When children are in the 2nd grade, they are still fresh to the school system and the distinction between work and play is still unclear. As a teacher of children of this age, fathoming where they're developmentally is vital. It does no good to develop unreasonable expectations of 2nd graders because you feel they should be able to conquer the academics you have in mind. It's that they aren't up to the contest intellectually. They merely may not be where you want them to be in their maturity to handle complex or hard assignments.
This idea is especially vital when assigning homework to second graders. Older children can grasp that homework is similar to dad doing his paperwork for the office at home and they may model that behavior because “working” makes sense. But homework for 2nd grade students should be customized to the age of the kids and to the particular students you have in your classroom. The first rule of thumb for any second grade teacher is to not go the route of giving homework that is in the curriculum without regard for your class and what they may and cannot do. Customize the work based on what you know of them and the effects will be much more pleasing.
Bear in mind similarly that when you send homework with the children, youre much more giving the parents homework even more so than the children. Sending assignments home with 2nd grade kids to be handed in the next day is a direct statement to the parents of “This is how I expect you to spend your family time with your child.” Parents know this well and since most teachers will make effort not to make enemies of the parents of their kids, it is best to cover homework expectations with the parents during parent conferences early in the year so you don't take them by surprise.
Be sure that you limit the volume of homework particularly if youre departing to spread assignment over a number of academic subjects. At this age level, youre teaching them 2 things when you send homework with them. You are utilizing the homework to reinforce the classroom activity and teaching. But youre also teaching them the very idea of taking work home, making sure mom and dad know about it, completing it and returning it.
If you may get good homework habits so your kids learn to simply do their optimal on each assignment, bring it back and turn it in, you will conquer one of the largest problems students at every age level struggle with which is staying organized. Work with your parent community so they know what you are doing and assign homework that's within the time and attention span capabilities of your students. If youre smart in how you utilize homework to extend the teaching that happens in the classroom, you will see more success with your students which means happier students, a happier teacher and, maybe most vitally, happier parents.
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