Archive for February 2015

Take Away Homework Menu   1 comment

Take Away menu side 2I’ve been using this with my GCSE Chemists. This is a good group with many self-motivated students.Using this sort of homework where they have the choice has enabled some of them to produce truly wonderful pieces of work. Work that they would have grumbled about if I had set it as something that had to be done. It is working less well with the middle ability who on the whole try to choose the easiest ones. Getting some of the less motivated students to produce work of the level of challenge required has also been a challenge.


Take Away menu side 1
What I really like about this type of homework is its ability to save me time and work load. I set these up at the start of term and it produced good quality homework without me having to think about it each week. When we did a student voice survey on homework many students said they like choice and also homeworks that are directly related to the classwork and going over it again. This helps with this no end. I also set other specific homeworks on some weeks where there is something specific I want them to learn. (For example I am helping them learn to use flashcards for revision)

I will be re-launching it with this new revised menu. I’ll let you know how we get on.


Below is a pdf version, contact me through twitter @agittner if you would like an editable version.

Chemistry homework menu version 2


Posted February 22, 2015 by agittner in Uncategorized

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School Improvement.   1 comment

Our headteacher, Steve Davies, is a great proponent of the thinking of William Edwards Deming. Given half a chance he will delight in sharing his enthusiasm, for hours.  Deming was the American industrialist mathematician whose thinking revolutionised the manufacturing industries of America and Japan.  Deming’s thinking also developed into the ideas behind Total Quality Management. With it we are making profound but sustainable improvements in teaching and learning. It goes against the grain of many leadership styles and is totally against the thinking of some of the academy chains. Its power for change is profound; so profound I don’t fully understand why it is not cited more often for improving schools. He summarises his ideas into his 14 Points for Management.  These are taken from; here

1. Create constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service, with the aim to become competitive and to stay in business, and to provide jobs.

2. Adopt the new philosophy. We are in a new economic age. Western management must awaken to the challenge, must learn their responsibilities, and take on leadership for change.

3. Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality. Eliminate the need for inspection on a mass basis by building quality into the product in the first place.

4. End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price tag. Instead, minimize total cost. Move toward a single supplier for any one item, on a long-term relationship of loyalty and trust.

5. Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service, to improve quality and productivity, and thus constantly decrease costs.

6. Institute training on the job.

7. Institute leadership (see Point 12 and Ch. 8). The aim of supervision should be to help people and machines and gadgets to do a better job. Supervision of management is in need of overhaul, as well as supervision of production workers.

8. Drive out fear, so that everyone may work effectively for the company (see Ch. 3).

9. Break down barriers between departments. People in research, design, sales, and production must work as a team, to foresee problems of production and in use that may be encountered with the product or service.

10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets for the work force asking for zero defects and new levels of productivity. Such exhortations only create adversarial relationships, as the bulk of the causes of low quality and low productivity belong to the system and thus lie beyond the power of the work force.

  • Eliminate work standards (quotas) on the factory floor. Substitute leadership.
  • Eliminate management by objective. Eliminate management by numbers, numerical goals. Substitute leadership.

11. Remove barriers that rob the hourly worker of his right to pride of workmanship. The responsibility of supervisors must be changed from sheer numbers to quality.

12. Remove barriers that rob people in management and in engineering of their right to pride of workmanship. This means, inter alia, abolishment of the annual or merit rating and of management by objective .13. Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement.

14. Put everybody in the company to work to accomplish the transformation. The transformation is everybody’s job.

Initially when I started to think about this blog post I intended to re-write each point into education speak and develop each principle and comment on its relevance to schools. In the end I decided that they deserve to stand on their own.

Posted February 13, 2015 by agittner in Uncategorized