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Year 6 teachers - When do you start revision work?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Gratzia, Aug 16, 2010.

  1. Gratzia

    Gratzia New commenter

    I would like to know when you experienced Year 6 teachers start revision work.
    I am trying to think about which units/topics I will be teaching over the year and when so that I can start planning. I thought about starting after the Easter hols but not sure if this is enough time - will I need as much time with the single level tests etc? Will any tests definately go ahead next year? Do any of you miss out units due to the revision time? Aaaah!
    Thanks for your help.

  2. I used to start science revision straight after christmas and revise a topic a week up to the SATs. This meant that I only taught two new topics at year 6 level in the Autumn term (spending 2 afternoons a week teaching science). I didn't teach much science in the summer because there was so much else going on in school (annual production, leaver's services, sports days/sporting competitions). I did this up to and including last year because although the science SATs were scrapped, we were chosen as one of the schools to take the science sample tests. This year I am not doing any revision, I will teach just one afternoon of science a week and carry on as normal throughout the autumn and spring terms.
    As for maths and English, I go for them big time after Easter in the 3 weeks or so leading up to the tests. I get the children to self assess where they need to brush up on their maths skills and run workshops daily in addition to my normal maths lessons. I also do a practise mental maths paper every day. This pretty much means that all we do is maths, English and PE for those three weeks but it does seem to work. (100% lev 4 and above this year for both maths and English (50% lev 5 maths and 70% lev 5 English) with similarly high results (allowing for occassional SEN child) in the previous 4 years.
    I always do practise papers for maths and English in the autumn term and again in the spring to see where the children are. After Christmas some children have twice weekly booster lessons taken by a TA (but under my supervision) in maths and English as needed.
    Good luck.
  3. Grandsire

    Grandsire Star commenter

    I don't think we actually have three weeks between the end of the Easter holidays and the start of the SATs this year - I think it's a matter of days, not weeks. Must check this...
    We used to do something similar to Lou2005, but stepping off the Science Revision Roller-Coaster last year (despite being chosen as a sample school) made a huge difference to the spring term.
  4. I only do 'revision' in the weeks between the Easter holidays and SATs - definitely a big push in these weeks and I don't do many other subjects during this time.
    The rest of the year I run pretty normally. However, I do have an extended writing session every other week (the weeks inbetween the time slot is used for an extended maths investigation) which starts with 15mins writing time and works up... similar to a Big Write session as we do a lot of discussion first. For maths, the only thing I do is one maths test per half term which helps me see where the weaker areas are and gets the children more used to taking tests. I also change the length of some units to fit them in before the tests.
  5. zugthebug

    zugthebug New commenter

    agree with everyone who has posted so far, however easter is late next year and with may day only get 8 school days before SATs!
    I tend to map out the whole year (until May) in Maths and Literacy, that gives me the content to cover. The skills that need extra time can be slotted in depending on the class needs. I tend to start reading comprehensions after christmas, one every 2-3 weeks, children then work on their target questions in guided reading sessions in between. It works as they tend to get 70+% L5. After Feb half term we look at maths papers, in pairs or groups of 3. Sometimes I split the paper in half and they work through their questions then teach their partners. Lots of familairisation with mental maths questions, probably one a week from Feb. extended writing happens at least once a week any way as the whole school does Big Write, but from March I start to use old writing tests, especially the boring one, and challenge them to come up with something original.
    In the fortnight before the tests I do a dry run, practice the timings and do both writing tests in one morning so there are no suprises during the actual week.
    my assessments throughout the year are 6 weekly, i use maths test base questions around the content we have been studying, do the same for Science. this means they are familair with the types of questions already and I have levelled assessments for my teacher assessment. Every class does a writing 'test' every half term, so children are used to writing with no support. Guided reading using extracts from older papers once a half term are also helpful for planning question skills.

    Apart from the couple of weeks before SATs the rest of the year has the same curriculum as everyone else. it can be quite stressful for me and it is very tempting to cut another subject for a week so the class can have extra maths or english but i restrain. We let our hair down in June and July with a big film project, a dragons den challenge, leavers' concert and everything else that happens in normal life

    Hope this helps
  6. Revision for us is 2 weeks before SATs, mornings only. Afternoons spent doing our normal timetable.
    We do throw some SATs style questions in normal lessons throughout the year so the children get used to seeing the style e.g. a couple of weight problems as a plenary in maths or a relevant SATs text and some reading questions when looking at WW2 in history and English.
  7. bonniconni

    bonniconni New commenter

    We boycotted last year and expect to do same again this year so wont be planning any revision!
  8. Gratzia

