Is assigning homework a requirement in your school? It is in many districts, and although there's plenty of room for debate on whether that's appropriate for our youngest students, often it's the reality that we and our students have to deal with.
That being said, homework can get to be quite a drag for little ones after a whole busy day in school ...and correcting stacks of it isn't necessarily the way we want to spend all of our evenings, either!
Here's a way to break up the homework routine while still ensuring that your students get that extra practice. Why not try a Games Week once in a while, with a different simple family board game or card game sent home each night? It's a great way to get families actively involved in the fun of learning. If parents are busy or for any reason unable to play the games, let your students know that big sibs , grandparents, neighbors, etc., are all acceptable alternatives.
You'll want to keep your Games Week materials organized, if only for your own sanity! You might set up a spreadsheet or just use a class list and simple grid, and of course you'll want to have a special box or bin dedicated for storage. If you have a capable cutie, let him or her be your Office Manager and check in the games as they're returned.
The feedback I've gotten from families on Games Week has been extremely positive. They love having a fun new way to interact with their children, and the kids love the chance to "show what they know"! It's also a fun break for your students if you have a week that's heavy on assessment, and who doesn't have one of those once in a while, right?
Easy-to-prepare games with simple rules are best for this activity, preferably something that can fit inside a ziplock bag with only dice or a spinner added. Four in a Row games have been a big hit, as have simple path games with a set of flashcards. Using formats that are already familiar to your students is a plus. If you have many ESL families, you might want to focus on math games; just think of the bonus learning as your little guys explain the game rules to their parents!
Here's Bugville Races, a math freebie to help you start to build up your collection of send-home games! Don't you love these Caterpillar Cuties from Krista Wallden at Creative Clips? Click here to download your copy.
As you see, there are two game boards on each page, to keep your printing costs down and to assure that your game fits easily into your send-home bag. Enjoy!
*** Stop by my blog, Primary Inspiration, for "Getting the Job Done!", another free math game for your homework games collection!
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