Hi everyone! I’m Gina from Beach, Sand, and Lesson Plans, and I’m thrilled to be a guest blogger here on Minds in Bloom. Thank you to Rachel for giving me this opportunity!
Homework has always been one of those things I struggle with. I don’t want to give students homework for the sake of giving homework. It should be very relevant to what is happening in the classroom. I think kids and families are extra busy these days. Parents are working hard. Kids are involved in sometimes several after-school activities. I want their time at home to be well spent. Homework doesn’t have to be long and tedious for it to be valuable. With that said I’m super excited to share a reading homework idea that I have started to use this year in my 3rd grade classroom. I think you will find it gives students the opportunity to work with text in a meaningful way.
Assigning the traditional reading passage with multiple choice questions at the end–your basic test prep-type packet–was something I have been wanting to get away from. Along with a teammate, we developed what we call the Reader’s Think Book. (A simple spiral notebook works just fine.) In this notebook students work with one passage all week (3-4 nights). Passages will vary, depending on skills and strategies we are working on in class. Genres will also vary. We will assign literature, informational text, poetry, or excerpts from longer pieces of text. Later in the year, we will assign two passages on the same topic or by the same author, and students will work on comparing these.
To set up the notebook, I had the students glue a general directions page on the inside cover. On the first page, they glued in the “cell phone” text codes. These are simple symbols the students will use when responding and coding the text. We tried to create some “fun” codes that kids could relate to, like LOL or OMG. The codes on the left are for informational text, and the others are for literature.
I am in my 25th year of teaching, and I love every new year! I have taught 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, with my most recent years in 3rd. I am a native Floridian, married to a 5th grade teacher, with two of the most wonderful kids anyone could ask for! Get to know more about me at Beach, Sand, and Lesson Plans on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.