Back in the Summer I was all “keeno” and determined that I wasn’t going to let homework get the better of me … oh how wrong was I? It hasn’t worked and at times I’ve felt like screaming especially when drowning under tests and books. There have been occasions, being brutally honest, when homework has been the last thing on my mind and because we test so often it has sometimes been a case of “watch this tutorial” for homework … and whilst they like the laissez-faire approach I need to get into a routine. To be fair to myself I did really well with my year 11s and year 9s and its been with my year 10’s that I’ve slipped a couple of times and maybe now I’m only teaching year 9s and 10s that its become obvious BUT it really isn’t good enough! So I’ve been thinking that I want to have something in place that means the students “know the score” – by that I mean they know when it is set, when it is due and how its marked – and its not one type of “thing” one week and then the next something different.
Stop it! I can hear the voices in your head saying “but what about variety?”, and “what about extension tasks?” and so on and so on … well stop it!! I’ve tried all sorts of things this year and as a result there have been times when my focus has been about marking (in an admin way and not in a formative way!!!!) rather than planning …. trust me … I REALLY did try! So this year I am going to revert to good old fashioned work sheets that get marked at the start of the lesson in which they are due (I know that the key to this will be in the questions asked in drawing out the solution from the group as a whole). The main benefit is that it offers me routine, routine, routine – I make no apologies for it, but students do, in my opinion need this especially when they are getting used to a new teacher and the change that involves.
I really want to get ahead of the game, so I’ve put together 4 worksheets (more on the way!) with a functional skills exam style question that is not topic specific but “general maths” that I aim to give to years 10 and 11 and the intention is that as time goes on and our year 9’s move up the school I can include questions based on the sample assessment materials for the new GCSE … now that I’ve done them and put my thoughts down it really doesn’t sound such a bad idea after all. ARGGGHHH !!! … just to come up with something that I can try for years 7, 8 and 9!!