘The Snow Spider’ is a challenging novel. It may help the children to see extracts from the 1988 ITV dramatisation.

Link to view Snow Spider Part 1

Please don’t leave your child to watch You Tube unattended 🙂

The internet is a portal to the world outside. Children should be supervised.

Information letter for parents 21st April 2012


Dear Parent,

Homework
As I mentioned in my last letter, I would like to vary homework somewhat depending on what I see as your child’s learning needs. I also like to vary the homework in this last term as a preparation for third class where there may be more variety in the type of homework given.

Having said that I am aware that it is the Summer Term and I understand the children will be out and about more after school. I think this is very important and makes for a healthy and happy child.

Our school policy on homework is that it should take between 20 and at the most 30 minutes in Second Class. I trust you know by now if homework is taking longer than that some parents have found it useful, to leave the reading part of homework until bedtime. If you are doing this, just make sure that the reading book makes its way back into school each day.

The Importance of Reading
At a recent staff meeting I was reminded of the importance of reading. Teachers agreed that reading is the key to being a successful student. Encouraging children to read has been helped greatly by the generosity of parents in the school. The recent Readathon raised two thousand six hundred euro. All school library books, including exciting new purchases are housed in the school hall, where over the Easter a most wonderful shelving unit was built. These shelves show the books off to their best and make it easy to see the selection. We also have an excellent classroom library, so we are very fortunate in the amount of reading material available.

Reading for Homework
For homework all children are reading the class novel ‘The Owl Tree’ by Jenny Nimmo. I am requesting that the children not read ahead in the class novel. I understand that if you are a ‘bookworm’, it is tempting sometimes to read ahead. However as we work through the novel in class we do a great deal of word analysis and also we are learning different comprehension strategies (e.g. prediction and visualization). If a child has read ahead, they may find this tedious.

Also there is great enjoyment in reading a book as a group; coming to humorous parts or developments in the plot at the same time and sharing in the drama or the fun. If a child reads ahead, they miss out on this.

I am asking the children to read a chapter a night. It will be the first time they are reading it … so they may be a little shaky. We will read it again in class and we will revisit the chapter to do comprehension. At that stage they should be very fluent reading it.

Homework Folder
I will be sending home homework in the black A4 folder that your child was given on Monday. All children will need to learn the number rap and thus the number patterns 2-12. Each child will work through these at their own pace. As they learn them, they can move on to the next one. As I explained knowing the number patterns really helps with learning multiplication table next year.

Spellings for Homework
For children who would benefit from spelling practice we will be working through a story ‘The Best Thing in The World. This clever story is based on the Dolch list of most frequently used words. Teachers find it is more challenging for a child to spell a word in context i.e. in a sentence, than as a list of words called out in a spelling ‘check up ’/test. I will call out a few lines from the story every day. We will mark any incorrect spellings and focus on learning these for homework. Today the spellings that tripped almost everyone up was ‘there’ and ‘their’.

Additional homework
As it becomes apparent that number patterns and spellings are progressing, there will be additional worksheets or other suggestions for homework in the black folder e.g. maths worksheets or projects (started in school) to continue with at home.

I understand that given the reading and learning off in maths already assigned, a child might need to do a worksheet over more than one evening. As I said I would hope no one would spend over the 20-30 minutes on homework, but I would also hope that everyone would spend at least 20 minutes doing their very best. Handwriting and presentation are important.

In a nutshell then;
1. Reading every night; One chapter from the class novel.

2. Each child needs to learn the number patterns 1-12
We also will learn 11&12 addition and takeaway tables.
We will do this piecemeal over the next ten weeks.

3. Some children would benefit from working on their spellings using the Dolch List story.

4. All children should do at least twenty minutes homework. If a child has finished their homework in ten minutes there will be a worksheet or suggestion in the black homework folder.

Feedback from you, the parent is appreciated particularly in terms of the time this is taking. If you have any comments, suggestions or difficulties, a short note in the homework notebook will alert me.

Standardised Tests
Standardised Testing begin in the first week in May. The results give a ‘snap shot in time’. Children of this age are relatively new to formal testing and have not yet developed ‘exam skills’. Children don’t realize that these tests have any significance and some may daydream or lose concentration after a while. I am caught between wanting them to give of their best and yet I wouldn’t like any child to find testing stressful, though I know they find them tiring. I will be referring to them as ‘check ups’ rather than tests. I was asked today when were the ‘May Tests’. Rumour had it that if one didn’t get ‘nearly all the questions right’ that one would have to repeat 2nd class. I explained that wasn’t the case and that the ‘check ups’ in May are so we can see what children do know not what they can’t.