    Gratzia New commenter

    Thanks for all your great ideas. I never realised that there's only 9 school days between Easter hols and the SATs so will have to start revision earlier.
    I've been looking at all the Literacy units and think it's impossible to fit them all in with revision time, the actual SATs week and the activities that Year 6 take part in during the summer. I know I could cut down the suggested amount of weeks for each unit but I am still finding it a problem. Does anyone else have this problem?
    If I have to miss any of the Literacy units out, which ones would you suggest that wouldn't really harm the children's education too much?
  9. Personally I don't use the literacy units for planning. I fit my literacy around whatever topics I am teaching making sure that I cover the main writing genres (balanced argument, letter writing, diary writing, play scripts, non-chronological reports, explanation texts, formal texts, journalistic writing, biography/autobiography). I make sure that the children get plenty of practise at timed pieces of writing and I cover skills such as writing complex/compound sentences, complex punctuation, effective sentence openers etc. I never do any story writing - a waste of time as far as I'm concerned in year 6 as they do this all the way through the school, although I have plenty of sessions where the focus is the use of effective description. I have also dropped the biography/autobiography teaching in the last couple of years since it came up as the long writing task in 2008 (but I will teach it this year because it fits in with my topic).
    Try not to stress yourself out too much trying to cover everything in depth. See what your children are good at and need to work on. Cover the skills that will apply to any genre and give them plenty of practise of timed writing tasks.
  10. Start revising in September. Just don't call it "revision".
  11. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    My sons' school started revising at the beginning of year 6. They didn't call it revising but children aren't stupid. My boys were bored witless all year. When their teacher tried to give me a practice paper to take home for one of them I asked what was the point as he'd been getting level 5s in year 5. She said everyone else was taking one, as if that had anything to do with anything. My son gained a certain amount of kudos as 'the only one who didn't have to do those papers at home'. It took one of my boys about five years to recover from year 6. He wanted to learn, not revise things he knew years before, and constant revision not only made him dislike school but also made him think all teachers were idiots.
    I'm not meaning to be harsh. But think about it. If you teach children well they'll know their stuff. A bit of practice for exam technique is good. Training them to do well in SATs is just awful. Have a bit of self resepct and don't jump on this nightmare bandwagon.
  12. Gratzia

    Gratzia New commenter

    I like your idea of covering the main writing genres that fit in with your topic work. Does your reading come under these genres aswell? Do you do much poetry work? Has your HT and Lit co-ordinator accepted this because you are in Year 6?
    Sorry about all the questions.
  13. I do cover poetry and reading to fit in with my topic. I usually try and base my literacy work around a text that fits in with the topic. I buy a class set of the book (one between two children) and then plan my task (which can be a writing or reading task) to fit in with the part of the book we have just read. Books that this has worked well with are:
    Kensuke's Kingdom (Island topic)
    Carrie's War (WWII topic )
    Wreck of the Zanzibar (Storms and shipwrecks topic)
    Street Child (Victorians topic)
    The Firework Maker's Daughter (China topic)
    The Witches (3 week revision unit)
    James and the Giant Peach (tenuous link with plants topic! when I had a mostly yr 5 class)
    The children have really enjoyed all of these books and are excited to find out which book we are 'doing' next!
    HT and literacy co-ordinator are happy with this because the children enjoy their work, achieve good results and my planning is based on the National Curriculum The Literacy Strategy is not a legal document and you do not have to use it.
    Hope this helps[​IMG]
  14. zugthebug

    zugthebug New commenter

    i manage to fit all the framework units in before may by combining some of them. Story with flashbacks can also cover other aspects of narrative work. If you leave your email address I can send you my year overview.
    I don't try to combine literacy with everything else, sometimes it works sometimes it is tenuous and doesn't help. I have found that teaching specific writing genres in Literacy means the children can use them independently in the other curriculum areas. All of KS2 works this way and by the time they hit Y6 there isn't much new content to teach and I can start to mix genres and test types and develop the creative approach and authorial techniques
    My class also write almost every day, this does create a marking load but I don't like the approach of the framework. i followed one area and in 3 weeks the class had done 2 pieces of writing, i find if they write most days then we can fix issues sooner and move learning forward when appropriate
  15. GrahamAlmond

    GrahamAlmond New commenter

    Can I be cheeky and ask for your overview of the year, I am new to Year 6 in September and I am teaching the top Literacy set after teaching the lower set in Y5 last year so I'm thinking I need to be upto speed myself asap! Your approach seems to make sense!

  16. Gratzia

    Gratzia New commenter

    Thanks lou2005 and zugthebug - you've given me some very useful ideas.
    It's true that the children don't seem to write enough when following the units. I do think talk for writing is good but sometimes they suggest too much talk.
  17. zugthebug

    zugthebug New commenter

    email sent, lots of documents so I hope they are helpful

    i agree talk for writing is good but the framework seems to lump things together, lots of talking followed by lots of reading followed by a bit of writing. In my experience (taught Y6 for 11 years) Y6 need a mix, bit of talking, bit of reading, bit of writing, sometimes in the same lesson!
  18. When I had Year 6 I would see what they could and couldn't do for the first few weeks (as with all year groups I suppose) and then go over stuff they should have grasped in Year 5. I used to do revision properly from Jan for part of the week in Maths, Lang and Science and then do more fun stuff rest of the week in Maths, Lang and Science. I would increase SAT's style stuff after Feb half term when they might get SAT's style questions for Feb half term homework. After half term we would do a bit more SAT's style questions. After Easter it is too late to start in my opinion.
  19. Gratzia

    Gratzia New commenter

    Sorry, I've been waiting for the info you said you would send me then realised that I hadn't put my email address on. Working too hard!

  20. zugthebug

    zugthebug New commenter

    have forwarded email

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