I am trying to be more intentional with the homework I assign this year. The number one concern I hear from parents every year is that the math their children are learning has become too difficult for them to help with. And I’m fairly certain that the number one reason students don’t do their homework is because they think it’s too hard. So, what I’ve started doing is choosing homework assignments that I feel students can do independently and that include skills that supplement what we are doing in the classroom. In the 8 days that I’ve been doing this, I’ve seen a much higher percentage of homework return from students. It has also given me a lot of good information about their math confidence and what skills they need further work in.
In the first 8 days I had to rely on previous grade level standards to design homework simply because we hadn’t done enough work on the standards we are learning currently. Now that we are getting deeper into the curriculum, it’s time for students to practice what we’ve been learning in class. We use Engage New York for our math curriculum, and I find that it is very “word-heavy” and often too rigorous for struggling students to do independently. Because I spent some time this summer breaking apart the standards into smaller, kid-friendly chunks, I’ve been able to use that information to create homework that my struggling learners can do but that still covers the grade level standards.
What I struggle with now is how to assign them this differentiated homework without singling them out. Maybe I could put students into colored groups (like the leveled reading groups of old) and students get certain assignments based on their group? I’m not sure, but what I don’t want is a system that will be too hard to manage.