The best thing families can give young children is time and attention. You can be the catalyst for quality time and learning opportunities with some of these ideas.
Skills: reading, math, writing, science, responsibility, organizational skills
Directions: Each child will need a pocket folder. Trace around their “left” hand on the left pocket. At the end of each day children put artwork or other papers in that pocket and it is “left” at home. Trace around their “right” hand on the right pocket. Homework sheets, permission slips, and other papers to be returned “right” back to school are put in that pocket.
Create a weekly homework sheet to place in homework folders each week. Use some of the activities suggested on the following pages for interactive homework children can do WITH their parents. Remember, young children think having homework to do like older siblings is “cool.” You can develop responsibility and positive attitudes about homework that will stay with them in the future with exciting things they can do at home.
Sample Weekly Homework Sheet - Download a printable version here
Monday ________________ Tuesday ______________
Parent Signature/Comments Parent Signature/Comments
Parent Signature/Comments Parent Signature/Comments
Skills: reading, math, writing, social skills
Directions: You will need 2 or 3 lunchboxes and some individually wrapped snacks (pretzels, raisins, crackers, etc.) for this project. Each month look at your standards and think of an activity that parents could do at home to reinforce that skill. Place all materials needed to complete the task as well as a direction card for parents and a snack in the lunchbox. Rotate the lunch boxes through the class so each child has the opportunity to take it home during the month. Here are examples of skills and activities that would help parents understand what you are working on and how they could help their child work on the skill at home.
Hint! The snack seems to add the “magic” to lunchbox homework.
- tie shoes (old shoe with large laces)
- phone number – play phone and song (“Twinkle Little Star”) to help them
- rhymes (rhyming puzzles) * scissor skills (scissors and scrap paper)
- writing name (name puzzle, paper colored pencils)
- shape recognition (stencils, play dough)
- nursery rhymes (blank books from mrsdimminie.com)
- counting (counting bears and “Count at Home” book)
- retelling story (small flannel board and pieces to “The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly”)
- colors (crayons and blank book)
- motor skills (sponge ball or jump rope & rhymes)
- Vary the skill level of the lunchboxes to meet the needs of your children.
Books, words to finger plays, tapes of songs, recipes, art projects, science experiments, or games can be used for lunchbox homework.
Book Buddy Bags
Skills: print connections, motivation, parent education
Directions: You will need cloth bags and stuffed animals to create book buddy bags. Fill each bag with a book and stuffed animal that coordinates with the story. You can also add an activity sheet similar to the one below. Add crayons and paper, play dough, etc. for the activity suggested.
1. Read the book to your child.
2. Let your child retell the story to the stuffed animal
3. Ask your child to draw a picture of his or her favorite part of the story.
*When children return the book bag to school, invite them to sit in the “reader’s chair” or “teacher’s chair” and talk about the book. Hint! Designate a special chair in your classroom as the “reader’s chair.” Spray paint gold or silver and decorate with fake jewels and fur.
Skills: motivation to read and write
Directions: Put a teddy bear, diary/spiral notebook, crayons, pencils, and some personal items for the bear, such as clothes, a toothbrush, blanket, etc. in a backpack. Children take turns wearing the backpack home and having the bear spend the night with them. Write a note similar to the one below asking parents to write stories about the bear’s adventures in the notebook. The teacher reads the notebook to the class the following day.
Hint! Let the children name the bear. If the teacher “treasures” the bear and acts like he’s REAL, the children will love him as well!
Directions: Recycle old computer bags and briefcases into “discovery bags.” Fill bags with the items suggested below. If you create several of these, then each child will have the opportunity to take something home each week.
Writing - Put paper, envelopes, sticky notes, pencils, pens, colored pencils, Portfolio stickers, scissors, glue, and other writing paraphernalia in the bag.
Math Kit- Add a calculator, ruler, minute timer, counters, toy money, tablet, pencil, calendar, and other math related objects to the bag.