I consider the copies and workbooks going home give a more rounded picture of how a child is progressing. For that reason please take a look at the workbooks, copies or worksheets that are going home in the bags between now and the end of the school year. I will send a short note home shortly about what you should look for when you are looking at this work.

With every good wish,
Teacher

Good Mums in the Animal Kingdom

Good Mums in the Animal Kingdom.

 

Our Mums gives us food we like to eat.

A mother swan finds tender shoots that are easy for her babies to swallow.

 

Your mother loves to play games with you.

A mother cheetah plays a game to show her cubs how to hunt.

 

If a mother has to leave her baby, she chooses someone she can trust.

Mother giraffes help one another by looking after each other’s babies.

 

A mother’s voice is special. Babies always know their mother’s voice.

 

A mother dolphin makes a clicking sound. Her baby knows to follow it from the moment he’s born.

 

Mothers carry their babies close to them to keep them safe.

A mother orang-utan carries her baby for more than two years. Luckily her arms are strong and powerful.

 


We are growing peas. The little shoots have just sprouted.

If you wish to supplement homework given …

My priority this month is tables and reading and maintaining the ‘homework habit.’

Those of you with older children know how the amount of homework will build up over their years at school. However if you feel your child needs more of a challenge, here are some suggestions.

– If you haven’t already, join the local library and visit it weekly. Particularly in these recessionary times, the library is a wonderful service.

– On the internet kidsclick.com lists a wide range of sites. Click on
kids.org for games that help with maths and language

– Try games such as scrabble, draughts, chess, Monopoly, card games
– Here are some other ideas. I have tried to come up with a range of ideas that would address the different types of intelligences that individuals have.

1. Write a book review or a film review. What was it? What happened in it? Was it enjoyable? What mark would you give it out of 10? Why?
2. Make a bookmark.
3. Make a card or write a letter to a family member or friend.
4. Beginning with “A” list in alphabetical order as many names you can think of. (Other lists can include: places, animals, foods, sports, past times, jobs people have, things you would find in school, in the kitchen)
5. Write a story or poem.
6. Compose a tune. Write the words to the tune.
7. Write down all the things you are good at.
8. Describe how to play your favourite sport.
9. Write down 5 facts about something that interests you.
10. Listen to some music and draw what you see.
11. List as many adjectives you can think of to describe yourself
12. Describe yourself for an alien.
13. Who is the person you would most like to meet? What would you like to ask this person?
14. Design a useful invention.
15. Draw yourself as a cartoon character.
16. Make up 10 quiz questions you know the answer to and write them down. Bring them into school and we will have a quiz.
17. List all the verbs (doing/action activities) you will do today.
18. Paint how you are feeling using colours.
19. What would you do with 3 wishes?
20. Invent your own super hero. Describe and illustrate.

If your child does any of these and brings these in I would love to see them.

On this blog you can also find age appropriate educational websites that you and your child may find of interest. To access them put the keywords ‘Educational Websites’ in the search facility or follow this link
Websites to Supplement Homework

Maths – Simple Computation: Addition & Subtraction in Second Class.

Maths – simple computation: addition/subtraction in Second Class

If you feel the need to supplement homework, these are some suggestions.

Learning simple computation (addition/subtraction tables to 10+10) really benefits the student in second class. Because when they go on to learn how to add tens and units with renaming they can concentrate on this new methodology because the addition and subtraction come easy to them.

We will be doing this in class. These websites may help you help your child.

The first  is an addition speed test.

http://www.mrmyers.org/Math_Mania/ttadd.html

http://www.ohio-distinctive.com/toybox/mathbarge/mathbarge.html

In preparation for adding tens and units with renaming, this game might be useful.

http://www.ictgames.com/sharknumbers.html

This is a good site for practicing number facts and computation:

TUTPUP.COM

Finally this site has games that practice addition and take aways at speed.

SKILL BUILDERS

Finally following a recent recommendation I will be using the following site in class.

Problem Solving with Thinking Blocks

The Thinking Blocks website teaches a visual strategy for problem solving.

Hope you find these helpful.

Teacher