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3rd Grade September Homework Packets

I am not sure how you like homework, but I was starting to despise it more and more as the years went on.

When I first began teaching, I assigned it dutifully every night, graded it all day and into the evening, only to have to do it all over again the next day. No Homework Days were more of a relief for me than for the kids, I think!

After getting settled into third grade, I have found myself assigning homework less and less. I feel that if it isn't purposeful, then why burden the parents and my students with it? The majority of my kids have massive amounts of after-school activities and to be honest, I have way less on my plate and all I want to do after a busy day at school is come home and relax. Shouldn't my 8 and 9 year olds be afforded that opportunity as well?

Ok, so that being my opinion, I still wanted a way to have kids and parents come together and work on "school stuff" in the evening. Parents are strong teachers and I wanted them to play an important and purposeful role in their child's learning.

Of course, I referred back to my favorite Whole Brain Teaching and came across their solution to my exact problem {sigh, I love them!} and it is called The Universal Homework Model, or as I have named it in my class, Star Homework.

I was inspired by Allison from A Whole Brain Teacher (and former WBT intern) and her version of UHM Homework:

If you have about 45 minutes, this professional development video from Chris Biffle, the founder of WBT, goes into great depth about the entire Universal Homework Model:


I have adjusted UHM to fit my needs and I am happy to say that both the kids and I are all much happier for it compared to our old system!

What is Star Homework?
Star Homework is a weekly bookmark that gets sent home with three activities for the kids to practice each night. Each activity earns them one star.
Click to enlarge
What does a student do to earn a star?
Simple, meaningful things that will benefit them in the long run and not cause any undue stress in the short run.
  1. Read for 20+ minutes= 1 Star
  2. Practice Xtra Math for 1+ round= 1 Star
  3. Practice Spelling Words & Independent Words= 1 Star
See? Simple and easy, and items that parents can help out with that won't make them or their kids want to tear their hair out :)

What happens the next day? Do they turn anything in?
At the very end of our Morning Meeting routine, I will have the students grab their bookmarks and tell me how many stars they earned, from 0-3. Any student who has 2 or 3 stars gets a short cheer from us :)

I tally all of these stars up on our Weekly Star Homework Graph and then the kids put their bookmarks back in their backpacks to complete that night.
Class rewards for a job well-done!
On Friday, we count up all of the stars we have earned for the week and, if they all did 2 or more stars for most of the days, then there is a high likelihood that there will be extra Free Choice minutes tacked on to Friday Choice Time!

We also will look to see if we met or beat the previous week's total. If we did, it's Sticker Time! My kids this year LOVE stickers, so this is a super fun, very easy, and inexpensive treat.

Class motivation during the week?
On Wednesday-ish, I will remind my class where we need to be by Friday to meet/exceed our goal and/or get extra choice time and I will ask if there are any volunteers who would be willing to be 3-Star Kids for the rest of the week to help us out. If they raise their hand, I will put their name on the board and we all cheer them and thank them for leading by example. It's a great motivator to get all of the kids willing to do more, which I'll take any day of the week!

What about Thursday's Response to Text homework?
Our spelling quizzes are on Thursday and kids don't get their new words until Friday, so on Thursday, I have included the option of writing a response to the book they have been reading all week. This can look like any of the following:
  • a summary of what they have read
  • questions, predictions, inferences, connections, etc.
  • a letter to me about the book
  • a letter to the author
  • comparing themselves to the character and writing about what they would have done in the story
  • writing a sequel/prequel
  • or anything else that suits the child's fancy! 
This Response to Text should be no longer than a page, but a bit longer than a few sentences. As long as there is substance, I am not too strict on length.It must be neatly written and turned in on Friday to receive a star. If it is messy, not substantive, or clearly not worth a star, then the child does not get one- Chris Biffle explains it so well in the video above- I am not doing that child any favors by accepting and rewarding messy, sloppy work with no effort put into it. It may feel crummy to tell them no, but it will motivate them to do better next week :)

So far this system is working out very well. Have any of you tried this type of homework plan?

