Sunday, 18 January 2015

Takeaway Homework 2015

If you are unfamiliar with my 'takeaway homework' (twenty seven) then please read these ( & ( posts before reading on. Thanks :)

download my takeaway homework menu from the TES here -->

Last term I decided to leave doing 'takeaway homeworks' with my classes for a few reasons...

My Y11s need to do more exam practice and revision of those topics they've not covered for a while and need refreshing. As for my other classes, well they're all new to me so I felt I needed to get my processes and expectations in place first before setting them off on the takeaway homeworks. A simple worksheet or mymaths task is far easier to explain and to collect in/track etc.

So, now we're in term 2 and all my classes are settled, I have introduced my 'twenty seven' menu to my Year 9s. I'm still keeping my Y11s focused on revision, and my other classes are being taken by the ITTs I'm mentoring!

As I'm using my iPad ('iDoceo' app) to track/plan everything this year it has been even easier for me to take in their homeworks and keep track of the amount of chillies each student is earning. I have a separate sheet for tracking chillies and I can quickly take photos of students' homeworks which then store on my iPad for my future use (especially those that I can't collect in as they're a 'work in progress', or if they're written in their books and I'm not taking in their books that week).

I've had some great pieces of work in this week (first hand in). I said to both my Y9 classes that I will be putting my 'top 5' (at least) on my takeaway homework display (see below) and I will aim to update this each week. Also, each student who gets their work on display will receive reward points and a postcard home (we do these each fortnight in our department).

Here's my takeaway homework display, with examples from last year...

You can see I've left plenty of space to add new pieces of work.

Here are my 'top 5' for this week...

 Here's a set of Top Trump cards, with lots of fractions -> decimal conversions on them. Not only did this student create their own cards, but they also included a set of instructions as to how to play the game and some 'points cards' to give out whilst playing the game for the winner of each round...nice!
This student created a quick 10 questions (all basic numeracy) and included the answers in the folded sheet of paper attached to the question sheet. I like this as it could be given to any other member of their class to do and they could check their answers after completing the questions.
 This student created this 'Year 9 Maths Exam'. They included 10 questions (all based on what we had been doing in class the previous few weeks before the xmas holidays [this is what impressed me most]) and even took the time to bind the paper with some colourful post-it type notes.
 The amount of effort shown here blew me away. This student created over 30 cue cards of key words that they had covered in their mathematics lessons both past and present. Each card had been made by sticking two bits of paper back to back. The key word on one side, its' definition on the other. Brilliant!
This student also exceeded my expectations by producing 2 pieces of homework in the first week. Both pieces were good enough to make my 'top 5' in their own right. The first is an excellent '2 truths and a lie' on probability tree diagrams that we have been covering, all worked out correctly, answer on the back too. The 2nd piece was a lovely '4 pics 1 word', with added 'flaps' to reveal letters to help people guess the word or take letters away from those given to narrow the choice of what letters could be in the word and also, colourful pictures (not just some copied off the Internet from existing words from the app).

In addition to the above, excellent pieces of work, I have some tweets that i will be putting up on my twitter display and a 'hexaflexagon' to add to the others on the display to show other students what they are (I always get asked what that one is). I've again been pleased with the reaction from my students to the concept of the takeaway homeworks and some students have already pre-planned what tasks they are going to do over this half term to ensure they've handed in at least 12 chillies by Feb half-term and at least 1 chilli handed in each week (these are my expectations).

I am doing a training session to staff later this half term on the takeaway homework concept and will be using these examples to show them what great work students can produce when given the option.

I do, though, still feel that I would balance the time when my students get the takeaway homeworks and when they get 'normal' homework tasks. This is because 1) I don't want the takeaway homeworks to lose their impact (students enjoy doing them currently) and 2) there is still a need for students to do the simple worksheets of practice questions and mymaths tasks. A happy balance of the two is needed. So, after half term, we may go back to 'normal' homeworks and then reintroduce the takeaway homeworks in term 3?!

If anyone has any other suggestions/comments on takeaway homeworks then please comment below, or contact me on twitter. I'll take all into consideration when planning my training session.

Thanks once again to @TeacherToolkit for the idea and his book.

New Year...New Displays

Happy New Year everyone! I know, I know...I'm a little late. I keep meaning to blog far more than I find the time for these days, but I will endeavour to increase the amount of posts this year, compared to last. I have a lot of exciting 'mathsy' things coming up this year and so I should have lots to share with everyone. Watch this space (please).

So, it's a new year, which means a new term and along with it...time to change my displays. Now, a favourite display of mine is, of course, the 'Year Problem'. I have used the same resources I used last year (uploaded to the TES by @c0mplexnumber --> Check out her display here (it's way far better than mine)! However, last year I put the display up in the corridor outside my classroom, hoping it'd attract attention from other classes and more students would join in the problem. As much as lots of people (including our Head) commented on it, most of the work was done by my classes. Plus, everytime one of my students got an answer I had to pop my head round the corner to right it on the display. This also meant my classes couldn't see (without going outside the classroom), which numbers had already been completed and which they cold still try and get. Given all the above, I decided to put the display in my classroom this year, and sent the ppt in Clarissa's resources round to all our tutor groups to attempt the puzzle in tutor time, sending solutions to me via their form tutors.
The puzzle has worked far better this year as it's in my classroom. My Y11 set 1 students have particularly been enthused by it, especially when we were working through trig graphs and they could use the inverse trig functions to get sin^-1(1) = 90 and tan^-1 (1) = 45 to get other numbers they had previously not found. Here was the display prior to it being introduced to my classes...

Here it is now (almost complete!)...

We only have the numbers 67 and 68 left to find...maybe they can't be done...?

All of the students that have put forward a solution will be getting reward points (1 for each correct solution).

The other display I put up this term (replacing my 'A Very Mathsy Xmas' display) was one I was inspired by on Twitter. I saw the following tweet over the xmas holidays. How I didn't see it beforehand I don't know! I went on over to Kerry Tait @misstait_85's blog to get more info as to what she put on her display and downloaded lots of the templates she put up on there too. Check it out here.

Here's my 'Finished?' display...

There are 7 tasks my students can choose from:

1) Multiplication - basic multiplication grids to practice their basic times tables
2) 5-a-day - a selection of's 5-a-day resources
3) Tweet Me - tweet templates from Kerry's blog. These have been very useful for my 'takeaway homeworks' too as kids can just get a quick template to use for their homework.
4) Plenary Sticks - one of my new resources, coming to the TES soon! More on this later.
5) Challenges - I took the nrich puzzles from my 'A Very Mathsy Xmas' display and put these in this folder
6) Learning Triangles - from Kerry's blog
7) Gimme 5 - from Kerry's blog

I think the display looks pretty cool, The advantage of it being on the room divider is that I can move it around the room too if needed to put it in more prominent spaces, or into my 'room in the side of my room, room' for students who have finished to have a bit of space to work in away from other students still working.

Finally, I've been shopping on one of my favourite websites again...

I've got myself some new A4 sized blackboards and chalkboard pens. I've started putting up revision posters for my Y11s (set 1 and set 4). Here's one I put together on expressing one number as a percentage of another...

The pens work on the windows too...they can be revising maths whilst in the playground (I'm getting pretty good at writing backwards)!