New academic year checklist - Sparx Classroom

To do before the end of the academic year

✅  Draft new Schemes of Learning

✅  Organise devices

✅  Plan communication for both existing and new parents and carers

✅  Plan how to get new students logged in

To do at the start of the new academic year

✅  Add new staff to your Sparx site

✅  Finish setting up your classes

✅  Train any new staff

✅  Start planning your lessons

✅  Introduce (or reintroduce) Sparx to your students

✅  Reintroduce SLT to Sparx Maths

Additional activities

✅  Think about individual and department practices

✅ Plan motivation and monitoring strategies

✅  Choose the best homework hand in and hand out days

✅  Look out for updates

To do before the end of the academic year

✅  Draft new Schemes of Learning

June-August 2021: We are making a broad range of improvements to Scheme of Learning (SoL) Builder and Homework Planner during this time, making it easier for you to build and manage your schemes throughout the school year, and giving you greater flexibility and visibility of what is going into homework and when you can set it.

If you want to build your SoLs before these changes take place then please follow these instructions:

      1. Create a draft of any SoLs you want to use in the next academic year but assign them to the current academic year for now.
      2. Focus on getting the ordering of your topics correct and don't worry too much about holiday weeks for now - you will be able to add these later.
      3. Name your SoLs appropriately, for example by adding (21/22) to the name so that you know it will be for next year.

When you start your new academic year you will be able to find any SoLs you made in a new 'Archive' section and copy them into your new year. We will send out more details of how to do this nearer the time.

✅  Organise devices

Students need a device each for every lesson they do using Sparx Classroom so plan how you will arrange these in the new year, including charging facilities.

✅  Plan how to get new students logged in

If you have new students or classes starting then you will need to plan when you will have your first lesson for each class and when you will share how to use homework before it is set.

Remember that once a homework is set it can't be deleted so make sure students are ready to go before you turn homework on.

You might find the following resources useful:

You might also want to plan how to:

      • Let students know your expectations for completing homework on time right from the start.
      • Share your chosen rewards system with your students

✅  Plan communication for both existing and new parents and carers

There are a few key messages to share with parents and carers:

    • That students will be using Sparx in their lessons
    • That Sparx homework is personalised to their child, and should offer them just the right level of challenge, based on the topics that their teacher has set.
    • That parents and carers should not help their child with their homework because it may become too hard

Have a look at our resource section for parents for more information: Documents for parents

To do at the start of the new academic year

✅  Add new staff members to your Sparx site

If new staff have joined at the beginning of a new academic year (or indeed any time of year) you will need to add them to your Sparx site.

Find out how to do this here: How to add or edit staff members, and assign them to classes

✅  Finish setting up your classes

At the start of a new academic year you will need to complete some additional tasks to set up your classes.

MIS Schools

How to set the first homework (MIS) - Video

How to set up and manage classes with an MIS integration - Article

Non-MIS Schools

Follow these steps to get your classes ready:

1. Create all of your classes for the new academic year. Find out how using this video: Create your classes

2. Add any NEW students to your site using a CSV upload. Students added in this way will be automatically added to their classes. Find out how here: How to uploads students via CSV import - video

3. Students from previous years will have been moved automatically to a group called No Class at the end of the previous academic year. You will need to move these students to their new classes manually. Find out how here: How to add students to a class, or move from one class to another

4. Once you have got all of your students in the correct classes you can finish off the details using the following video: How to set your first homework (Non-MIS) - video

✅  Train any new staff

If you have new staff then we highly recommend you set aside plenty of time to train your team. We have the following resources available to help you train and we also run webinars throughout the year that you can attend for free.

Training videos

Webinars

✅  Start planning your lessons

Prepare and run some lessons and note down the lesson codes ready to share with your classes. Use our Building a lesson - article if you need a reminder of how to do this.

✅  Introduce (or reintroduce) Sparx to your students

    • Use plans you made at the end of the last academic year to get your students logged in
    • Explain what Bookwork checks in Sparx are: Student Bookwork video
    • Introduce students to Sparx Classroom in your first lessons
    • Explain what Sparx homework is and that, unlike in Sparx Classroom, all questions are personalised, and how that means students are expected to answer 100% of questions correctly because they are at the right level for them
    • You might want to use the following login details to show/explain Sparx Homework to your students, but remember, they won't see these particular questions when they log in as themselves:
      • Url: demo.sparxmaths.uk
      • Username: demostudent
      • Password: tiny28car

    ✅  Reintroduce SLT to Sparx

    Sparx works best when it has a high profile in school because it helps to demonstrate to students that this is work with value and therefore worth doing regularly and well. We've heard from schools who use Sparx, that working alongside the leadership team is vital in embedding the use of Sparx within your department. Here are some of the ways your SLT could support your work:

      • Joining with the maths department in the belief that every student can get 100% of their homework answers correct because of Sparx personalisation
      • Supporting the HoD in picking the best hand in and hand out days (as mentioned in point 2) even if they are different to what was originally planned
      • Hosting assemblies and rewards ceremonies for individuals and classes
      • Helping to offer after school clubs with devices for students to use

    Additional activities

    ✅  Think about individual and department practices

    Decide if an agreement is needed amongst all teachers about:

      • Whether to use Sparx Starters and Plenaries in lessons
      • How planning lessons and following the Scheme of Learning will work for shared classes

    For individuals think about:

      • How you will get students to collect their devices and hand them in at the end of the lesson
      • When you will end your lessons. Objectives will only be added to Sparx Homework automatically if they are taught and the lesson has been ended. Find out more:

    ✅  Plan motivation and monitoring strategies

    How will you link Sparx with your school reward policy?

    Research shows that using Sparx Homework actively for an hour each week will improve progress in maths. Sparx schools have come up with a range of methods to help motivate students to complete 100% of their homework each week which we have summarised in this article: Motivating students to complete homework on time

    How will you monitor homework completion?

    Our Homework report can be used to view and analyse data on homework completion to aid you in tracking how students are doing and to identify students and groups that would benefit from extra support. You can find out more about the data available in the following articles:

    ✅  Choose the best homework hand in and hand out days

    We recommend setting your homework hand out and hand in day to be towards the end of the week. Doing so means that there is plenty of time at the start of the week for teachers to look at the hand-in page to see which students can be praised and rewarded for completing their work early, and which students need a reminder to complete their work on time.

    ✅  Look out for updates

    We are always improving Sparx based on your feedback and this means we often have new information to share with you. Look out for updates in the What's new section at the top of the screen when you are logged in to Sparx: