As a busy mommy of two, and a first grade teacher with too much to do, I have been desperatly seeking a way to assign meaningful homework that will benefit my firsties, and NOT add grading work to my weekend "to-do" pile. My solution: NO GRADE Connect-Four Homework boards. (I am making a new board for each reading/math unit that we work through. So if you like this first edition, check back for more.) Here's how they work:
1. Students get a new board every Friday. (I use the same game boards throughout the entire reading unit. We use Scott Foresman Reading Street, and Everyday Math. So, the activities are aligned with what we are working on throughout the units. BUT you do not have to have these programs to use this product.)
2. Students choose ONE square from the front of the page (Reading,) and ONE square from the back of the page (Math) to do each night. Each square contains an easy activity that can be done orally in the car, while reading a bedtime story, or simply during QT parent-child talk-time (which we don't get enough of because of all the HOMEWORK!)
3. The parent initials the squares that were worked on that night.
4. Students turn in the completed game board the following Friday. If they have a straight-line connect four, they are rewarded with classroom system (we use a marble jar and the students move their names up on our behavior board.) I then choose four completed boards at random (eyes shut,) and those students sit at a special table at lunch with a treat (my homework hero lunch bunch!)
5. The remaining papers need NO GRADING!!!
*** Will students (parents) cheat and sign the boards even if they do not do the homework. YES! But, those were the same parents that were giving their students all the answers on their previous homework pages, and sometimes even doing the homework in their own handwriting. The students who were working hard before will work hard now. DIfference? They have more quality time to spend with their parents, and I have more quality time to spend with my family when I am not grading papers that are even completed in my parents' handwriting!!