All homework is not equal. Some students will have homework that will take the full period to complete, while other students will be able to complete the assignment in minutes. It is important that you have ways to accommodate this difference by having meaningful activities for students to do when they have completed homework assignments.
1. If the school you are in uses the Accelerated Reader Program, and if they will give you computer access for students to complete the reading checks built into the program, having students read when homework is complete can accomplish two goals—keeping the student busy and giving the student meaningful “work” to do when homework is finished.
2. After teaching a game for math or reading, include the game as an activity to do when homework is complete. If you have a math game with dice, be sure that you have a quiet way for students to roll the dice so others won’t be bothered. It is important that you do not put a game in the after homework is complete group until you are sure that students can play independently. If they can not play on their own, these students will draw your attention from the homework to this alternate activity.
3. Having an opportunity for youth to write when homework is complete is a meaningful activity. Instead of focusing on writing a story or a paragraph, have sentence type cards for students to draw and then work to write a particular type of sentence—simple (simple of 7, 10, 21 words), compound, and complex. This will make the writing practice more targeted and focused.
Not so usual celebration…
August 4th is U.S. Coastguard Day. The Coastguard of the United States was organized in 1790 and is the longest, continuously serving seagoing agency. There are just over 34,000 Coastguards to accomplish the Coastguard Mission which includes ensuring the safety of ports, waterways, and coastal areas, aiding other seagoing vessels with navigation, marine safety, search and rescue, defense and readiness, and ice operations. The Coastguard has 250 Cutters (65 feet or longer), 1,784 boats (less than 65 feet) and 198 aircraft. The Coastguard motto, Semper Paratus, means Always Ready. Although the Coastguard is not as large as the Army, Navy, or Air Force, the members of this service save lives every day and keep our coastal waters safe.
Activity for kids…
Draw a boat (60 feet by 20 feet) with outdoor chalk on the blacktop. Have the kids take chairs out and place inside the “boat”. Note: Be sure to have plenty of drinking water for each student. Have students report to the boat, and except for going ashore to use the bathroom, have them spend the after-school program on the boat, seeing what it would be like to be in such close quarters with other. Debrief the experience having students share insights and thoughts about the experience.