Homework – Takeaway Menu

This homework idea is something that I picked up from the Teacher’s Toolkit (@teacherstoolkit) and have adapted to work with my year 7 students and also links into a post I was on another blog I follow: Headteacherguru  (http://headguruteacher.com/2012/09/02/homework-matters-great-teachers-set-great-homework/) which talks about the purpose of homework and ways to make it more creative. This also gets the students practising higher order thinking skills such as synthesis.


The Homework takeaway menu is a task where you tell the students the objectives of a    task but it is up to them to choose the outcome from either a list of options (good idea for the first time trying the activity) or from their own imaginations.  I did this with

my Year 7 PSHCEE group who had been looking at Healthy Eating over the past few weeks. I gave them the outline – which you can find attached (Promoting Healthy Eating Task Sheet) which told them that they had to come up with a way to promote healthy eating to Secondary aged students but they could choose any appropriate format that they wanted. I gave them a few ideas on the board, for example poster, booklet, leaflet, video etc. to get them thinking but it was up to them to choose for themselves.

As I only see this class once a week and set homework once a fortnight I gave the students 3 weeks to work on the project. Today


was hand in day and rather then me collecting them all in each of the students presented their work to the class where it was peer assessed using the 2 stars and a wish format.

For a first time trying the activity it worked quite well, we had quite a few posters, a couple of leaflets and a rather fantastic video from one student. We didn’t manage to get through all of the presentations in one lesson but I am looking forward to seeing the rest next week.


AfL: Active Involvement, Differentiation (through outcome), Positive Influence.

SEAL: Motivation.

ECM: Enjoying and Achieving, Making a positive contribution.

PLTS: Creative Thinkers, Self Managers, Independent Enquirers.

Homework Check

This is a great activity to use when you just need 5 minutes at the start of lesson to get yourself sorted. If you are

like me and teach in a number of different classrooms throughout the day, you can sometimes arrive at your room to find the class waiting for you and no time to sort yourself out before you get them in. This activity allows you to get them in and doing something with little input from you (once they are sued to doing it that is).

It is a simple activity that incorporates peer assessment and assessment for learning into one tidy package (great if OFSTED are in).me and you teach in a number of classrooms, this can be a lifesaver. The number of times I have rushed to my classroom to find my group already there waiting outside so I have no time to get myself sorted before they come in. In these situations the Homework Check is great. It is also great if you have forgotten that you need to set homework for that group and need to think of something meaningful and topic related for them to do for homework that night.

How it works is that the students switch homework with someone else in the class, I use prep booklets with my Key Stage 3 groups which makes this even easier, the students then use the success criteria for that activity and the schools marking symbols to mark the work. They then give it a grade (we use a 1 – 4 system) and use the 2 stars and wish to give feedback. This is then handed back to the author of the work who then has that nights homework session to improve the work based on the feedback their classmate has given them.

Each term I set up “Assessment Pairs” which are pairs of students who will mark each others work when we do peer assessment. These pairs are based on data that I have, such as CATS, SENd data, Marks from assessments, target grades etc. I try to pair a weaker student with a more able so that the low ability student can see what a good piece of work looks like and the more able is able to support the weaker students. This also helps to prevent the marking a friendship rather then marking the work situation.

Besides students just love the opportunity to bring out the coloured pens – or maybe that’s just my lot 🙂


AfL – Effective Feedback, Positive Influence, Active Involvement

SEAL – Motivation , Social Skills

ECM – Enjoying & Achieving, Positive Contribution

PLTS – Reflective Learners, Effective Participators

Purpose – Review, Reflection,

Using a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) – Simple version

I am a big fan of using VLE’s for encouraging independent learning with students. There are so many VLE packages available out there and I am only really familiar with the one we use at my school (FROG) but I hope that my thoughts can transfer to other systems.

In September with the start of the new school year I decided that I wanted to use the VLE more effectively for both my convince as well a further developing the students independent learning. This has happened with some success but it has taken till now for most of the students to get their head around actually checking it and looking  in the right place. Now this in itself is not exactly difficult because as soon as you log into a school computer the VLE home page comes up or if you are outside of school there is a very clear link on the schools website. Unfortunately I seem to have to explain this to the students every time I set them something the requires them to go anywhere near it – so much for the cyber generation :/

The way I have used the VLE is like a shared drive where I can upload files and post links to websites that

Specifically I post lesson resources (after the lesson) along with activity instructions so that if students are absent from the lesson they are able to keep up without me having to email them every time. I also post the homework task sheets on there so that both the students and their parents can see what it is they need to do and no one has the excuse that they didn’t know what the homework was. I also use it in my lessons (particularly when doing a ICT based lesson) By posting the links I want the students to use I can control what they are doing more, as they know that if they are caught on a site that is not specifically set there will be consequences.I want the students to look at, including Youtube videos and Ted Talks. I have also uploaded my resources to share with other teachers in my department, and by changing the accessibility to Staff only means that students can’t access what I don’t want them too.

I use it more extensively with my sixth form students. For A level I not only post lesson resources and homeworks but also have a files called “Supplementary Resources” and “Extension Tasks”. These contain clips, articles and documents that help enhance the students and push them further. The extension task section links to the unit outline which records which

tasks they have completed and they are then discussed during the 1-2-1 meetings they have.

There are still lots of other applications that the VLE offers which I will continue to explore and post about as I get to grips with them and find useful ways to employ them in my teaching.