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Year 6 Teachers

Discussion in 'Primary' started by UpsidedownWorld, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. Hi all,
    Hope you're having a good term. We're currently working towards improving our writing and have spent a long time making sure that the children can produce a good amount of high quality writing when doing longer pieces. At the start of the year, the children were incredibly reluctant writers as an entire class. Now I'm slightly concerned about the shorter writing task and how to teach the children to meet the same expectations but in shorter pieces of writing, as often after 5-10 minutes some of them are still sitting and claiming they are thinking/planning.
    Any advice please?

     
  2. Hi all,
    Hope you're having a good term. We're currently working towards improving our writing and have spent a long time making sure that the children can produce a good amount of high quality writing when doing longer pieces. At the start of the year, the children were incredibly reluctant writers as an entire class. Now I'm slightly concerned about the shorter writing task and how to teach the children to meet the same expectations but in shorter pieces of writing, as often after 5-10 minutes some of them are still sitting and claiming they are thinking/planning.
    Any advice please?

     
  3. flickaz

    flickaz New commenter

    Oh how I wish I had this problem! My current class are very reluctant to think and plan. The majority just launch into writing! They all produce at least one side of A4 but some of it is repeated or in a dodgy order where they didn't think first! I'll be doing a lot of work with mine on how to do a quick 2 minute plan before writing.
    An activity I've used before is getting them to do quick 5 minute descriptions. I have a series of picture prompts that I display on the IWB. I put the timer up and after 5 minutes they have to stop writing and self/peer assess. To begin with some chn will only produce 1 or 2 sentences but after some practise they start to produce 1 or 2 paragraphs. I generally aim for them to describe 4 or 5 pictures in a lesson.
    I've also tried giving them the beginning (and middle) of a story and giving them 20 minutes to write the ending. A lot of the ideas are already provided for them (eg characters and setting) so they should need less time to 'think'/
    One activity I have tried yet but will be using is getting them to plan for each other. So far we've done a few writing sessions where we've planned as a whole class and they've written from that plan. It worked really well so I'm hoping planning for a partner will work just as well!
     
  4. That's brilliant thank you! I'll try some of your ideas out this week. I'm struggling to just get them to think about what they've written also. For example, we'll spend two weeks looking at a genre, analysing with writing opportunities throughout practising using different openers etc. but then come to the writing and they'll seem to forget everything we've been using and just write any old thing. It's driving me slightly mad, as I'll have it all flagged up to them on the wall e.g. 'I need to see exciting openers' with examples. Then we'll read what they've produced and analyse e.g. highlighting the start of every sentence, they'll realise they've just put I a lot but then will struggle to improve it during the next piece of writing.
     
  5. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Do you have testbase at school? Google it and then get it if you don't.

    Ours use some of the short writing tasks every now and then in class. I tell them they have only 20 mins so they need to get on fast.

    Year 5 tests also have a short and long writing, so they ought to be fairly used to it.
     
  6. sueemc

    sueemc New commenter

    try 'fast writing',works for me - based on a rapid verbal recount (could be anything, I have done leaflets, reports and narrative this way)..you tell the children they are going to do some quality writing but fast..
    you spend about 2 mins describing the 1st para and then countdown 5-4-3-2-1 and they get 5 mins writing time.. they are not allowed to go any further than where you get to, but how they get there is up to them. Then repeat for each paragraph. You dont get 30 the same at all, and taking the pressure away about the story (writers block) lets them focus on the quality of writing.
    With a bit of practise, they end up managing to do it themselves (hopefully).
     
  7. tafkam

    tafkam Occasional commenter

    Threads like this genuinely make me feel a little sad.
    I realise you're doing it for a reason, but all the same.
     
  8. Agree.
     
  9. flickaz

    flickaz New commenter

    The OP asked for advice, not criticism. Yes I don't like "teaching to the test" but this is the system we've got at the moment and I'm going to give my kids the best possible chance of doing well in it.
     
  10. Milgod

    Milgod Established commenter

    I'm with you. Screw letting the children develop their minds and in the process become better learners and individuals. I say we force-feed them SATs 'cheats' from the start of the year just to make sure they do well in the most important tests of their lives.
     
  11. Idon't see how this thread can make anyone sad about Y6 teaching. If children are expected to write a full piece of work in 20 mins, they need to have a chance to practice doing that. You wouldn't send a football team out for their first match without time to train first - how is preparing children for a test/exam style any different?
     
  12. tafkam

    tafkam Occasional commenter

    I didn't criticise the OP. Far from it - I explained that I understand why it was happening. That doesn't stop it making me sad.
    Note that even in your own comment you don't attempt to imply that what has to be done in Y6 is actually of any benefit to the students in terms of education, knowledge, understanding or experience. Merely that it will help them attain well in the tests.
    What about one year if you just didn't? What if you just taught them well, and taught them what they needed to continue to make good educational progress? Do you think they would resent you for it in later life? In my experience as a Year 7 teacher, the only ones who can remember the SATs results they got 6 months later are the few that would always have got high 5s, and the few who failed to meet their booster target.
    Like I said originally, I understand why people do it. But all the same, it makes me sad.
     
  13. It makes me sad also :( I hate the fact that I am expected to teach to the test and I've openly said to our HT that what I think we're doing to our children is very sad. Some of them spend entire days doing Maths and Literacy. I hate it and have said I will leave, if I'm forced to do it again in the future. This is my first year in Year 6.
    However, as for the original intention of this post, my children have to be able to write a fairly good piece of writing in twenty minutes, therefore I need to give them the opportunity to develop the skills to do this.
     
  14. The Red Heron

    The Red Heron New commenter

    I really think educational purists like Tafkam should snap out of it...in life we all have tests ie driving..in that we drive to pass the test, not how we would in real life or real learning...we do it as that what society demands at that point in time..it doesnt ruin us for life but actually makes us wiser people who have an appreciation of audience and why and when we act in certain ways. Y6 kids dont get ruined by a few weeks SATS revision,by that age the vast majority are very worldly wise savvy people
    Kids that age should be able to write long and short pieces with ease whether they are SATS pieces or not
     
  15. tafkam

    tafkam Occasional commenter

    I agree. But they don't, because they're limited to writing in 45-minute blocks, which actually isn't enough to generate a long piece of writing, much less of any quality.
    Except, of course, the only audience they are ever taught to value is the marker - throw in a few adjectives, a semi-colon and some accurate speech punctuation and you're on to a winner; who cares if the audience it ought to be aimed it would give a toss about reading it?
    And at what point have I ever said I object to testing? What upsets me so is the boosting, and the massive narrowing of the curriculum.
    I am quite happy to be an "educational purist" if by that you mean someone who thinks that schools should be in the business of creating intelligent, capable and educated young people prepared for adulthood. There is no evidence - in any field - that SATs do anything to help this.
     
  16. The Red Heron

    The Red Heron New commenter

    ..and you may well be right about SATS not assessing that..but children that age should be 'doing' tests (whatever they are) and schools should be ultimately accountable...I dont think you can rely on or trust schools and teachers on teacher assessment after 7 years of a primary school so some external validation of what the school says is a must
    No test will ever be perfect to anyone
     
  17. tafkam

    tafkam Occasional commenter

    Never disagreed with that.
    Absolutely, but all the evidence demonstrates that SATs are a very poor way to do this
    Educational research suggests otherwise. Suggest you read some Wiliam.
    No argument about that here. But there are far more effective ways.



     
  18. hear hear
     

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