Science Kit - You will need an old white dress shirt (short sleeve) and safety goggles to make a science kit. Write “scientist of the week” on the pocket. Add paper, pencils, a magnet, magnifying glass, and book of science experiments to the kit. One child each week gets to be “scientist of the week” and take home the bag on Monday. They choose a science experiment and practice it at home with their parents. On Thursday, they return the kit and present the experiment to their classmates.
Game Bag - Put a classroom game that the children enjoy in the bag. Let them take it home and teach their parents/siblings how to play. Memory games, card games, or board games all work well.
Art Portfolio - Place construction paper, markers, crayons, glue, scissors, play dough, and other art media in a bag for individual creative activities.
Letter Land - Put magnetic letters and a cookie sheet or tin in a bag. Children can use the letters to spell their names, the names of family members, etc.
I Can Read - Spiral notebook, scissors, glue, pencil. Children look around their homes for words they can read on food boxes and other products. They can cut out and glue words they can read or write words they can read in the spiral notebook.
Proud Parent Book This book is a fantastic way to make children feel special and help your parents know how much you care! You will need a 3 ring notebook and blank paper for this project. Decorate the cover of the book with the title “The Proud Parent.”
On the first page write these directions:
“Today you have an opportunity to add a page about your child in our PROUD PARENT BOOK.
Please put a picture of your child at the top of the page. Next, write a short description of your
child. You might want to include your child’s physical attributes (hair color, eyes, etc.), activities
your child enjoys, and things that make your child special.”
Have children share what their parents have written about them the next day in class. Hint! If you have a child of your own or a pet, model what you want parents to do on the first page.
Note: If you live in an area where it’s difficult to get parent participation for a project like this, then make a “Proud Teacher Book” and choose a different child each day to write about.
My Good Book
Skills: self-esteem, interest in print
Materials: copy paper, clasp folder
Directions: Punch holes in 10- 15 sheets of paper and insert them in the clasp folder to make books for each child. Let children decorate the front cover with a self-portrait.
Write “My Good Book” on the front and send home a note similar to the one below to parents.
Dear Parents, “Catching” your child doing the right thing will help you
be the cheerleader that they need. When your child does something
that you want to encourage, take a moment to write it down in their
“Good Book.” Read over the book frequently and discuss their positive
Nursery Rhyme Book
Skills: oral language, print connections, phonological awareness
*Many parents don’t know nursery rhymes, so this is an excellent way to familiarize them with poems their children are learning at school.
Materials: three ring notebook or pocket folder, crayons, markers
Directions: Each child will need a 3 ring notebook or pocket folder to decorate for their “Nursery Rhyme Book.” Select a different nursery rhyme each week and write it on a large poster or pocket chart. Also, prepare individual copies of the rhyme for each child. Increase the font size and double space between the words to accommodate the children’s visual needs.
Here are some ways to use the rhyme during the week:
Monday Introduce the rhyme as a shared reading experience. Reread the rhyme several times. Let children use pointers to find letters or words they can recognize. Call their attention to words that rhyme.
Tuesday Give children individual copies of the rhyme. Let them illustrate it and then hole punch it and put it in their notebook. Hint! Do not put illustrations for the children to color. Let them use their imaginations and create their own pictures.
Wednesday Use the poem for skill work during your small group. Can you find the top of the page? Where is the bottom of the page? Give children pointers so they can practice tracking words from left to right.
Thursday Children bring notebooks to large group and reread this week’s rhyme and review previous poems.
Friday Children read rhymes independently or with a friend.
Weekend On Friday, let children take home their nursery rhyme notebooks.
Homework Ask children to read or sing the rhyme to someone in their family over the weekend. Encourage parents to sign their name and write their comments and compliments on each poem.
