An new approach to providing effective
Wessex Primary School
• To improve the quality and effectiveness
of homework tasks
• To extend learning by linking homework
to activities completed in the classroom
• To make homework something that
children can take control of, actively
engage with and take pride in
The benefit of thinking skills
Scan 1, act of memorising (visual images).
Scan 2, act of recall
Scans 3 and 4, Processing information,
comparison, decision making.
The results of the experiment were reported in November 2000
What‟s so great about
• They encourage individualism and independence
• They enable you to see the world from the child‟s
• They‟re fun
• They are driven by the child and not the teacher
• They challenge the children and bring them together
• They develop and extend children‟s independence of
• Children take control of, actively engage with and take
pride in their own learning
How will we achieve this?
• Children will receive their Brain Builder and then
have a week and a half to work through the
• Brainbuilder tasks will still be supplemented by
regular reading, word and number work
• There will be opportunities during school time to
review, share and discuss Brain Builder tasks
• Brain Builders will be high profile and high
status in school
So, what does a
„Brainbuilder‟ look like?
This system is used in many schools up and
down the country with huge success and
positive comments from children, parents
and teachers….they are as good as the
children want them to be….
NAME: ________________ DATE:
BRAIN BUILDER This Week‟s Words:
Session Signed? 2
• Familiarise yourself with your child‟s
10 mins „Brain Builder‟. 3
• Attend a meeting that explains about
10 mins 4
the Brain builder and what it means:
10 mins • 14th September at 3.30pm and 6pm. 5
10 mins CHILDREN: 6
• Cover your „Brain Builder Book‟ in a
10 mins 7
way that tells us the important things
10 mins about you. Make it your own and make 8
your name clear!
Parent Comment: THINK ABOUT:
• Photos, words, pictures, memories,
clippings, what you do / don‟t like, Predicted Actual
family, pets, etc…but make sure it will
What will it involve?
• Brain Builders will come home on a Wednesday, to
be returned to school a week and a half later (on a
Monday), when they will be shared in class and
seen by teachers
• The Learning Objective(s) will be clearly stated and
linked to the learning happening in the classroom
• Some suggested activities and ways to approach
the task will be offered – this will be at a level that
reflects the age and needs of the individual child
The rest is down to you and your child!
LO: Learning to tell the time
Make something that someone else
could use to learn to tell the time.
It could be a clock, a game, a
poster, a leaflet, a set of
instructions or anything else you
can think of.
Bring your work to school by Monday
of next week
How can you support your
• Give children time to talk about what they
have to do – just the process of explaining
and discussing the task will help your child to
• Offer ideas on how to present the work.
• Give children a space to work which is away
from other distractions.
How can you support your
• Give homework a high status in your house and
make it a priority.
• Try to set aside specific homework
times/evenings – and make time to work with
• Ensure that some days are homework free.
• Reward excellent work.
• Remind your child that there may not be a
What can we include?
• We will be encouraging the children to be as
creative with their homework as possible.
• They can complete these tasks in any way they
want to as long as it is broadly based on the theme
of the Brain Builder.
• The children can do as many or as few of these
suggestions as they wish, or they can make up
• Draw pictures • Interview a family member
• Label them • Make a collage
• Take photographs • Cut pictures out from
• Write lists magazines
• Stick in food labels • Make a model
• Research from books or the • Draw a diagram
internet • Draw a graph / pictogram
• Write a poem or story • Conduct a survey
…or anything else
they can think of!
• They can display their work in their book
however they wish – painted, coloured, in
different types of writing implement (e.g. gel
pens, biros), in collage, …
• They can include any work they would like to
– poems, stories, information, plays, facts,
instructions, interviews with family members,
lift the flaps, pockets with letters in, pictures
cut out from newspapers and magazines, ...
How much homework
should my child get?
•Children in the Foundation Stage are not included in the DCSF
guidelines for homework and therefore formal homework is not
•The main focus is on the enjoyment and thrill of developing
reading techniques and the learning of phonics (sounds) of the
letters and words.
•This work is judged on an individual basis and is normally most
successful when the teacher and parents liaise closely as to the
•To develop this further, some Brainbuilder tasks will
be set as the year progresses.
YEARS 1 and 2:
• Children in these year groups will get a
suggested range of homework to include
reading, phonics activities and
• The suggested amount of time for this
should equate to about an hour a week.
YEARS 3 and 4:
• The range of homework will include
regular reading and Brainbuilder tasks.
• The suggested time for these year groups
is about an hour and a half per week.
• Little and often is best practice – reading
and spelling will still be a constant
YEARS 5 and 6:
• The range of homework should still include
regular reading and comprehension questions
to extend understanding of the text and the
purpose of the author, as well as Brainbuilder
• Working on these throughout the week is good
practice and preparation for secondary school.
What about spellings?
• A list of age expected spellings is in the front of the
• Encourage children to check the list for words they
need to spell or look in a dictionary
• Specific spelling patterns or topic words will be added
to the brainbuilder sheets
• Encourage your children to practise their spellings
using the Look, Cover, Write, Check method, and writing
sentences to include the words or drawing a picture
also helps to check understanding
What if we are stuck for
• Borrow books from the local library
• Use the Internet if you have it (or your
child could ask to use it at school)
• Look at the world around you
• Ask another parent from your class
• Ask your child‟s class teacher!
• The aim of this work is to encourage our
children to become more independent
learners, be motivated in their own learning
and also to enable them to make links in their
• Adult input is encouraged but please don‟t do
the work for them! Rather; prompt, guide,
suggest and help the children to research.
What do teachers say?
''Definitely one of the best things I've done
in 20 years. There they all were, these
little Y2s, on the playground at 8.45
yesterday comparing work they'd done
over the weekend!''
What do children say….?
• “Hello. my name is Mason. I like doing my learning log
at home and I persevere with it when the going gets
tough. I'm really proud of the work that I did on plants. I
Made a bee that moves from flower to flower carrying
• “Hi. My name is Reneece. I like doing my homework in
my learning log because it's fun. I can stick lots of
things in and use lots of colour. I'm really proud when
my teacher tells me that it's good.”
• “You can make them bright and colourful. It makes it
more exciting and you want to do it.”
• Brain Builders are a partnership between
school and home. For them to be effective
everybody needs to be working towards a
common aim. Good quality homework will help
us to achieve „success for all‟
• Pupils will be given a Brainbuilder book and
their first task will be to make a cover for it……a
unique book for their unique learning journey
• There will be an opportunity for parents to feedback
their thoughts about Brain Builders later in the year so
that we can measure the impact on learning
• For some children, it will take a while to adjust – please
encourage them during this time
• If staff feel that there are additional tasks that your
child needs or if there are any concerns, we will discuss
this with you
• If there is a demand for it, we may offer a „Brainbuilder
Club‟ for pupils to be able to do some of their work after
• If you have any questions in the meantime please ask!!!
SKILLS FOR LIFE
•Be proud of their learning
•Be eager to share
•Develop learning life skills