01 May 2015
This week the homework is talk time and is due Wednesday 06 May:
What policies would you introduce?
This week, we’ve been learning about the general election and are hoping to hold our own election debate with Year 5 next week.
Chat with your child about what policies they believe should be introduced to their parties (Pure Progress and New Day UK). Your child will need to make notes as evidence of their discussion at home and as preparation for discussions in class next Wednesday.
24 April 2015
The homework this week is practice makes perfect and is due Wednesday 29 April:
I can understand what I’ve read.
This homework is a chance for your child to practise their comprehension skills – understanding what they’ve read.
Your child has been given a text accompanied by some questions. It’s important that your child frequently refers back to the text to locate information and to identify inferences where evident (that’s the bit where they can ‘read between the lines’ to uncover meaning).
Please aim for this to be an independent task for your child; checking and going through the answers once complete with your child is much more valuable than pointing out the answer in the first place.
If you’ve got any questions, you know you can come and ask!
27 March 2015
The homework this week is creative and is due on Wednesday 01 April:
I can show what I’ve learnt during curriculum week.
This week at school, it’s been a themed curriculum week where each day has been a subject and then on Thursday and Friday your child has moved throughout the school in mixed classes from Reception to Year 6, learning some new subjects like Mandarin and Urdu.
The homework requires your child to show what they’ve learnt in a creative way. Ideas could range from:
- a diary recounting each day
- a jigsaw where each piece makes up each subject
- a news interview describing the week
20 March 2015
The homework this week is creative and is due Wednesday 25 March:
I can design a programme for the Time Lord.
This is your child’s chance to design a front cover for our Time Lord production. Each child has been given a template for how large the design can be, and the best design from Year 3 and Year 4 will be published ready for our performances.
Children can use any media they like: coloured pencils, felt-tip pens or anything else they choose. Remember, it must be photocopiable so anything 3D won’t be suitable.
13 March 2015
This week’s homework is talk time and is due Wednesday 18 March:
I know how to solve problems peacefully.
This homework encourages your child to discuss ways in which they can solve problems. Problems may range from friendship problems and fall-outs to mathematical problems in the classroom environment, so be sure to include these types of problems in your conversation.
06 March 2015
This week, we give children a choice between two creative homework activities. They have a strong cultural or spiritual link and are due in on Wednesday 11 March.
I can respond to a book.
As it’s recently been World Book Day, we’d like children to respond in some way to a book. Your child can be as creative as (s)he likes! Here are a few ideas:
- A book review – a summary of the plot, characters, who it’s suitable for and why they like it
- A comic strip version of the book
- An alternative ending
- A character description of the main villain
- A new front cover
- A model of a scene from the book
or, your child might prefer this homework:
I know the importance of religious books.
We invite children to respond to the sentence above. Holy books are a key feature of different world religions. You may want to research the importance of one, two or all of these religious books and discuss the ways they are regarded, handled and read by members of faith groups. You might also consider the traditions associated with these holy books.
The holy books might include:
- the Christian holy book, the Bible
- the Jewish holy book, the Torah
- the Muslim holy book, the Qur’an
- the Sikh holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib
Time to learn your times tables
Practising times tables at home is really important. Knowing times tables facts really helps your child to feel confident in Maths, and enables them to make progress in areas such as calculating, fractions… even shape work can involve times tables – when we think about angles, for example.
The National Curriculum sets out expectations for times tables knowledge:
- Year 2: recall and use multiplication and division facts for the 2, 5 and 10 multiplication tables, including recognising odd and even numbers
- Year 3: recall and use multiplication and division facts for the 3, 4 and 8 multiplication tables
- Year 4: recall multiplication and division facts for multiplication tables up to 12 × 12
If your child is in Year 5 or 6, they need to know all the tables facts so they can start thinking about prime numbers, factors etc. Knowing the tables facts (including division) means having rapid recall – being able to say the answer within about five seconds, not counting through the times tables to work it out.
Each week, your child is asked to learn a particular times table. We might also work on a pair of tables which are related, such as x4s and x8.
Please make sure your child practises as home: in the car, in the bath, on the way to school, straight after school as a matter of routine. Your child needs to know that something like this involves effort and there aren’t any easy solutions!