Skills: print connections, small motor schools, parent interest
Materials: pocket folders, paper, hole punch, crayons and markers, date stamp
Directions: Make a “journal” for each child by punching holes in 20 sheets of paper and putting them in the pocket folder. Let the children decorate their folders with markers and crayons. Set aside a special time at the end of each day to discuss what you did, what the children learned, and what the children liked best. Let them draw pictures of what they learned or liked best in their folders. Children can date their papers with the stamp and then dictate a sentence to the teacher to go with their picture. (The teacher should read over the sentence tracking the words from left to right.) Children take home their journals and discuss their school day. Parents sign the picture and write their comments before returning it the next day.
Hint! The book below is a meaningful way to help parents understand the value of “hands-on” learning and play.
School is Fun!
It Looks Like I’m Playing But…
Play IS the child’s work!
First, take photographs of the children engaged in the various centers in your classroom. Put a photo on each page and write a caption similar to those suggested below. Put the pages together and make a cover that says, “It Looks Like I’m Playing But…” Send the book home with a different child each day to share with their families.
Dramatic Play – It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing social skills, emotional skills, independence, oral language, my imagination, responsibility, and the executive function. I may use these skills as a mother, father, safety officer, or politician one day.
Blocks - It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing motor skills, math concepts (number, size, shape, space), oral language, social skills. eye-hand coordination, self control, and my imagination. I may be a builder or architect when I’m grown.
Art – It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing my creativity, small motor skills, problem solving, sharing, cooperation, independence and responsibility. I may use these skills as an artist, illustrator, or designer one day.
Math - It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing oral language,; social skills, small motor skills, concepts about quantity, shape, size, pattern, and an interest in math. I may use these tools as a computer programmer, accountant, or mathematician in the future.
Library - It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing alphabet knowledge, oral language, print knowledge, listening skills, eye-hand coordination, concepts about the world, and the desire to read. Maybe I’ll be a publisher, author, or librarian when I grow up.
Science - It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing a curiosity about the world, sensory skills, problem solving, language skills, and experience with the scientific process (observing, predicting, experimenting, recording, reporting). If I’m a doctor, lab technician, pharmacist, or landscaper I will utilize these skills.
Table Toys - It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing small muscles, eye-hand coordination, attention span, social skills, and concepts about size, shape, color pattern. I might use these skills as a chef or dentist one day.
Language – It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing oral language, alphabet knowledge, print connections, phonological awareness, visual skills, book knowledge, phonics; motivation to read. No matter what I become when I grow it, it will be important to know how to read.
Writing - It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing eye-hand coordination, small motor skills, alphabet knowledge, self confidence, vocabulary, and an interest in print. I might use these skills one day as a journalist, administrative assistant, or poet.
Send home seasonal cutouts for children to decorate with their families. Parents will be as excited as the children to see their creations hanging on the walls and halls! Click here to download patterns for Art Projects.
- September – scarecrows
- October – pumpkins or leaves
- November – turkeys
- December – gingerbread boys and girls
- January – snow people
- February – hearts
- March – kites
- April – umbrellas
- May – flowers
Encourage the children to name their art projects and discuss how they made them with their parents. You could also save these each month and give them to the children at the end of the year as a special keepsake. Here are sample shapes you can download for each month. Hint! Enlarge the shapes or cut them out of tagboard or cardstock to make them easier to decorate.
Brain Tickets - Click here to download printable version
Skills: oral language, memory, parental involvement
Directions: Purchase a roll of tickets or download these brain tickets. Each day before children leave school ask them to think of something new they learned. Hand them a brain ticket as they recall the day’s events. Explain to the parents that they should expect their child to bring home a “brain ticket” each day. The parent’s job is to ask what their child learned to earn it. *Hint! Make tickets a different color each month.
Conversation Starters - Click here to download printable version
Skills: oral language, home-school connection
Directions: Download copies of the conversation starters. Cut them apart and place them in a bag. Children draw one as they leave the classroom and give it to their parents to encourage them to talk about their school day. (Thanks to Joy Micheletto for sharing this idea.)
