After seeing the prettiness of takeaway homework menus that teachers had coated Twitter with last year courtesy of @Teachertoolkit amongst others, I felt the need to jump on board the bandwagon. I loved the sense of engagement, the differentiation that it presented to students and the consideration that homework didn’t simply need to be writing on a piece of paper in order to demonstrate curiosity in my subject.
A year on, I have fine tuned and experimented with Takeaway homework menus and I stand categorically by the fact that homework in several cases has turned some students around; students that could not be described as anything but apathetic were showing hidden talents and a real enthusiasm for the work that they produced. The development of autonomy was interesting to note as well, and I plan on blogging about this once I have compiled the final stages of my data to support my comments. As an indicator, students and classes at a massively reduced hand in rate for homework are at 100%, every week, without fail. Students cannot wait to hand in homework, because they are proud of the final product.
I have been working with takeaway homework at the school that I am now at since September. At the start of this term, I developed the concept further, to incorporate a long term project. This is to push the capabilities of students’ new found independence and decision making to a new level; a somewhat experimental moment for me to see what they were able to create and develop when giving very little guidance on what the final product had to look like or include.
Using three titles as a starting point, my classes have been asked to create a project proposal, bring in and discuss their creation at a halfway point so that peers can feedback and critique before students then have another week to complete their final product. The final week requests that they complete an evaluation of their project, including the adaptations and improvements made along the way from their first initial ideas to the final item.
I have received a lot of head shaking from those that do not enjoy the process of homework as much as I do, but I think often, teachers do not realise that if homework could be a student’s opportunity to present a slice of their personality to you, the detentions and chasing tends to fall away. From leaving the format of the homework almost entirely open, my most reluctant learners have been the ones handing in homework early. I have proposals of Minecraft video tutorials (watch out Mr Bruff), music compilation with accompanying song lyrics, developed board games, scripted films, creative pieces such as Dr Frankenstein’s suitcase, a tour of a gothic scene, an extensive Victorian newspaper. I very much look forward to both the products and the measurement of data in relation to my execution of a fantastic idea- the wonder of Twitter!