Monday, 8 April 2013

Data Handling Project...6 weeks of 'homework' for my Y9s

Before the Easter holidays we had a NQT session delivered by one of the school's ASTs. The session was on homework and ILTs (individual learning tasks).
During the session we discussed the differences between the two and considered how we might build these into our own teaching.
I decided that I have already used a combination of these tasks. Homework in its simplest sense being a worksheet for my students to complete, work from the lesson to finish off, or tasks set on Manga High etc. Then the ILTs I have set my students would involve my YouTube videos and getting students to watch these or do some sort of research into a topic prior to me teaching them.

An example we were shown was one where our History department had project based tasks put up on the school's VLE for students to complete at home. These projects lasted for a number of weeks and students were given guidance as to what they should be completing in each week.

The best thing I took from the session was this example and the fact that we should be giving more follow up and feedback to 'homework' or project-based work that we set for work outside of the classroom. The session leader asked us how much we refer back to the h/w we have set and provide students with relevant feedback. This was one area where I haven't really focused on too strongly and this may be because the h/w I have set has been more for consolidation purposes than anything else and if I see a student has performed badly I'd ask them to stay behind at the end of the lesson to go through the h/w with them. I do this with my Y7 class a lot where I give them these sheets, available on the TES. If they get less than 15/20 they know they have to wait behind so I can go over their mistakes and discuss any areas of weakness. But as to an in-class whole 'feedback' session it is something I could improve on.

So, what I have done is create a 'Data Handling Project' for my Y9 class, and I will use them as my 'guinea pigs' to see how the above process can benefit my teaching and their learning.

The project is one in which they will be given free choice as to what they choose to do the project on. I have set up a pdf doc for them to work through at home. The pdf includes an introduction to the task, which I'll go through with them the first week back (next week). A mark scheme for the project is provided so they know what I'm looking for and have some criteria to guide them. There is then a week-by-week guidance as to what they should be working on over the course of the 6 weeks. I choose a 6-week period as this is the length of the 1st half of our Summer term.

The key thing to this project that I want to build on is the feedback I give to the class and the constant loop of 'where have you got to' and 'what do you need to do next'. I see the class every Tuesday (the only day we have a lesson in both weeks of the timetable) and so I have set aside parts of these lessons to go over the students projects, check their progress and suggest ways forward. I will do this using both my input to the whole class, having taken examples from the class, and via peer assessment with the students getting the opportunity to look over each others projects. This, I can see, will be very important in the first feedback session after they have decided on a hypothesis and therefore project idea. Taking suggestions from the students and asking them what they plan to do etc should open up some good discussion points for the rest of the class to take on board and reflect on their own ideas.

Here are a few print screens of the pdf document I will be sending the class via e-mail...

 Front page to the project (word cloud created using

 The mark scheme page.
Week 2's guidance and expectations.

I have just uploaded the ppt I created the pdf from to my TES resources for others to use. This way you can edit the document to tailor it to your class' needs. The project can be used with other KS3 year groups, or even adapted for KS4.

Download my resource from the TES at

I'll be writing follow-up posts once the class get started and working on their projects, I may even post some of their ideas and hypotheses. This way I'll be able to reflect on the process and refine it for future use. I'm planning on taking photos of my Y9s' work too so I can use it in the future with other classes to model what sorts of things are possible.

Any comments on this are more than welcome, especially if you've tried something similar in the past!?

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