Sometimes notes get lost between school and home. This “Special Delivery” can will help make the connection. You will need a canister from tennis balls or potato chips. Cover the can with construction paper and write “Special Delivery” on the side. When there is a note that requires a parent’s attention or signature, roll it up and place it in the can. Explain to the child that you have an important mission for them. They are to take the “Special Delivery” home and make sure their parents read the note inside. They must return the can to you tomorrow to complete their mission!
A quick way to communicate with families is a “remember bracelet.” Take a strip of colored paper (1 ½” x 8 ½”) and write the reminder on it. For example, “Please return your library book.” “Early dismissal tomorrow.” Tape the bracelet to the child’s wrist for a visible clue. Hint! You can also write reminders on address labels and attach them to the child before they go home at the end of the day.
Homework is the debut studio album by the French electronic music duo Daft Punk, released on 20 January 1997 by Virgin Records and Soma Quality Recordings. The duo produced the tracks without plans to release an album. After working on projects that were intended to be separate singles over five months, they considered the material good enough for an album.
Homework's success brought worldwide attention to French house music. Homework charted in 14 different countries, peaking at number 3 on the French Albums Chart, number 150 on the United States Billboard 200 and at number 8 on the UK Albums Chart. By February 2001, the album had sold more than two million copies worldwide and received several gold and platinum certifications. Overall, Homework received positive critical response. The album features singles that had significant impact in French house and global dance music scenes, including the U.S. BillboardHot Dance/Club Play number-one singles "Da Funk" and "Around the World", the latter of which reached number 61 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Background and recording
In 1993, Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo presented a demo of their electronic music to DJ Stuart Macmillan at a rave at EuroDisney. The contents of the cassette were released on the single "The New Wave" on 11 April 1994, by Soma Quality Recordings, a Scottish techno and house label co-founded in 1991 by MacMillan's band Slam. Daft Punk returned to the studio in May 1995 to record "Da Funk", which was released later that year alongside "Rollin' & Scratchin'" under the Soma label.
The increasing popularity of Daft Punk's singles led to a bidding war among record labels, resulting in the duo's signing to Virgin Records in 1996. Their departure was noted by Richard Brown of Soma, who affirmed that "we were obviously sad to lose them to Virgin but they had the chance to go big, which they wanted, and it's not very often that a band has that chance after two singles. We're happy for them." Virgin re-released "Da Funk" with the B-side "Musique" in 1996, a year before releasing Homework. Bangalter later stated that the B-side "was never intended to be on the album, and in fact, 'Da Funk' as a single has sold more units than Homework, so more people own it anyways [sic] than they would if it had been on the album. It is basically used to make the single a double-feature." The album was mixed and recorded in Daft Punk's studio, Daft House in Paris. It was mastered by Nilesh Patel at the London studio The Exchange.
Bangalter stated that "to be free, we had to be in control. To be in control, we had to finance what we were doing ourselves. The main idea was to be free." Daft Punk discussed their method with Spike Jonze, director of the "Da Funk" music video. He noted that "they were doing everything based on how they wanted to do it. As opposed to, 'oh we got signed to this record company, we gotta use their plan.' They wanted to make sure they never had to do anything that would make them feel bummed on making music." Although Virgin Records holds exclusive distribution rights over Daft Punk's material, the duo still owns their master recordings through their Daft Trax label.
Daft Punk produced the tracks included in Homework without a plan to release an album. Bangalter stated, "It was supposed to be just a load of singles. But we did so many tracks over a period of five months that we realized that we had a good album." The duo set the order of the tracks to cover the four sides of a two-disc vinyl LP. De Homem-Christo remarked, "There was no intended theme because all the tracks were recorded before we arranged the sequence of the album. The idea was to make the songs better by arranging them the way we did; to make it more even as an album." The name Homework, Bangalter explained, relates to "the fact that we made the record at home, very cheaply, very quickly, and spontaneously, trying to do cool stuff."
