As I looked over the homework list today, I realized that some students had not completed any homework last week. I recognize that families have busy schedules, but I also know that those students who don't regularly practice math usually don't make the progress that students who do regularly practice math make.
What's a teacher to do?
I sent a note to each of those students' families with the list of practice sites. I also noticed a few other students that need different kinds of assignments in order to support their math progress, and I'll work to provide those assignments this week.
All in all, to help students achieve in math means making sure you're covering all the bases below:
Targeted Home Study
Each week students have a list of online and/or offline assignments that support their in class performance. I can easily see who completes the assignments and who does not. The key here is working with students and families to make sure that practice assignments match a student's needs and ability to complete home study after or before school. It's not going to be a one-size-fits-all, but for the most part, the online and offline assignments I give match most students' needs and abilities since about 89% are completing the assignments regularly
Response to Intervention (RTI)
Our students take part in small RTI groups each week. RTI provides a great way to target students' specific needs. We are faithful to this approach with a close eye on the best groups and materials for each child.
At least one morning a week we provide students with Math Tech practice. We have a host of online sites that students use. This is very helpful to students' overall math learning.
Students participate in a large variety of learning options during the core program. There's quite a bit of differentiation during this time thanks to the support of special educators and teaching assistants. This program follows the CCSS scope and sequence.
After School Math Program
Some students attend an after school math preview program once a week to support their learning as well.
When possible teachers provide extra help during lunch and before school.
I've moved to giving an assessment about once a week to monitor student progress and needs as well as to provide a vehicle for regular student feedback on their efforts. I want to solidify and personalize this approach even more in the days ahead.
There's endless ways to teach and promote math today. There is no reason why any student can't achieve in math given all the tools available online and off. The key is good coaching, and that's my responsibility. As I move into 2016, I'll work to provide that with even greater attention and care.