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Discussion in 'Primary' started by tpt51, Apr 15, 2012.
What is everyone's plan of action for the next 4 weeks? Do you feel prepared?
My plan started in september! Always make sure you have taught the new stuff by easter - with nothing new to teach I can concetrate on the areas the class feel they need to look at again. I asked them for their top 5 before the hols and have planned sessions over the next 4 weeks to go over what they have highlighted. Lots of writing practice and marking (for me) from the old longer pieces of writing. Reading has been joggin along nicely with a practice paper every 2 weeks since christmas and the class will be doing the last couple of maths papers in timed conditions - we have been using old questions as starters and plenaries since christmas too.
the only thing keeping me awake is the level 6 maths papers, have a small group sitting last years in the first week so i can fill any gaps in their understanding.
slow and steady, little and often has always worked for me, i hope i don't then pass on the stress to the class, they have seen enough question types not to panic and they can do their best.
will likely get a lot of stick for 'teaching to the test' but the test is what is measured and in a satisfactory school Y6 have to jump through a few hoops - it's my job to make sure they can jump to their best
Yep, sounds pretty much exactly what is going on! Would massively disagree that you need to restrict the curriculum this way because you are a satisfactory school. Will this children leave primary school with a genuine excitement of education or do they think learning is all about sitting a test?
Best way for them to avoid this is to keep the curriculum alive.
I'm all for practice papers every now and then but every 2 weeks?! Did that tell you anything new each time? If it was aimed at helping them how to answer the questions, why not do that in guided sessions?
This is not aimed at personally. I know there are plemty of schools out there who do the same and lots that will probably disagree with me too!
We were in the same boat in terms of Ofsted gradings but made the leap to a child led curriculum (where they choose the topics) and all Reading and Writing is linked to their chosen topic - not random previous reading and writing SATs papers. Interestingly, progress increased and this was reflected in attainment too. We were inspected last month and no longer a 'satisfactory' school.
We're the opposite! Two more weeks of normal Literacy and Numeracy ( although we don't teach the framework units anyway) before the last two weeks before SATs when we do start to look at past papers. We've previously had 2 "assessment weeks" ( one in November and one in February) where we use old papers so they are familiar with the format of questions and marking schemes, so apart from the questions we use in plenaries etc, we don't do much more, just make sure we have covered all the areas we need to.
The last two weeks however we will go through reading comps, writing questions and maths papers ( but not in "test" conditions ) and maybe one more "test" . The children sitting the L6 papers will just look at some of those in the lessons.
I'm taking over a year 6 class tomorrow, as the previous teacher retired at easter. I think the school have been in revision mode since the beginning of the year and I've been given a list of Maths/Literacy topics that have still to be revised.
I've planned a lot of literacy work around structure and content of writing, and the children will be doing practice papers once a week. We also have the practice booklets that focus on retrieval, layout, summary and inference questions on a set text. The children will be doing a lot of this for homework, and I have planned time during each week to go through the questions together and target children that may be struggling in one area.
For Maths, I doing lots of mental calculation for starters, making sure the children know their numbers. Main lesson work is revision on a lot of topics - I have been given a list of 13/14 maths areas that have still be covered, so I'm planning 1/2 lessons for each topic, making sure my lessons are efficient and effective. The children also do a practice paper once a week, a mental maths test once a week and they too, have the practice booklets for homework.
I think the final week/two weeks, as well as revising what they haven't covered, I'll plan for aspects that I still feel they're not 'getting'.
I know the pressure that an NQT has when starting their induction, and I know that pressure is a lot heavier for me starting mine in a class that will be taking their SATs in 4 weeks, but I feel really prepared for this.
sorry to disappoint but no the curriculum isn't narrowed in any shape or form. all the subjects are still taught. I object to the current idea that writing from other areas of the curriculum will be used in moderation - if i am teaching geography then i am teaching skills not more writing practice and most of the rest of the curriculum lends itself to developing paired and group work and speaking and listening opportunites. These assessments are made through observations by me (bit like EYFS)
reading papers did tell me something new - I was able to move the higher readers into looking at L6 style questions and the level3 readers got some valuable practice at working to a time limit. The class enjoyed trying to improve each time and we were able to concentrate the guided sessions on certain styles of questions and how to write the answers - I have a class who are very articulate orally but their reasoning doesn't always come across on paper. I had a set of borderline level3/4 children who were not finishing the questions to do themselves justice. I have plenty of guided reading evidence to TA them at L4 but as i said writing answers not so good.
we all have our own ways of working
I wasn't referring to the other subjects - I'm talking about Reading and Writing.