"Alive", first single released from Homework, is the final version recorded of "The New Wave", which was the first song made by Daft Punk.
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"Daftendirekt" is an excerpt of a live performance recorded in Ghent, Belgium; it served as the introduction to Daft Punk's live shows and was used to begin the album. The performance took place at the first I Love Techno, an event co-produced by Fuse and On the Rox on 10 November 1995.Janet Jackson sampled "Daftendirekt" on her song "So Much Betta", which was included in her tenth studio album, Discipline, in 2008.Homework's following track, "WDPK 83.7 FM", is a tribute to FM radio in the US. The next song, "Revolution 909" is a reflection on the French government's stance on dance music.
"Revolution 909" is followed by "Da Funk", which carries elements of funk and acid music. According to Andrew Asch of the Boca Raton News, the song's composition "relies on a bouncy funk guitar to communicate its message of dumb fun." Bangalter expressed that "Da Funk"'s theme involved the introduction of a simple, unusual element that becomes acceptable and moving over time. Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine complimented the song as "unrelenting", and Bob Gajarsky of Westnet called it "a beautiful meeting of Chic (circa "Good Times", sans vocals) and the 90s form of electronica." The song appeared on the soundtrack for the 1997 film The Saint and was placed at number 18 on Pitchfork's "Top 200 Tracks of the 1990s" list. "Phœnix" combines elements of gospel music and house music. The duo considered "Fresh" to be breezy and light with a comical structure. Ian Mathers of Stylus Magazine criticized the song, stating that it "doesn't feel like the beach just because of the lapping waves heard in the background."
The single "Around the World" carries influences of Gershon Kingsley's hit "Popcorn". Its music video was directed by the Academy Award-winning French filmmaker Michel Gondry, who compared the track's bassline to that of "Good Times" by Chic. Chris Power of BBC Music named it "one of the decade's catchiest singles". He stated that it was "a perfect example of Daft Punk's sound at its most accessible: a post-disco boogie bassline, a minimalist sprinkling of synthetic keyboard melody and a single, naggingly insistent hook." Ian Mathers of Stylus Magazine commented that "there is no way you'd want to have a Homework without 'Around The World'." The track "Teachers" is a tribute to several of Daft Punk's house music influences, including future collaborators Romanthony, DJ Sneak and Todd Edwards. The song "Oh Yeah" features DJ Deelat and DJ Crabbe. "Indo Silver Club" features a sample of "Hot Shot" by Karen Young. Prior to its inclusion on Homework, "Indo Silver Club" was released as a single on the Soma Quality Recordings label in two parts. The single lacked an artist credit in the packaging and was thought to have been created by the nonexistent producers Indo Silver Club. The final track, "Funk Ad", is a reversed clip of "Da Funk".
Homework features singles that had significant impact in the French house and global dance music scenes. The first single from the album, "Alive", was included as a B-side on the single "The New Wave", which was released in April 1994. The album's second single was "Da Funk"; it was initially released in 1995 by Soma and was re-released by Virgin Records in 1996. It became the duo's first number-one single on the BillboardHot Dance/Club Play chart. The song reached number seven on British and French charts. The third single, "Around the World", was a critical and commercial success, becoming the second number-one single on the Billboard Hot Dance/Club Play chart, as well as reaching number 11 in Australia, number five in the United Kingdom and number 61 on the Billboard Hot 100. In October 2011, NME placed "Around the World" at number 21 on its list of "150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years". The album's fourth single was "Burnin'"; it was released in September 1997 and peaked at number 30 in the UK. The final single from Homework was "Revolution 909". It was released in February 1998 and reached number 47 in the UK and number 12 on the Billboard Hot Dance/Club Play chart.
In 1999, the duo released a video collection featuring music videos of tracks and singles from the album under the name of D.A.F.T.: A Story About Dogs, Androids, Firemen and Tomatoes. Although its title derives from the appearances of dogs ("Da Funk" and "Fresh"), androids ("Around the World"), firemen ("Burnin'"), and tomatoes ("Revolution 909") in the videos, a cohesive plot does not connect its episodes.