**UPDATE** I have a new post with Star Homework downloads and personalized options. Check it out HERE!



























September Classroom Helpers
September Analogies
September Hidden Pictures
































     September 1 - Dr. Phil McGraw (Phil McGraw: grades 5-7)
     September 2 - Christa McAuliffe (grades 6-8)
     September 3 - Ferdinand Porsche (grades 6-7)
     September 5 - Jesse James, Part 1 (Jesse James: grades 6-8)
     September 5 - Jesse James, Part 2 (Jesse James: grades 6-8)
     September 6 - Marquis de Lafayette, Part 1 (Marquis de Lafayette: grades 7-8)
     September 6 - Marquis de Lafayette, Part 2 (Marquis de Lafayette: grades 7-9)
     September 6 - Catharine Beecher (grades 5-7)
     September 7 - Fame and Grandma Moses (Grandma Moses: grades 5-6)
     September 8 - Richard the Lionheart (Richard I: grades 8-10)
     September 8 - A New World of Music (grades 9-12)
     September 12 - Richard Jordan Gatling (grades 5-7)
     September 13 - Roald Dahl (grades 6-8)
     September 14 - Ivan Pavlov (grades 7-12)
     September 14 - Aaron Burr (grades 7-9)
     September 15 - The Life of Agatha Christie (Agatha Christie: grades 6-8)
     September 16 - Magical Dreams (David Copperfield: grades 6-8)
     September 17 - Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR Driver (Jimmie Johnson: grades 7-8)
     September 18 - J.R.R. Tolkien - Creator of Middle-Earth (J.R.R. Tolkien: grades 8-12)
     September 18 - Lance Armstrong - Seven-Time Champion (Lance Armstrong: grades 8-9)
     September 20 - King Chulalongkorn (grades 9-12)
     September 22 - Fall Fun! (grades 2-4)
     September 23 - "Hear Me, My Chiefs" - Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce (Chief Joseph: grades 4-6)
     September 23 - John Coltrane (grades 9-12)
     September 24 - Jim Henson (grades 3-5)
     September 25 - A Real Superman (Christopher Reeve: grades 6-8)
     September 26 - American Cartoonist (Thomas Nast: grades 6-8)
     September 26 - T. S. Eliot (grades 7-8)
     September 29 - The Singing Cowboy (Gene Autry: grades 5-6)
     September 29 - The Ends of the Earth: Ann Bancroft, Polar Explorer (grades 4-6)
     September 30 - The World's Favorite Cowboy (Will Rogers: grades 3-5)
     September 30 - Elie Wiesel (grades 6-8)



     September 1 - Number, Please (Hi/Lo grades 2-3)
     September 1 - Just a Child on the Titanic (Hi/Lo grades 2-3)
     September 3 - Labor Day Kindness (Hi/Lo grades 2-3)
     September 3 - A President's Labor Day (Hi/Lo grades 2-3)
     September 4 - Say Cheese (Hi/Lo grades 2-3)
     September 8 - Stories with a Twist (Hi/Lo grades 3-5)
     September 9 - The Golden State (Admission Day: Hi/Lo grades 2-3)
     September 10 - To Sew or Not To Sew (Hi/Lo grades 2-3)
     September 13 - Snap, Crackle, Pop... and More (National Breakfast Month: Hi/Lo grades 2-3)
     September 15 - Keiro No Hi (Keiro No Hi: Hi/Lo grades 2-3)
     September 16 - Parents of Curious George: H.A. and Margret Rey (Hi/Lo grades 2-3)
     September 17 - Enchanted (Hi/Lo grades 4-5)
     September 19 - Give Peace a Chance (Hi/Lo grades 2-3)
     September 20 - Around the World (Hi/Lo grades 2-3)
     September 22 - One Scoop or Two? (Hi/Lo grades 2-3)
     September 23 - It's Time to Read (Hi/Lo grades 2-3)
     September 24 - The Muppet Man (Hi/Lo grades 2-3)



