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'Nocturnal Animals' themed day... KS1 SATs

Discussion in 'Primary' started by anna_smith, May 4, 2009.

  1. I am trying to plan an engaging day focusing on noctural animals to give the children enough facts to write in their reports after half term.
    Ideas so far...
    Children wear pyjamas and pretend it's night time.
    Listen to a bed time story - e.g. Owl Babies
    Go on a nocturnal animal search with torches in our role play cave. (pictures off **********)
    Decorate a pillow case with a nocturnal animal design using fabric pens/make paper plate owls.
    Watch some video clips, look at non-fiction books and find out interesting facts about nocturnal animals.

    What do people think? Would this work? Also I haven't got access to the teacher guide at the moment.... can the children write their reports just about nocturnal animals and none of the other night time themes e.g. jobs etc.

  2. SATS are to write a report on Night time so nocturnal animals could be a paragraph in it, i did session on people who work at night, places opened at night, moon and nightsky, moon landing, day and night (movement of earth around the sun) - hope my kids will chose some info they remembered and enjoyed and write well - i do hope
    for a character i will do Plop as we are reading the owl who is afraid of the dark - my topic planning was based on the story (each para is about diff aspect and ideas of night)
    i do hope it will work
  3. Oh really? Can I not get them to write about nocturnal animals and then write a paragraph about each different animal?
    I am going to go get the teacher book out of the head teachers office tom and have a good read!
  4. 2bgr8

    2bgr8 New commenter

    Hi Oingy
    Just wondering if your children have done the character description of Plop yet? I'm considering doing the same thing with mine as we are reading the book at the moment. How did they do?

  5. Hi I work inYr 2 and my teacher decided that it would be 'fun' to have a sleepover in school ( with about 50 children !! ) and actually observe nocturnal animals ( hopefully ) as we have a small wooded area on the edge of the school field, giving the children first hand experience.We're also going to watch Stella Luna dvd.
    You may also find
    helpful and the following song about nocturnal animals goes to the tune of the Addams family.
    our children love it.
  6. No offence and the ideas her are lovely BUT doesn't the guidance say you shouldn't do any of this sort of build up because it doesn't then lead to work which shows what the children are capable of doing independently? Feeling sorry for the Y3 teachers who then have to show added value!
  7. Hi there,
    To an extent I would agree with you; however, if the children don't know anything about night-time, how on earth are we expected to get any writing from them whatsoever?!
    We have done our SAT's now and, with a few activities in the weeks before, we got some really lovely writing - we didn't do anything beforehand about HOW to write, or sentence structure, or punctuation or anything, we simply improved their knowledge of the topic! I for one fully believe that without that input, I wouldn't have seen writing that is as good as other writing they had previously done! The children need to be enthused by the topic, and they need to actually learn - that doesn't stop in Year 3, so i'm sure that VA isn't a problem at all - that's what we are ALL here for, surely?
    PS - how did everyone's character descriptions go? We did The Twits too, and the vocabulary from the children was beyond superb!

  8. cambsgirl I hear what you are saying and people that know me, know that I am absolutely passionate about enthusing children with the writing bug.
    As I said earlier, I think there are lovely ideas here - really inspired and I wouldn't want to knock that at all. However, the guidelines simply do not allow for the build up of the kind talked about on this thread and you don't have to look very far to find threads full of Y3 teachers who despair of achieving VA because the preparation in Y2 has led to inflated scores which, as you yourself say, could never be achieved if children were given the report to write independently as they are in KS2. Who stands to gain from this? Not Y3 colleagues. Not Y6 colleagues come to that who are under even more pressure to show added value from KS1 scores. And I really don't think it is for the children - can't see how masking where they're really at helps them at all.

