Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Takeaway Homework

After reading this post by @agittner I wanted to give an impression of how I have found takeaway homework.

I have to admit is that I haven't made my list look much like a takeaway menu, but the children have not commented on this or asked about the name.

I have Year 7 three times per week. 70 minutes on Monday, 35minutes on Tuesday and 70 minutes on Friday. I take in their books every Monday and mark them before school on Tuesday to return them to the students. Takeaway homework makes this routine much easier to enforce.

I am very pleased with myself that I have stuck with the idea of takeaway homework as it wasn't a great success with all students from the start. Quite a few failed to complete their homework regularly  or didn't bring their book to lessons. But I think this was more because they are only 11 and were struggling with the routines of secondary school and time management. Now I only have one student who struggles to keep herself organised, but can usually describe her homework in such detail that I know she has done something.

I have been making a new sheet for each topic, leaving many activities the same/similar, but also adding topic related tasks from the activate scheme of work or my own ideas. If the students choose to do questions from the textbook or the kerboodle quizzes then they are practicing what we have done, but I have to admit this doesn't happen very often. However, a few girls are creating crossword puzzles and board games with questions and this is really interesting. I have to admit it is a better diagnostic tool than I imagined it would be.

I have had two textile cells, a jelly cell, cookie pH scale, pH scale poster, hazxard symbol poster, videos of experiments, write up of experiments completed at home, leaflets, crosswords, word searches, menstrual cycle posters, 3D model of forces, 4 board games and many many more.

I am very lucky that we have the 35 minute lesson on Tuesday, I have deliberately not included it in our rota for time, this means it can be used to complete unfinished activities, DIRT, watching Bill Nye (our favourite) and most importantly show and tell of our homework, be it a word search, video or boardgames. I think that this has really helped spur the girls on. They want to share what they have done and impress each other. It has helped to boost the regularity of hand-ins and quality of the work. I have been giving credits for those who have obviously put in extra effort.

While I am faced with the headache of how I convert this creative enthusiasm into determined revision for the end of year examinations.

I am pleased that the girls are able to choose their own tasks and organise their own time. I am pleased by the enthusiasm they now have for science. I am also really pleased by the way that it has helped me to stay organised with homework setting and marking throughout the whole year so far.

I will extend takeaway homework to the rest of key stage 3 after this. I also want to look at it for  key stage 5. I would like to have them use takeaway homework as a way of getting ideas to help them keep on top of past topics through individual work. However, I am not exactly sure how yet.

Lastly, I am really interested that the girls are branching away from the work on my set sheet. I am actually pleased by this, although it does require monitoring. I would really like to think that they are developing independence in their approach to their work, and with maturity they will be able to reflect on what they are doing and continue to choose the most appropriate homework task irrespective of whether they have a sheet telling them what to do.

Great idea, I suggest you try it for a year.

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