     September 1 - Karen and Marybeth Learn About Manners (National Children's Good Manners Month: grades 2-3)
     September 1 - The Ascension of Mohammed (Lailat al Miraj: grades 7-9)
     September 1 - The Queen and I (National Honey Month: grades 1-2)
     September 1 - Bobby and the Buzzy Bees (grades 1-2)
     September 1 - Sam Has Something Extra (grades 4-6)
     September 1 - Making Choices (high interest - low reading level)
     September 1 - Darin Couldn't Be Here (high interest - low reading level)
     September 2 - History of Honey (National Honey Month: grades 2-3)
     September 2 - Fahim's Fast (Ramadan: grades 5-6)
     September 2 - Honey - Nature's Sweet Treat (National Honey Month: grades 5-6)
     September 2 - A Honey of a History (grades 6-8)
     September 2 - Two Happy Mushrooms (grades 1-2)
     September 3 - Labor Day (grades 7-9)
     September 3 - Labor Day Blues (Labor Day: grades 3-4)
     September 3 - Call Me Dan (Skyscraper Day: grade 1)
     September 3 - Waffles for Breakfast (National Waffle Month: grades 3-4)
     September 3 - Will's Waffles (National Waffle Week: grades 1-2)
     September 3 - Aaron's Ears (grades 1-2)
     September 3 - Reading Faces (high interest - low reading level)
     September 4 - Newspaper Character (Newspaper Carriers Day: grades 3-4)
     September 4 - Big Plans (grades 1-2)
     September 4 - Realistic Goals (grades 2-4)
     September 5 - Simon the Pizza Freak (National Cheese Pizza Day: grades 5-7)
     September 5 - The Cheesiest Pizza Ever (Cheese Pizza Day: grades 3-4)
     September 5 - Diligent Housekeepers (grades 4-5)
     September 5 - Icky and Sticky (grades 1-2)
     September 5 - Suicide Prevention Week (high interest - low reading level)
     September 6 - Don't Put It Off! (Procrastination Day: grades 3-4)
     September 6 - Lucy's Lesson (Procrastination Day: grade 2)
     September 6 - Bicycle Celebration (grades 5-6)
     September 6 - Sal's Salami (grades 1-2)
     September 7 - Cindy's Biscuits (National Biscuit Month: grade 1)
     September 7 - Enthusiasm and Teamwork (International Enthusiasm Week: grades 2-3)
     September 7 - Independence Day in Brazil (grades 5-7)
     September 7 - Not Even a Blizzard (grades 1-2)
     September 7 - A River of Bubbles! (grades 2-4)
     September 7 - Oh, My Aching Feet! (grades 3-5)
     September 8 - The Book Drive (grades 3-5)
     September 8 - The Five B's for School Success (National School Success Month: grades 2-3)
     September 8 - Improve Your Listening Skills (National School Success Month: grades 4-5)
     September 8 - John's Mom (grades 1-2)
     September 9 - Grandpa Nils (Grandparents' Day: grade 1)
     September 9 - Buddy Bear (grades 3-5)
     September 9 - Tryouts (grade 3)
     September 10 - Swap Ideas Day (grades 6-8)
     September 10 - Eddie's Great Idea (grades 4-6)
     September 10 - I Have an Idea--for You! (grades 2-3)
     September 10 - Super Duper Excellent Sewing Machine (grades 5-6)
     September 11 - In Honor of Heroes (grades 2-4)
     September 11 - What Does It Take to Be a Hero? (In Honor of Heroes: grades 7-8)
     September 11 - A Nose for America (grades 1-2)
     September 11 - 9-11 Search Dogs (grade 1)
     September 11 - O. Henry (grades 4-6)
     September 11 - A Surprise for Mom (grades 2-4)
     September 12 - National Chocolate Milkshake Day (grades 3-5)
     September 12 - The Best Milkshake (Chocolate Milkshake Day: grade 2)
     September 12 - Pop! Pop! Pop! (grades 2-4)
     September 12 - Grandpa Irving (high interest - low reading level)
     September 13 - Not on Our Team! (Little League Month: grade 1)
     September 13 - Happiness Is a Fortune Cookie (Fortune Cookie Day: grades 3-5)
     September 13 - Chocolate People (International Chocolate Day: grades 1-2)
     September 13 - A Day for Grandparents (grades 2-4)
     September 13 - Yellow Friends (grade 4)
     September 14 - Rob Is a Bully (No Bully Week: grade 1)
