Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Homework Folders- How to Make them work!

Happy Wednesday! Although I am not quite ready for summer to be over yet, I do keep thinking more and more about what I can do next year to be a better than the year before. Every summer I reflect on three things that help me to be better:

  • What worked?  
  • What didn't work?  
  • What can I make better?
I ask myself those three questions all the time in my day to day teaching as well.  After lessons, after guided math groups, after science experiments, etc.  Those three questions keep me on the ball and always help me to improve my teaching.

As I've been reflecting on the last school year, I realized something that I can make better. I can bring back Daily Homework Folders into the everyday life of my room.

I bet you're asking yourself, why in the world do you send home the folder every single day?  Well, I do it for many reasons.  It helps the students have accountability and responsibility for something tangible (and in fifth grade they really must start working on this).  It is the one thing that they are expected to bring to school every single day.  As soon as it becomes habit, it's no big deal.  Last year I only sent my folders home once a week- on Thursdays. This was a horrible failure.  I'll say it again- horrible failure!!!  There was not one single time that every student brought back the folders.  They were lost, forgotten about, or just torn up by the students because they saw them as worthless.

That's going to change this year!

I use the Daily Homework Folders for many things...
- To send homework home
- To manage discipline (I will explain below)
- To keep constant contact with parents

1.  The first way I use them is pretty obvious.  The Daily Homework Folder is where students put their homework each day to get it home safely.  When they complete their homework each evening they put their homework back in their folder and that way it gets back to school safely.  As soon as they get into the habit of using the folder, it works like gold. I promise.

2.  The second way I use them is to manage discipline.  I start by putting a calendar in every students folder.  At the end of every single day I put either a sticker, stamp, happy face, or small message in the date box on the calendar in the folder.  Yes, every single afternoon, for every single student.  It doesn't actually take as long as you would think.  Most of the students get off with a sticker or happy face, but there are always one or two students who need a note written in about their behavior from that day.  I write in there things like "Asher was not respectful in class today". Or "Brandy didn't follow the rules today".  Just something as simple as that.  If the parents want me to elaborate, they can contact me.  I do this for my record and for their parents to see.  The parents get a snapshot every single day of how their child acted.

You can find the calendars I use FOR FREE here!  If you download them please follow my store and rate the download! :-)

3.  The third way I use the folders is to keep constant contact with parents, which was sort-of described above.  But the key is that the parents MUST initial the date on the calendar EVERY SINGLE EVENING.  This shows me that the parent saw the folder and the message I wrote in it.  The parent can write me notes in the folder, write in days when their child will be absent, give me their new phone number (around here parents seem to go thru cell phones like candy) and they know I will see whatever they write immediately the next day.

I check the Daily Homework Folders every single morning.  I have a master Daily Homework Folder that is mine.  Whenever I have to write a negative note in a student's folder, I write the same thing in my folder.  That is how I document and keep track of negative behavior.  When I check the folders each morning, if a student didn't bring theirs back or didn't get it signed I simply write it in my folder.  It's as easy as that.

In the beginning this will take some time, but you will get used to it and become faster at it eventually.  I have even had a responsible student do this as a job in past years for me.

Needless to say, I am excited about starting Daily Homework Folders up again this year.  I am hoping it will help to hold my students accountable for their behavior, knowing that all I have to do is sign the folder (after a warning, of course) and that their parents will see it that evening.

That's how I implement Daily Homework Folders in my classroom.
I hope you got some useful information from reading this long-winded post!

Do you use Daily Homework Folders in your classroom? I'd love to know about it!

i heart comments!

1 comment:

  1. I always have my kids check their mailboxes every day and bring their agenda and binder back and forth. I give out "dollars" when they get them signed and they owe me money if they don't bring it back signed. They quickly learn they would rather I pay them than them paying me! Lol!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'


Please leave me a comment!