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Monday, November 9, 2015

Why I Send Home an Awesome Work Folder Every Week {with a Freebie}

Every week, I painstakingly look at every paper that every student does. I mark questions wrong and put stickers or smiley faces on every good paper. Then I sort all those papers by subject and put them into each child's Awesome Work folder.

The Awesome Work folder is the folder I send home with my students every Friday. It has important information for parents like our class newsletter, a monthly school calendar, and any permission slips or forms that need to be filled out. 

But the most important papers that can be found in the Awesome Work folder are the papers that my students have done all week long. Every paper that they complete {unless I hang it on a bulletin board} goes in this special folder.

 There are 4 main reasons to send home an Awesome Work folder.

Parents stay informed about what you are learning. Because they see every paper their child completes, a parent knows exactly what you have covered that week. Hopefully this will eliminate some of those "I didn't know Johnny had been learning about nouns!" messages the night before a test. 

 Parents can catch and review problem areas. We all have students who struggle in one area or another in our classes.  Maybe they aren't grasping how to rename in subtraction. Or maybe they are forgetting to put a punctuation mark at the end of sentences.
Parents who look through their child's Awesome Work folder can
My son needs to remember to follow directions!

 see exactly what their child had trouble with that week. This gives them the opportunity to practice that skill at home with their child.
{And as a parent, there is nothing worse than finding out the night before a test that my child didn't understand a concept. Talk about hours of reviewing and practicing in one night. Not fun!}

 Parents can praise good work. As teachers, we know the value of praising our students. When a parent sits down with their child and
My son is doing great with irregular verbs! Yay!
looks over their weekly papers, they have the chance to get excited over all the good work their child has done that week. Hearing that praise over the weekend may be the push that a child needs to keep working hard next week.
Students love it!
This is the best reason to send home an Awesome Work folder. Students are so excited every week to take their work home. After all they work hard all week long, and they want to show it off.
It helps that I make it a big deal. I make a big announcement when I hand them out on Friday. "It's time to get your Awesome Work folders!"  I also mention them throughout the week. "You want to do your best. Remember, this is going in your Awesome Work folder." Just knowing that they are going to take the papers home in their Awesome Work folder motivates my students to write a little neater and work a little more carefully.

 You can start using Awesome Work folders in your classroom right away. Simply print off a free Awesome Work Folder cover for each student. Let them color the picture on the cover. {This is a great time to introduce the concept and make it a big deal for your students.} The glue or tape the cover onto the front of a folder for each student.

I will admit that the Awesome Work folders take a little extra work every night. I try to grade the day's papers every evening and sort them into the folders right away. It is time consuming, but the help it gives my parents and the excitement it provides for my students makes the extra time worth it.

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