You have restricted the Literacy curriculum by stuffing it full of test build up and <u>possibly</u> (trying to stress <u>possibly</u>!) draining any love of reading and writing that the children had for this.
Just my opinion of course.
not sure i would consider 1 lesson out of 10 (i.e once every 2 weeks) as 'stuffing'. Since christmas the class have also had a residential week and STEM week. As for writing, I am using Big write once a week as a change to the usual routine, the stimulus provides a very ope task that a range of different styles could fit (child's choice) along with music and choc buttons. We have a book circle each term and have worked with an author to write our own books. we will shortly be starting a picture book unit and are part of the CLIC group reading and voting on the Kate Greenaway medal.
Just your opinion i know but you did say 'you have restricted the literacy curriculum'. I teach Communication Language and Literacy - reading, writing, speaking and listening, drama, debate and group skills. The tests only test 'Literacy'
The OP asked how we are preparing for the NC Tests, I am just being honest and saying it's all preparation, not just the four weeks before the actual papers are sat. TA is a combination of the work undertaken throughout Y6. Just giving my tips in how I do it, have adminstered Y6 tests for 15years (in a lot of different schools)- each class needs a different approach, the goal posts do change and Y6 need to be prepared so they can do their best. No one would honestly say they do nothing until the few weeks before the papers are sat.
The system is designed to measure the progress that these children have made throughout Key Stage 2. Is the rest of the Key Stage like this?
100% agree with you there. The children do need to understand what is on the horizon and what the process looks like but how we all go about it is different. I just wanted to make the point that, in my opinion, it should be a continuation of what is already good practice throughout the entire Key Stage.
the tests are designed to give attainment for the end of KS2. By using the KS1 data you get progress. This is why we now have targets for 2 levels progress in english (not literacy) and maths, as well as floor targets for the percentages of children attaining L4 and above.
I agree Y6 is and always should be a continuation of the good practice throughout the primary phase from EYFS onwards. However we also have to play the numbers games and for the class do show what I know they are capable of doing every day in every lesson, they have to perform to the best of their ability regardless of whether their pet guines pig just died, for a week's worth of test papers (supposedly for all children from L3-5, although HOW a single paper can show what an average 9 year old AND an average 13 year old can do is ridiculous)
the system is wrong - no one (including parents and secondary schools who are in deep for not turning L4 into GSCEs) really takes any notice of TA. And yes, this is wrong, who knows a class better than the teacher, therefore TA should be more accurate and representative and should be the way KS2 is judged (with an internally marked standardised test to conform since gov not going to trust teachers any time soon)
What is interesting is what might happen if the new curriculum divides KS2 into 2 distinct sections and we end up with external testing at the end of Y4.
Really? What of children whose "choices" were not picked to be studied as topics? Did their progress stall? How can you be sure that the increase in progress was due to this "child-led" curriculum?
I have taught Year 6 too so I do know where you're coming from in terms of hoop jumping and helping the children to jump as best they can. A colleague of mine subscribes whole heartedly to a very similar philosophy and teaching style for Yr 6 as you have put forward here (ie preparing from Sept). Often, Year 6 teachers do this because of the pressure on them to play catch up where children are not on track to achieve those 2 levels progress you mention, sometimes having to add on 4 sublevels of progress or more in just 2 and a half terms due to inadequate progress elsewhere during KS2. Where I disagree with her is the expectation that Year 7 teachers will be able to then add on a further 2 sublevels on the back of such accelerated 'progress', which has come from, as you admit, 'teaching to the test'. This can be made 10 times worse IMHO by the immediate change in teaching style after test week that she would adopt. Test papers would be replaced by back to back music lessons, ICT projects, DT days and rounders games in the sunshine. Expectations would plummet for work produced in Summer 2. Needless to say, I have seen several children acheive a Level 4 in May go on to produce Level 3 (or even Level 2) standard work later in the year. Is it fair that these children then enter secondary school as a 'secure Level 4'? Not on the Year 7 teachers. And crucially, not on the children either. But all the while results remain such high stakes (thanks to league tables) and schools are put under such relentless pressure, the situation will not change. It would be interesting to see if the Y6 pressure cooker that teachers find themselves in (through having to play catch up) is eased if they bring in external Y4 testing as presumably they think this will make all KS2 teachers more accountable for the progress within their KS.
BTW Your posts do not suggest a similar post-tests approach! A picture book unit sounds fab and I am sure your expectations of the work they produce (such as richness of language, story structure and secretarial skills) will remain as high in July as it is in May.
agree whole heartedly, however there is always a dip in sept regardless of year group. new expectations of a new teacher often stresses children and they dip a sublevel.