  9. Hi again,
    I must admit I do agree with you in terms of inflated results sucking for Y3 and Y6 teachers, I wouldn't want to compromise REAL figures at all! I think what I really meant was that with any other piece of writing we do throughout the year, we spend a few days building up to it, and with that input we achieve good writing so, without the input for SAT's, the writing we would get would probably be worse than normal! I think it's a delicate balance with giving a normal amount of input before writing and too much input. I definately wouldn't want to give the Y3 and Y6 teachers any more challenges than they already face, and I hope (fingers crossed) that with continued input in the older year groups, their writing would just as interesting as we have seen, and their progress would be just as good.
    Hmm... I hope that makes sense!
    PS - I do agree as well, some of the ideas were pretty good, and for other pieces of non SAT writing would rock!
  10. Done them last week, not too bad at all, but a mental note to myself to teach and do a character portrait more ofter through the year so they become more familiar with it. I'm glad it was a short task as there was not too much depth to their writing though
  11. SATS supposed to assess their english skills not science so prep for nocturnal writing is ok as long as the report and characted description wasn't 'spoon fed'. if they got some facts mixed up in their writing it didnt matter as long as the grammar was ok etc
  12. oingy this is a very naive view - I can only assume that you know very little about the process of writing if you are suggesting that this preparation will not have a huge impact on the quality of the chidren's writing.
  13. I don't want to give unfair advantage to my children. I thought it was ok to do some input about Nocturnal animals before the SATs. How else would my children be able to write a report about them? I never intended to do any written work or report writing about them. I just wanted some fun activities to teach the children what nocturnal animals are. Surely the SATs piece assesses their literacy skills and use of language rather than knowledge of nocturnal animals. But isn't it a bit unfair to expect children to write about them if they know no facts?
    What input have other Year 2 teachers done?
  14. I agree- we didn't do any input on writing,especially not report writing etc, we just did a couple of fun activities so they actually learnt something about night-time! Considering the children are normally asleep at night-time, they need to have some sort of general knowledge - not to spoon feed into them for SAT's, but so they know life does go on when they are asleep!
  15. What kind of activities did you do?
    We are going to play some quiz type games i think.
  16. The guidance for the writing tasks says that neither genre should be taught in the week before you do the writing itself, although they may have been taught these as part of the key stage 1 national curriculum. Also they should not have a written model in front of them as they work (in their books or as part of a display).
    There are no prohibitions about <u>content</u> input.
    In fact, the guidance for the night and day task suggests that children could be allowed go to the book corner to check facts and then go back to their writing... Sounds like a recipe for noise and distraction to me and not an option I'm likely to be taking up, although that's largely because I'm doing the 2007 tasks!
    At a day's training run by our local moderation team earlier in the year, one of the things we discussed was how to ensure reasonable subject knowledge without coaching in the actual tasks.
    They seemed to feel quite strongly that CONTENT knowledge was an important part of preparation - lots of discussion about linking to science topics etc.
    They just emphasised the proviso that we must not teach the genres too close to the tasks or practice the actual tasks beforehand!
  17. Thank you for your reply. So fun activities to help the children learn about nocturnal animals should be ok. As long as we don't write any up or create reports ( which I had not planned pn doing).
    I read the part about the book corner... I am not even going to attempt that with my class. When they learnt about reports weeks ago (it is a Year 2 Unit - I haven't just taught it due to SATs) they looked at non-fiction books and I saw a few 'similiar' sentences in their own writing where they had taken a look at the non fiction book and gone back to their table.

    Cathyd what kind of input have you/will you be doing?

  18. The story-writing has been worked on off-and-on throughout the year.
    As far as the riddle goes, I haven't taught it directly, but our non-fiction work in Literacy and our ICT research work last half term was based around animals. I like using the Northumberland NGFL All About Animals database. It gives 6 categories of info for each animal - appearance, diet, habitat, size, young, other interesting information (or something like that). Hopefully the children will be able to remember enough facts to write more than 3 clues about their chosen animal when we do the actual riddle (6 would be nice!)
    Last year one of my girls found out from a Kids Geographic magazine that a koala effectively has 2 thumbs on each hand - 3 normal digits and 2 opposable ones. She was completely blown away by it. Knowing that fact didn't make her sentence structure or adjective choices any better, but she was motivated to have a good go at the task because she had something interesting she wanted to write about.
    I had planned to get all the SATs stuff done before half term, but then OFSTED turned up and I didn't think they'd appreciate doing an observation of me adminstering tests and tasks...?! I did manage to get the maths and reading done by half term, but I will need to do the writing next week.
    I'd stopped the Lit / ICT unit well before the time I'd originally planned to do the writing tasks and done some work on poems (vaguely animal themed for the sake of consistency) up until half term.
    The only direct input they'll get for the writing tasks will be the on-the-day input along the lines of the suggestions in the Teacher's Handbook.
    For the story intro I have an IWB presentation I bought from the Literacy Matters website a couple of years ago and a box full of decorative pebbles from a local garden centre...
    If you have any worries about what you have in mind, a phone call to whoever is responsible for Moderation at your LEA might be worthwhile... Ours have been very approachable and helpful when we've had queries.
    C x
  19. I think you will find the guidance suggested this kind of activity! They did no work on reports just facts!! You need to be creative in your teaching to get the best results x
  20. The activites talked about on thread do not mask their true levels for the Year 3 teacher they just give the children some subject knowledge so they can actually write a report! I don t think it would have been recommended in the Teacher Guide if it was going to impact on Year 3 teachers. Year 2 teachers have OFSTED and LA breathing down their backs for raised levels so surely a day like this can only help inspire them to write, it worked wonders in our school...

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