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Homework ideas

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by zoeemmawalton, Jul 14, 2017.

  1. zoeemmawalton

    zoeemmawalton New commenter

    Hi All,
    My school is currently going through a lot of changes, one of them is homework. It will become a major focus next year as part of a drive on independent learning. My faculty is Design and Create, with Art and Technology subjects. We have tried booklets, individual task sheets and termly projects. what does everyone else do? How do you track it? How do you mark it?
    Any ideas would be great.
    Thanks Zoe
  2. rgordo

    rgordo New commenter

    Hi Zoe,

    From what I know, the best type of homework is one that integrated into what students are learning. I've included a link to a SMH article which is very informative, and goes on to talk about the importance of homework and digital learning:


    I use positive reinforcement in the form of 'stickers' for students who complete their homework and I have found this to be incredibly effective - even for Year 12 students. I think they love the whole "retro" thing about them. I have a system: if they get 5 stickers they get a merit. I get customised stickers from "Mystickers4U", which have my name on them. I've been approached by many colleagues from other faculties who see my stickers in their students diaries and ask me where i get them from. Now I see other teachers stickers! Basically, I use stickers so that students who DO their homework are rewarded in some way, otherwise, if you just go over the answers those who haven't done it just get a free ride. I also write in students diary if they haven't done it as part of school policy. making sure there is a system of accountability is very important.

    As far as checking homework - I find it time consuming but productive. For weaker students, it might take 15-20 minutes of the lesson to write up answers for their homework from the day before, but they tell me it is very beneficial to do small amount of work thoroughly. Students also appreciate checking homework as a class, especially when they are unsure of the answer. It also gives me time to model responses form what they share. However, I can't afford to do that EVERY lesson, or else we would never get through the content. So, some days I just whip around and check their books while they work and dole out stickers or signatures, providing some brief verbal feedback for each.

    hope this helps
  3. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    Developing / creating independence results from staff routinely deploying a range of practical teaching and learning strategies in their day to day practice and crucially is underpinned by a sound rationale and based on research /theory. I have worked with many schools who priortise improvement in independent learning but have yet to find one which knows in advance the specifics of what it is they want to see as a result of their endeavours ? I recall independent learning being a buzz word a while back particularly when ' flavour of the month ' with Ofsted. I am not sure what evidence you are hoping to provide to ensure that the objectives of this whole school focus are met but I suspect just reconfiguring homework tasks will not cut it. Sorry - maybe not helpful but important to acknowledge ?
  4. MarahTes

    MarahTes New commenter

    Hey Zoe,

    I would like to start by saying that I agree with rgordo, and just wanted to add to it and share my experience...

    I am a maths teacher so most of the homework I give my students is from the text book they use in school, however sometimes I do have to create other worksheets/booklets in order to differentiate and meet the learning needs of my students. Like you I also create booklets, differentiated worksheets and termly assessments/projects. I believe the homework ideas we are using are effective in aiding students in the independent learning and reinforcement of concepts taught in class.

    However, its one thing to give homework and another to track it and mark it. I try to develop my students' understanding in regards to their responsibility in learning and completing their homework. At such a young age students do not understand the importance of homework, and I find that if it is not checked regularly they will not complete it. With 30 students in the class and only 1 teacher it is impossible to keep track of their homework and follow it up every day. That is why the parents of the students should also take responsibility in their child's education.

    I personally check homework whenever I can. It depends on the lesson, sometimes I am explaining a concept the whole time and I am too busy helping students with their work to check homework, Other times I can check some students' homework or all 30 students' homework in one lesson. I have created a homework spreadsheet with the names of the students and the homework assigned every day. That way when I check homework I know exactly who's homework I am checking and what exercises I have already checked or need to check. I usually sign the students' books when I check them or stamp them. Every time a student doesn't complete their homework, they get a diary note (part of school policy) sent to their parents to keep them in the loop and are expected to complete that homework by the next time I see them. If the homework does not get completed three times in a row then I make a phone call to their parents to discuss the matter further. It is a lot of work but so far it has worked well.

    I find that the older the students the more responsible they are. While I need to be very consistent with my year 8 students in order for them to always complete their homework, I find my year 9 students have taken on homework as their responsibility and do it for them selves as oppose to doing it so I don't call their parents. Which I encourage as it means that I have more time in class to help them and explain work to them instead of managing their homework and writing diary notes.

    I hope this helps,

    Let us know how you go

    - Mrs El Madi

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