Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Homework" for Families

One way that teachers sometimes involve families in the classroom or their children's class work is by sending home activities for families to work on together. This is a great way for children to share with their families something special from their classroom, and for families to better understand how and what their child is learning.
Two ideas of take-home activities include:

~Literature Pack: This is a bag or folder of books and activities, usually focused on a particular theme, which is sent home with the child overnight or over a weekend. Families are asked to pick two or three activities to work on together and send back to school with the child. All materials necessary for the activities should be included in the pack.

For example, a literature pack about maps would include several ch
ildren's book about maps, such as Me on the Map, Tough Boris, and As the Crow Flies: A First Book of Maps. It would also include activities such as:
-reading the books aloud with your child

-drawing and labeling a map of your house, street, or back yard
-locating your town and street on state and city maps
-using blocks to build a map

-designing a treasure map

~Classroom Mascot: A classroom mascot is a stuffed animal that is sent home with each child for one weekend throughout the year. Usually on Fridays the teacher would draw a
name of a child who would take the animal home for the weekend to do activities with his or her family. Families are asked to include the stuffed animal in different ways throughout their weekend, but they are not required to do any activities other than their normal routine. The child will be asked to draw a picture or take a photograph of something they did with the mascot and write about it in the provided journal. (The teacher might include a disposable camera for documentation.) Depending on the age of the child, a family member might write down a child's words about their weekend with the stuffed animal. Usually when the child brings the mascot back to school, he or she shares the writing and illustration with the class.

Note to Families: Try not to let this "homework" be a stressful part of your evening or weekend. Talk to your child's teacher if the activities make you uncomfortable or are too much of a time commitment. Teachers know that families have busy schedules, and they should provide plenty of time for activities to be accomplished.

Note to Teachers:
Be aware of family schedules and commitments, and understand that many families are very busy. Keep this in mind when creating activities for children to work on at home with their families, and avoid elaborate activities or unreasonable requirements. Give families plenty of time to work on these projects. Instead of sending activities home for one night, send them home for several, or over the weekend. Let families know that you are open to discussion about how activities can be adapted as necessary. Be sure to include all necessary materials so that families do not have to search for their own.


  1. Great ideas for extending the curriculum into the home. So many times, as teachers, we expect and tell parents to spend time engaging in activities with their children, but fail to provide the resources for them to do so. Creating specific opportunities and "homeworks" for parents and children is the perfect idea. Parents want to spend that time with their children, and giving them the tools encourages quality time and literacy exposure.

  2. The idea of having a classroom mascot can be a fun way to promote take home literacy activities. Teachers should find many ways to close the gap between what children learn at school and what they learn at home. Using fun ideas like the ones in your blog help close this gap.

  3. I like the idea of doing mascot for children because it seems really fun and children definetely wil enjoy the activity. It also can help the family involvement as the family memners are helping their child.