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Teaching Year 6 2011-2012...can anyone with experience of year 6 offer advice?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by violet_86, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. Hey everyone
    I am going to be teaching Year 6 in September and have only taught Year 3 4 and 5 before.
    I have a lot of pressure to achieve a high percentage of combined Maths and English L4 and I am aware of how quickly the SATs come up.

    I'm wondering if anyone can give me any words of advice, especially if they have experience within Year 6. I know some schools still 'teach to the test' and I am reluctant to do this however from your experience do you all manage to see the year through and know that you've covered everything?Hope it makes sense what I am asking. I know Year 6 is a tough year to teach and I know my children which is a bonus. Its just the things that I am unaware of until I teach that particular year.
  2. Hi Violet,
    September will be my first year in Year 6, too. I've tried to ask the current Year 6 teachers the odd question about key things that were on my mind:
    • We had a planning staff meeting for our 'new' year groups, so I asked them there about how they fitted everything in - 'revision' for a couple of weeks after Easter, make sure we've covered all the genres in the preceding terms. Use assessment to find gaps and spend time teaching them, rather than 'blanket' revision.
    • I asked the current Year 6 TA - who I'll be working with next year - to email me a list of the 'jobs' Year 6 do, so I didn't miss anything out!
    Try asking your current / previous Year 6 teachers to put your mind at rest - and so you can enjoy the summer!
  3. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Sats don't come up all that quickly. You have two full terms before you need to worry about them, do not even think about them until at least February. Just follow the schemes of work for year 6 in your school, keep an eye on the NC for Englsih and Maths and you will have covered all that you need. In theory there should be no more pressure on you than any other teacher. You class need to make 2 or more sublevels of progress the same as any other.
    Year 6 is not really tougher than any other. Certainly my own class this year is nothing like as hard tot each as either of the year 5 classes, or year 4 classes. Be clear and firm, but allow a bit of negotiation over things you don't feel so strongly about.
    I'm moving to KS1 for the first time in 15 years and so know what you mean. But you won't be on your own. you have colleagues, teachers and TAs, who can help you. Keep asking them.

    And enjoy the bonus of not having to mark end of year assessments!

  4. And enjoy the bonus of not having to mark end of year assessments... unless your head asks you to mark the Year 5 tests for 'transition purposes!' Always a winner!
  5. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Then you tell them to &^&^**&^*

    Well obviously not actually do so, but definitely throw a (mature and professional) strop about it.
  6. Thank you all for your replies. I feel a bit better about it now. The reason I worry is that they are a particularly low year 6 and we need to come out above floor targets. I will do my utmost to get them there but we shall see. Thanks for your ideas.
    Violet x
  7. If they are a low achieving Year 6 as far as literacy is concerned, you could consider participating in my Y6 literacy research project - see the 2012 Y6 Literacy research thread. Every predicted L3 is virtually guaranteed L4 AND it costs nothing!

  8. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Make sure you do a clear and obvious assessment early in the Autumn term. Then add on 2 sublevels for each child and work out the percentages at each level. Have a frank discussion with your HT about where they will be and then the support needed to get them there. If you can do all this before the end of Sept, you will keep yourself covered should they not reach floor targets next summer.

    Worry not though, they obviously thought you were fab and so you must be!
  9. I know lots of people don't think about SATs until February but you should be aware that many schools start training for SATs from September and will be doing weekly comprehension tasks and writing tasks to train them up. I'm not sure whether I agree with it, but there's no doubt it works. We set by level in my school and use the CPG practice SATs papers for revision:
    The children are involved in marking the work using the mark schemes and are well aware of what they should do to achieve the next level. They love Y6 in our school so it's not depriving them of their childhood (I know we'll be accused of this!) and our results are great.
  10. Hi
    I am new to yr6 and I am an NQT so really stressing about yr6 as I just don't know what to expect. I want to assess the children straight away so I see what they can do and what they may have forgot over summer. How do I go about this whilst getting to know them?
  11. razziegyp

    razziegyp New commenter

    We do an old Year 6 Sats paper just as soon as we can...like 2nd week in. I find it invaluable for a more accurate assessment as the Yr 5 optional Sat gives inflated marks I feel. Also come March and April I don't mind admitting that mine cover as many old papers as we can fit in ......the kids get really keen to beat their previous scores and almost seem to enjoy the challenge........ bizarrely!!
  12. Thanks razziegyp
    What type of activities should I do in the first week? I am trying to get some planning done at the moment and I am struggling to come up with any ideas for lessons, apart for behaviour/routine etc.
  13. razziegyp

    razziegyp New commenter

    I always get straight stuck in.....in Maths: reading, writing, ordering numbers, rounding to 10, 100 and 1000, multiplying by 10, 100, 1000 and dividing by same etc....... Literacy: a lot of independent writing (often with a personal bias so you can get to know them) so you can assess their natural understanding of punctuation and sentence construction.........get your project going in the afternoons......... some Circle time that results in a class charter..........rights and responsibilities............loads of stuff to do in that first week!!
    And I would advise any Yr 6 teacher to keep well on top of their Literacy marking this year, as who knows what form the writing assessment is going to take come May.........
  14. angel-74

    angel-74 New commenter

    Hi new to year 6 and would like to use an old SATs paper to assess the new class - what year of SATs would give me a good honest level dont want to go too far back but would like to use the newest tests nearer to the time. Hope this makes sense - thank you for any help.
  15. razziegyp

    razziegyp New commenter

    I started with 2005 or 2006 last year, can't quite remember, but have used as far back as 2003 in practice. Good luck!
  16. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    I did a lot of supply for a very experienced head of year 6, who gained promotion to dep head during last year. Some of the tasks i taught for him included:
    He did a lot of prep for the reading SATs paper during guided reading, particularly on how to give a 3 mark answer.
    Get them used to using such websites as BBC bitesize to help them prepare. The school was picked as a Science SAT samplar so there was a lot of prep for Science after they heard (so be prepared for that, just in case it happens)
    Find out what happens regarding calculaotrs for the SATS. If they need their own, get them used to working out percentages on their OWN calculator from the start. If they all use a school calc, then get practicing with them.
    Really come down hard on "silly mistakes" they need to understand that they cannot get top levels if they lost even three marks. So lots of practice at checking their own (and their peers') work, highlighting errors/improvements that they can find.
    Right up to GCSE pupils get told to "check their work" at the end of an exam, but very rarely get taught how to do it. Classes that I taught on supply that have been coached on checking and using highlighters (in all year groups) have a real advantage in tests! and really learn how to improve their work and achieve their individual targets.
    And don't forget to have fun with them too. They still love stickers etc, many teachers assume that odler children don't want them, in my experience up to year 11, this is not true!
    The best leavers speech (to year 11), I ever heard was something like:
    "these exams are important, but there are far more important things to come in your life. So do your absolute best but never forget the really important things such as your friends and family!"
  17. I was in the same position as you last September. I had taught the class in year 2, 4 and then had them again in year 6. It's a great position to be in and the team work it creates in the build up to SATs is invaluable. I'm sure they will 'pull it out the bag'!

    Just wait until the leavers' assembly....nothing will prepare you for that!

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