It’s really helpful to test them two or three times during the week to make sure their ‘score’ improves, and also try to build in some multiplication and division games and references:
- play ‘tables ping-pong‘, where you and your child counts through a times tables forwards and backwards, alternating the counting: 0, 4,8, 12, 16, 20…
- look out for arrays, where you see a grid of something: eggs in a carton is a simple 2 x 3 or 3 x 2 array, and there are arrays on your mobile phone (to log on to mobile phones, you might see a 3 x 3 array – a square number), on buildings (the window panes of a block of flats are useful for larger numbers), tiles in your bathroom, chocolate and other food products…
- download an app to practise on a phone or tablet (there are loads of free ones)
- talk about when you use times tables knowledge
27 February 2015
This week’s homework is creative and is due Wednesday 04 March:
I can respond to a piece of art.
Your child has been given a copy of a piece of art we’ve been looking at in class – a watercolour by Liverpudlian artist Mike Knowles: Liverpool and Mersey from Hannemans Hospital. The artist painted the art whilst on the roof of Hannemans Hospital (so it links slightly with our Medicine through the Ages time travel topic..!).
The homework requires your child to respond to the art anyway they choose to. Ideas could be:
- a poem (perhaps about the stormy weather in the painting)
- their own interpretation of the picture using a different medium (pencil, pastel, chalk etc)
- a photograph of a view from the top of something (like the top of a slide, a bedroom window or anything else which is safe!)
- researching other artworks by the same artist and writing a report
- investigating the geography of Liverpool
Next week, parents are invited to come and see how we evaluate homework on Wednesday 04 March at 2:45pm. This would be a great opportunity to see how we mark and comment upon homework as a whole class as well as the standards which are presented.
I hope to see you next week!
Supporting your child’s maths at home
This article is a thought-provoking read, and might inspire you to support your child in different ways; in it, Professor Jo Boaler sets out this list of top tips for parents who want to support their child in Maths:
- Encourage children to play maths puzzles and games at home. Anything with a dice will help them enjoy maths and develop numeracy and logic skills.
- Never tell children they are wrong when they are working on maths problems. There is always some logic to what they are doing. So if your child multiplies three by four and gets seven, try: “Oh I see what you are thinking, you are using what you know about addition to add three and four. When we multiply we have four groups of three…”
- Maths is not about speed. In younger years, forcing kids to work fast on maths is the best way to start maths anxiety, especially among girls.
- Don’t tell your children you were bad at maths at school. Or that you disliked it. This is especially important if you are a mother.
- Encourage number sense*. What separates high and low achievers in primary school is number sense.
- Encourage a “growth mindset” – the idea that ability changes as you work more and learn more.
- For younger children, the ‘five-ness’ of five and then the ‘ten-ness’ of ten is really important: five fingers, five toes, five displayed on a dice, five split into 4 and one more, five split into three and two…
- For older children, if they are asked to add up 27 and 16, when they have number sense they can break the numbers apart and use them flexibly – take three from the 16 and add it to 27 to make 30, then add on the remaining 13 to make 43.
Number sense is not something you can get from simply being given an extra worksheet for homework – it develops from play, discussion and observation of number in the world around them.
More homework? No – more encouragement
We had a record number of parents / carers who attended parents’ evenings this week – thank you to all who showed up.
A small number of parents asked for more homework. Please bear in mind we asked your views about homework in the Annual Survey last year, and the findings were quite mixed: some thought there was too much whilst about the same proportion thought there was not enough. The majority agreed with us: the amount of homework we set is about right.
Taken from our Homework Policy, this is our rationale for giving homework:
Educational experience that a school by itself provides is limited; children benefit from wider, complementary experiences out of school. However, some prompts and guidance from school can direct these experiences and develop greater learning. We see homework as an important example of cooperation between teachers and parents / carers. An aim of our teaching is to promote independent learners; homework is one of the ways in which children can acquire the skill of independent learning.
We recognise the importance of quality family time; this policy should help to promote opportunities to be creative rather than labour over frequent worksheets or carry out activities that pupils and / or parents / carers may not understand.
Whilst homework develops children’s learning and independence, quality family time, play and free time are also important. Homework should not prevent children from taking part in wider activities such as those offered by out-of-school clubs and other organisations. Children develop their interests and skills to the full only when parents/carers encourage them to make maximum use of the opportunities available outside school.
Also in our Homework Policy is this statement:
We believe the frequency of homework set out here provides the right balance for pupils and meets the expectations of most parents (whose opinions we sought in the Annual Survey, 2014). Staff may occasionally provide additional homework; this will amount to two or three extra pieces across the year. As an alternative, staff will be happy to suggest to parents other ways they can support their child’s learning at home.
Please do not expect extra homework for you child to be set as a matter of routine. Governors want to protect teachers work / life balance, but – importantly – we believe extra homework would not be helpful for most pupils.