Homework's success brought worldwide attention to French progressive house music, and drew attention to French house music. According to The Village Voice, the album revived house music and departed from the Euro dance formula. In the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, critic Alex Rayner stated that Homework tied the established club styles to the "burgeoning eclecticism" of big beat. He contended that it served as a proof that "there was more to dance music than pills and keyboard presets."Clash described Homework as an entry point of accessibility for a "burgeoning movement on the cusp of splitting the mainstream seam." In 2009, Brian Linder of IGN described Homework as the duo's third-best album. He catalogued as a "groundbreaking achievement" the way they used their unique skills to craft the house, techno, acid and punk music styles into the record. Hua Hsu of eMusic agreed, applauding Homework for how it captured a "feeling of discovery and exploration" as a result of "years of careful study of the finest house, techno, electro and hip-hop records." David Browne, writing in Entertainment Weekly, stated that the duo knew how to use "their playful, hip-hopping ambient techno" to craft the album. He named Homework the "ideal disco for androids". Sean Cooper of AllMusic called the album "an almost certain classic" and "essential".
Chris Power of BBC Music compared Homework's "less-is-more" approach to compression's use as "a sonic tribute" to the FMradio stations that "fed Daft Punk's youthful obsessions." Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine wrote that "while a few tracks are more daft than deft," more recent groundbreakers like The Avalanches could never exist without "Da Funk". Ian Mathers of Stylus Magazine noted that "there's a core of unimpeachably classic work on Homework, hidden among the merely good, and when you've got such a classic debut hidden in the outlines of the epic slouch of their debut, it's hard not to get frustrated."Rolling Stone awarded the album three stars out of five, commenting that "the duo's essential, career-defining insight is that the problem with disco the first time around was not that it was stupid but that it was not stupid enough."Rolling Stone ranked Homework at the top on their list of "The 30 Greatest EDM Albums of All Time" while affirming that Daft Punk's debut "is pure synapse-tweaking brilliance." According to Scott Woods of The Village Voice, "Daft Punk [tore] the lid off the [creative] sewer" with the release of Homework. Ryan Schreiber of Pitchfork awarded it 7.6 out of 10. He stated that "Homework provides sixteen whole tracks of modern-day boom box bass n' drum and unlike your science project, it doesn't require a lot of intricate calculations to figure out how it works." In his view, "It sounds like an Atari 2600 on a killing spree." By contrast, Robert Christgau of The Village Voice cited "Da Funk" as a "choice cut", indicating "a good song on an album that isn't worth your time or money". Darren Gawle from Drop-D Magazine also gave a negative review, stating that "Homework is the work of a couple of DJs who sound amateurish at best."
Daft Punk wanted the majority of pressings to be on vinyl, so only 50,000 albums were initially printed in Vinyl format. After its release, overwhelming sales of Homework caused distributors to accelerate production to satisfy demand. The album was distributed in 35 countries worldwide, peaking at number 150 on the Billboard 200.Homework first charted on the Australian Albums Chart on 27 April 1997; it remained there for eight weeks and peaked at number 37. In France, the album reached number three and stayed on the chart for 82 weeks. In 1999, it reached Gold status in France for selling more than 100,000 copies. On 11 July 2001, the album was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America, indicating sales of 500,000 copies in the US. By October 1997, the album had sold 220,000 copies worldwide, although Billboard reported that, according to Virgin Records, two million copies had been sold by February 2001. By September 2007, 605,000 copies had been sold in the United States.
All music composed by Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo.
|2.||"WDPK 83.7 FM"||0:28|
|7.||"Around the World"||7:04|
|8.||"Rollin' & Scratchin'"||7:26|
|14.||"Indo Silver Club"||4:32|
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- —Thomas Bangalter, in regards to the duo's creative control and freedom