     September 14 - A Portable Treat (National Cream-filled Donut Day: grades 2-4)
     September 14 - Balance (grades 1-3)
     September 15 - Hat Day Contest (Make a Hat Day: grades 3-4)
     September 15 - Chicken and Eggs (grades 2-3)
     September 15 - Wedding Hats (high interest - low reading level)
     September 16 - Mexican Independence Day (grades 6-8)
     September 16 - Anne Bradstreet, Puritan Poet (Anne Bradstreet Day: grades 5-7)
     September 16 - Trail of Tears (grades 1-2)
     September 16 - Rock Collection (grade 3)
     September 17 - I'm a Proud American! (Citizenship Day: grades 3-5)
     September 17 - Alita Becomes a Citizen (Citizenship Day: grades 2-3)
     September 18 - The Story of Play-Doh (National Play-Doh Day: grades 3-5)
     September 18 - The Play-Doh Hospital (grades 2-4)
     September 18 - What Is Respect? (grades 2-4)
     September 18 - Beach Blight (high interest - low reading level)
     September 19 - Butterscotch Pudding (grades 3-5)
     September 19 - Talk Like a Pirate (grades 2-4)
     September 20 - Katie and Curly (Childhood Cancer Month: grade 1)
     September 20 - Hollywood Magic and the United States Marines (Hollywood Magic Day: grades 3-5)
     September 20 - Robbie's Paws (grades 1-3)
     September 20 - Yummy Punch (grade 5)
     September 21 - The Attitude of Gratitude (World Gratitude Day: grades 6-9)
     September 21 - Whinytown Learns a Lesson (grades 4-5)
     September 21 - Are You Creative? (grades 2-4)
     September 21 - Guys or Gals? (grade 1)
     September 21 - Grandma Hannah Forgets (high interest - low reading level)
     September 22 - Changing Season (Autumn: grades 2-3)
     September 22 - Dear Diary (Dear Diary Day: high interest - low reading level)
     September 22 - Gordon's Friends (Elephant Day: grades 2-3)
     September 22 - Rau (Elephant Day: grade 1)
     September 22 - Elephant Sanctuary (Elephants Day: grades 6-8)
     September 22 - Hobbit Day (grades 1-2)
     September 22 - If You Happen on a Hobbit (grades 3-5)
     September 23 - Jamie's New Neighbor (Deaf Awareness Week: high interest - low reading level)
     September 23 - Talking Hands (grades 1-2)
     September 24 - Cafeteria Feud (Food Service Workers Day: grades 3-4)
     September 24 - Miss B (grades 1-2)
     September 24 - The Rumor (grades 1-2)
     September 25 - The Best Dog in the World (National Dog Week: grade 1)
     September 25 - Kickboxing Anyone? (Family Health and Fitness Day: grades 3-4)
     September 25 - Maria and Gwen (Good Neighbor Day: grades 2-3)
     September 25 - Mrs. Nelson's Neighbor (National Good Neighbor Day: grade 1)
     September 25 - National Dog Week (grades 5-6)
     September 25 - Monster! (grades 1-2)
     September 26 - Johnny Appleseed (grades 3-5)
     September 26 - Apple Heads (Johnny Appleseed Day: grade 2)
     September 26 - The Shamu Show (grades 1-2)
     September 27 - It's Time for Immunizations (Adult Immunization Week: grades 3-4)
     September 27 - The Great Can Stomp (grades 1-2)
     September 28 - Hokey-Pokey Floor Show (Fish Tank Floor Show Night: grades 5-7)
     September 28 - Confucius Day (Daily theme: grades 5-7)
     September 28 - The Ants' Picnic (grades 1-2)
     September 28 - Register! (high interest - low reading level)
     September 29 - New Moon Star-Gazing (grades 4-5)
     September 29 - The Goose Feather Bed (National Goose Day: grades 2-3)
     September 29 - New Moon Night (New Moon: grade 2)
     September 29 - Taos and the Sundown Dance (Sundown Dance of the Taos Indians: grades 5-6)
     September 29 - Caravaggio (grades 6-8)
     September 29 - VFW Day (grades 2-4)
     September 30 - The Simple Safety Pin (Safety Pin Day: grades 2-4)
     September 30 - The Pin Contest (Safety Pin Day: grade 2)
     September 30 - Botswana Independence Day (grades 5-7)
     September 30 - Chimney Sweeps (grades 1-2)






edHelper Leveled Readers Correlation Chart



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