Homework Oh Homework Poem Activities

Anyone else remember this Jack Prelutsky poem??? I just love it! You can read the whole poem here. 

We memorized "Homework!" when I was in fourth grade and would recite the first verse everyday when we our teacher assigned homework. She said that was our time to complain about the homework...after we recited the first verse that was it. Complaining time was over. It worked like a charm. We never complained after that and we LOVED being dramatic about our homework poem. Didn't I just have a smartie for a teacher! (She just happened to be my favorite teacher of ALL TIME! Gotta love Mrs. Wray! ) 

Somehow I forgot to teach this poem to my class in the past, but I will definitely be using it as I introduce our homework system tomorrow (which is the first day of school! Eeekkk!). 

Anyway, I wanted to do a quick post today about the homework kits I am making for my kiddos. This is what the kits  look like: 

(Sorry for the glare! Ziplock baggies aren't the best for pictures!) 

They include: Homework Folder, 2 pencils, box of crayons, erasers, notebook,  highlighter, homework policy and a reference sheet (more on that later). 

 I didn't have a big problem with homework last year but I have heard that they had a tough time in fourth grade last year so I am trying to be proactive and set clear expectations from the start. 

There's nothing to fancy in these kits but its my little way of knowing that all of my students have exactly what they need to be successful with the homework I assign. It also eliminates the excuse of "I couldn't do the homework because I don't have any ____________." I also like it because it clearly lays out the homework policy and consequences for missing homework for all to see. 

I found this amazing reference sheet online @ sanchezclass.com. 

This is a great math reference sheet for 4th grade students through high school. She also has TONS of free resources here. You have to check out her website! 

On the opposite side of the reference sheet I included my own homework policies and expectations. 

I think it is SO important to make sure that the students actually understand HOW to use there resources so I designed a scavenger hunt homework assignment that includes 20 questions. All of the answers can be found in the homework kit or on the reference sheet.

I also created this poster showing check, check plus and check minus work!

I included an example of a homework assignment that is check plus quality work, check quality and check minus quality, along with the description. 

I hope that this all pays off and that I won't have any homework issues this year. 
What do you do to prepare your students for a successful year of homework? 
I know a lot of districts in my area start school tomorrow, too! Good luck to all of you! Whether your in school or not have a happy Monday! :)

You're givi

When we explored poetry in my college English lit class, I was pretty excited at first, since the reading assignments were relatively short, and I wouldn’t have to spend that much time on my homework.  Well, I did my reading and went to class feeling well prepared.  When we started discussing one of the assigned poems, I shot my hand up and felt very smug as I attempted to explain the poem’s meaning.  Well, I have to tell you that my professor told me that I was wrong, and not only was I wrong, but I’d made an ignorant error and tried to take the poem too literally.  I was embarrassed and I’ve been afraid of poetry ever since.

When Vance was born I tried to make sure he wouldn’t feel the same way about poetry, so I always made sure he had some available, starting with simple nursery rhymes.  He loved the poems of Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky, and when I saw Serena was organizing a tour for National Poetry Month, I knew I wanted to review one of their books.  I settled on The New Kid on the Block by Jack Prelutsky.

In 2006, Jack Prelutsky was named the inaugural winner of the Children’s Poet Laureate Award and I can see why – his poems are just plain fun!   Prelutsky doesn’t really tackle any issues in The New Kid on the Block, but he’s sure to make youngsters (and oldsters like me) laugh with poems like:

You Need to Have an Iron Rear

You need to have an iron rear
to sit upon a cactus,
or otherwise, at least a year
of very painful practice.

This book has great drawings by James Stevenson.  There are also two great indices in the back – one lists poems by title and the other by first lines.  Reading The New Kid on the Block brought back memories for me, because Vance loved:

Homework! Oh, Homework!

Homework! Oh, homework!
I hate you! You stink!
I wish I could wash you
away in the sink,
if only a bomb
would explode you to bits.
Homework! Oh, homework!
You’re giving me fits.

I’d rather take baths
with a man-eating shark,
or wrestle a lion
alone in the dark,
eat spinach and liver,
pet ten porcupines,
than tackle the homework
my teacher assigns.

Homework! Oh, homework!
You’re last on my list,
I simply can’t see
why you even exist,
if you disappeared
it would tickle me pink.
Homework! Oh, homework!
I hate you! You stink!

Vance memorized that poem and use to recite it to me all the time.  I think he even used it for a homework assignment once!  There are over a hundred poems in this book and I think most early readers (and their parents) will enjoy it.  Be sure to check out the other blogs on the National Poetry Month Tour.

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