KinderGals: Building Family Engagement Through Home Activities

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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Building Family Engagement Through Home Activities

Homework should be something that adds stress to the family! It should be a time that families enjoy, build relationships, and foster positive feelings towards learning.  To help this happen, we developed weekly homework bags!  This blog post shares how we organize, manage, and use these monthly themed homework bags.
I teamed up with my good friend Adam Peterson to develop these monthly units. Each month, using general themes from that month, we created 5 math games and 5 literacy games.  In order for all kids to have a bag, we made more than one of each game. Each game is stored in an envelope.
Inside the envelope are all of the needed supplies. 
This includes a directions card that explain to the parents how to use the activity.We also list the goals so that the parents would see that REAL learning is taking place! We make sure that the activities we send home are ones that the kids were familiar with.  Remember, we want this to be positive. The kids should be "showing off" all of their learning! 
All of the cards, game boards, spinners, etc. that are needed are also included.
We made the games in color and black and white. This way, if we were short on color ink, we could just print on colored card stock!
We made a large 2 gallon ziploc bag for each child.  The bag holds their "homework folder" and the game envelope they are assigned for that week.  They take the bag home on Monday and are asked to bring it back on Friday.
The homework folder contains all of the forms parents need to document their work.  It also has a place for parents to address any concerns or to "brag" on how great their kid did!
We use this form to help us keep up with which bags have been assigned to each child. We simply list their names, then under the bag they are assigned we write the date. Once, they return the bag, we cross out that date. We reassign the games for the kids to take home on the following Monday.
These bags are a great way to build fun in learning!  I have parents who tell me many years after I taught their child, how much they LOVED these bags! They provide the parents with a meaningful, engaging way to practice things learned at school.
Not only are kids practicing standards taught at school, they are also developing many social skills. So many kids play games by THEMSELVES on devices. But, by playing games with others, they learn to share, take turns, be a good loser, and offer encouragement!
They are also great for building confidence! Kids are successful, parents are happy! It's a win, win!
Adam and I have created units for each month. This is the March Homework unit, but you can find ALL of the Monthly Homework Units HERE.

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