Having tweeted out the link to the above post I was overwhelmed by the responses and reactions to the menu and it has already made it into my top 5 blog posts of all time. The corresponding tweets have been favourited and retweeted more than the majority of my tweets and there is clearly a 'good feeling' about this approach to homework.
So, how has the menu/approach gone down with my students?
Initially, I have trialled the approach to homework with 3 of my classes: my year 10 set 1, year 8 set 3 (of 4) and year 9 set 3 (of 4). I gave each of my students their own copy of the menu and ensured there was a copy on the school's VLE for them to access should they lose their hard copy. I showed my students a brief presentation of the menu and used this to explain/give examples of each task as requested from any questions the students had. If you would like to see this presentation (and adapt it/tweak the menu design/layout) then click here. Then, all I had to do was...wait; wait for the homeworks to come in and wait to see the quality of the work produced...
I've kept it simple for my classes, each Wednesday I take in homework and hand back to them the previous Wednesday's homework (this is possible due to teaching all my remaining classes [now that Y11 have left] on a Wednesday each week).
Below I have inserted some photos of just some of the fantastic pieces of work I have had in so far...
Here's the 'explanations' as to why each song is included and the CD.
Here are a selection of the 'tweets' that a combination of students have produced. If having 'tweeted' I gave them a tweet template so that I could put them up in class on my 'Twitter Board'. This also ensures they've stuck to the 140 character limit!
So, I've been overwhelmed by the quality of homework I have received from my students. The quality of work and, in some cases, the quantity have been far greater than if they were given 'normal' homework via a worksheet of questions, mymaths task or other task I had set in the past. Has it solved all homework issues...no. Those students that have always lacked in the amount of homework they'd handed in are still needing chasing and detentions set. Some students are doing the bare minimum and I've had to use my feedback to their tasks to try and get more out of them in future homeworks. I've found that those students who have done their homework to the required standard and on time all year have excelled with this approach and some of those that have had issues in handing in homework on time and to the required standard have been engaged in the approach and are now producing excellent pieces of homework and ultimately doing some independent learning.
In addition to the examples shown above I've had about 4 or 5 videos shown to me in class. 1 student is doing a 'Maths Vlog' and is uploading his videos to his YouTube Channel. He asks each week if I can show his weekly vlog to the class, which I've been doing. His videos are quite whimsical and seem to be enjoyed by the class. Another student, bless her, put up a piece of paper on her kitchen wall and got one of her friends to film her explaining how to solve simultaneous equations. She had her iPad to hand as she was delivering her instruction and this was as good as anything else I have received. My Y8s have been enthused by creating their own videos and 2 different students created their own video on how to create a tessellating shape. Both these videos were in excess of 10 mins and they've clearly put in a lot of time and effort here.
So, how do I assess these homeworks and give my students feedback on their tasks?
I've been experimenting with the best way to do this over the last week or so and here's what I've been doing so far...
1) I have set up a 'takeaway homework' display in my class to showcase excellent examples of tasks completed. In addition to this I have put a list of 'honorable mentions' for the week for those students who have created tasks that I am unable to physically stick to the wall (those that have made videos etc). Here's the display...
2) For those students who have gone above and beyond what I had expected I have sent home a postcard. We, as a department, send home postcards to students that have impressed each fortnight. I've used these to highlight the great homework that I've received. Each time I write a postcard I make sure I state the reason, so have clearly said they've received them due to their takeaway homework.
3) I have 'marked' each homework using my WWW/EBI stamp giving the students constructive feedback as to what I like about their takeaway homework and what they could do next time to improve. Here are some examples...
4) I have been keeping track of each students' chillies and track that they have handed in something each week. Here's my mark book set up for the rest of the school year...
If you've got to this point...thanks for reading! This is something I've been really passionate about since the May half term. It's involved a lot of reminding my students of the due dates and what is expected. I have referred to pieces that have been handed in in each of my lessons, trying to give students as much idea as what other classes are producing and what can be done with each task.
Word has got round my department about the approach and I gave a department briefing about how I've been using it this week.
My HoD has adapted the task to use for group work with her classes and this has gone down well with her classes. My school's English HoD has also got word of the menu and requested a copy in the hope of creating something similar in English.
The takeaway homework journey continues and I'll update you on the progress in due course!
If you have any comments I'd love to hear from you about what you think about my approach to the takeaway homework phenomenon. Either comment below or tweet me @mrprcollins