How can we help children be SATs-ready?
SATs are nearly upon us, and whilst they are not the be all and end all, they do have an unfortunate impact on your school’s results. They are a dark spider.
This is time of year when Year 6 teachers get extra tetchy, the school day passes that little bit quicker and you become sick of hearing yourself say “This is a 2-mark question!”
As a Year 6 teacher, I am already thinking about how no minute can be wasted walking to assembly, getting our bags and coats, eating lunch; these are all opportunities for squeezing in some last minute revision and for getting things to stick.
But what are the smart ways to revise whilst still keeping our sanity? How can we make the most of the days we have left to give our children the best chance they have come 14th of May?
Here are some of my top 7 SATs revision ideas:
1. Revise to music
I tried this out a few years ago when revising maths vocabulary and loved it! I put on some 90s classics and got the children up and moving; they did some quick-fire answers to my questions whilst Corona sang about the ‘Rhythm of the Night’. It kept everyone interested in the last few days before the paper was sat.
2. Little and often
Whilst its tempting to clear the timetable and devote every waking moment to SATs revision, a child’s attention span means it isn’t worth it.
They will benefit from short, sharp bursts of revision that they can take away and digest.
3. Mental maths every day
I have found this to be a tried and tested tactic to get children sailing through the arithmetic paper.
Giving them some questions and a 5 minute time limit encourages their speed and skill at working out, whilst eliminating the fear factor of what might come up as a question.
Focusing on showing proof also encourages children to record their working out, and not just keep it in their heads!
4. Rehearse routines
Sadly, many children will find SATs a stressful experience and will find it hard to demonstrate what they can do. We can help this by making it as ‘normal’ as possible for them in the run up to the tests.
Running through lining up, sitting at their desks in silence, even writing their full names on the paper (I’m sure you won’t be surprised as to how many children don’t know their middle names!) will all help to provide a smooth transition to the real thing.
5. Revision cards/posters
One way to know that a concept has gone in is to write it in your own words/repeat it to someone else.
Designing a poster about clause types is more relaxing than putting a child on the spot across the classroom, and allows you to assess who needs a bit more practise in that area.
Writing down key words on cue cards helps children to jog their memory about something and lets them revise in their own time (if they want to!)
6. Peer mentoring
I have found this a really useful tool in the classroom, particularly if you have a range of abilities. Pairing up a child who is confident and performing well in their maths with a child who needs a bit more support allows them to discuss concepts without the pressure of a teacher breathing down their neck the whole time.
Children understand better when a concept is explained in their ‘own’ language; all you need to do is monitor the conversations to ensure they stay on track!
7. Read, read, read
Particularly focusing on stamina. I have focused on the children that are constantly choosing a new book or can’t stay still during quiet reading; these are the ones that I am going to mentor in order to increase their stamina when reading a body of text.
Apart from that, exposing your class to non-fiction and poetry will really help in the run up, just in case there is a curve-ball on the day!
I wish everyone the best of luck in the lead up to SATs!