Back in the Classroom – Helping with Homework

All the holidays play havoc with normal routine but we had no interruptions these past four days and so I can report that we have had a pretty good week. At this time of the year Grade Ones really start taking off. The settling in process is over and they become big Grade One Girls ready to take on any challenge.

Parents often ask how to help their girls at home.  The secret is not to make an issue of homework.  Do a little every day.  Follow the routine set out on the homework sheet sent home each week and go at your child’s pace.
We have recently issued each child with a set of alphabet cards. At school we work with them in many ways – naming the graphemes, repeating the phonemes and building three letter words. At home you can help your child at her level.

Start by getting her to get to set the tiles out in alphabetical order. She can then rap the alphabet as she has been taught in class. Then randomly ask her to name the graphemes. She may be able to rap in order but when asked to point to m or o or q she may still be hesitant.  Ask her to point to graphemes as you name them for her. See if she also knows the phoneme (sound) of each of the letters too.   When you are sure she can do that ask her give the name and sound of the letter as you point to them.

The next step is to help her to ‘hear’ initial, final and medial sounds in three letter words. Say a word like mat – ask her what she hears at the beginning. You could also give her three words – mat man and rat and ask which one has a different beginning sound.   Start with sounds that are continuous – s, m, n, r, f, l, v, z .  Once she can do those easily go onto other letters.  When she is able to do initial sounds go on to listening for final sounds before trying to get her to listen for medial sounds.  Most of the girls can already do this but if your child can’t this is the way in which to help her.

The third step is decoding and encoding. Decoding means sounding out the word to work out what it says.  Encoding means putting the sounds together to spell the word. Use the alphabet tiles to build three letter words and see if your child can sound them out before asking her to build a word that you give her.  Have fun with these tiles.   Make a word e.g. cat  change one letter to make a new word.  e.g. cat to rat.  Keep changing one letter and have her sound out the word each time to get what it is.  If she’s good at this let her choose which letter to change to make a new word.

Daily reading of the ‘box’ book sent home – a new one is issued twice weekly – is essential.  Also use the little printed booklets – Two Little Birds and Bake a Cake – some children will soon be receiving Paws and Claws.   All the reading words are in these books and there are stories to read too.

The Counting Booklet has everything in it to help your child build number concepts.  Practising the exercises really helps your child to stay on top of her Mathematical game.

We have been discussing our families in class and have made a booklet all about the people in our houses. We drew our siblings and our parents and wrote sentences about what we like doing together.

Some of the things they wrote – I like to bake with Mom, I like to shop with Mom.  I like to drive to ‘accidents’ with Dad. (Her dad has a break-down truck)  I like to fight with my brother!  I like to ride bikes with my sister.  I like to watch TV with Dad.   I like to swim with Dad.  I like work in the garden with Dad. I like to talk to Mom.

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After the break we will be making our Family Trees.  I am sure you are all having fun gathering the bits and pieces necessary for this. May you all have a fabulous break with your kids. See you soon!

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